Where do I even begin?
This is my second proper Diabetes Camp with Diabetes Camps Victoria (I don’t count day activities). My first one dated back to October 2011 and it was one of the biggest highlights in my life. The people I have met and befriended feel almost like a family to me. It’s amazing to see and feel the bonds fostered within such a short time. A few things that stood out for me this camp was the variety of pranks that were pulled to various leaders and health professionals (myself included). All the hysterical laughter and mellow talks we shared between everyone made it very special.
At one stage during this camp I had time chilling at the beach (something we weren’t short of) to sit and reflect on camps and its impact on my life. Sitting in the Q&A sessions and listening to some stories of people tackling weight and eating disorders touched me deeply, stirring a darker demon that resurfaces every once in a while. It’s the biggest relief to know that you are not alone in what you feel and how people treat you. I remember feeling horrible at my diagnosis. It felt like something was wrong with me and that I wasn’t doing enough to get my body to work. The thoughts of “what did I do to deserve this” ran through my head for what seemed like an eternity. I think being told that I’m a type 2, which is predominantly triggered by lifestyle factors, plunged me deeper into a void. Since then, I scrutinised every single health related thing I did.
I went to the gym every day and did the earliest gym class I could before heading to uni, everything I ate weighed heavily on me and all I wanted was my sugar levels to be below 15. What made it that little bit worse was that the medication I started off with did barely anything to push those levels down. So many times, I had wanted to give up. Once I finally made it below 15, I wanted it to be below 10, then I wanted to be a perfect 5 all the time.
Going through various medication regimes made me question myself even more. What am I doing wrong? I couldn’t understand what and why this was happening and wiki and google failed me.
Then one day, my Diabetes Nurse Educator (DNE) and my first endo sat me down and asked me if I was doing this exercise because I felt like I had to or if I really wanted to do it. They said it’s not my fault that I had diabetes. There is nothing wrong with me. It’s just another challenge that life had handled to me. I was overworking and fighting myself, mentally and physically. My sugar levels can’t be perfect all the time. It’s okay to let myself go once in a while. My diet doesn’t need to be as constrictive as I have forced myself into.
That day, I learned how important it is to accept yourself for who you are. Whatever life has thrown onto my path, I will work with it and my goodness, has it worked out well for me.
Camps always give me a new lease on life, reassessing my priorities, and reigniting my passions, motivating my career goals. I want everyone to realise how important diet is to live a good life. I don’t want to be one of those health professionals who just lectures you each time you see them. I want to teach them and empower them to make their own choices, to see them change for the better because they want to, and not because they have to. When I get my accreditation, I am going to change as many lives as I can feeding on my personal experiences. It may seem like a long time away but I will get there and I will be an awesome dietician.
Being accepted into the camp family has been extremely positive. Every time I think about them, I have a warm and fuzzy feeling in me to the point it draws tears to my eyes as I am so thankful for them. I’ve seen and learned that I have to let go a bit now and then. Even though I still battle the scales, I am not as worked up about it as I was before. It’s better to have a balanced diet and regular exercise than to be at my desired weight and be depressed and hungry all the time. It’s just not worth it especially for someone who loves food as much as I do. Right now, I have too much to live for.
Comparing my life prior to knowing camps and my diabetic family, life now is incredibly sweet.