1.19.16

Finding My Flow Through One Trigonometry Function

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“Just remember – life is like a sine graph”, my mother always touted, long before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (at the “adult” age of 18). Growing up with a dad who was a math professor ensured that I knew from a very early age what the sine function was. It goes up, and then down. And then back up. She always said it to make me feel better – after losing a tennis match, getting a lousy grade on an exam or fighting with my high school boyfriend. “Head up Maria – remember – life is like a sine graph.”

Dealing with diabetes for the last nine or so years has made me reflect frequently on her wise words. In tough roller-coaster times, I remind myself that the high will come down (it has to), and the low will come up (it definitely has to). The lesson applies to coping with diagnosis as well as management.

To say my type 1 diagnosis was a low point in my life is a huge understatement. 18 is a tough age in my humble opinion. At the time, I was pretty overwhelmed with life – college, work, new boyfriend, parents’ divorce, moving out, doing stupid teenage things I shouldn’t have been doing, making mistakes and learning from them. Enter Diabetes. Not easy, but, as I learned quickly – doable.

This applies to the emotional aspects of living with diabetes as well. So many of us make it look easy, but I think we all know some days are just easier than others, and sometimes it has nothing to do with the numbers on the meter or CGM graph. Why? I think there’s something very natural and normal about the emotional ups and downs we experience when living with a chronic condition that requires diligent and non-stop attentive management. Sometimes the feelings of negativity, self-pity, self-doubt, fear, or just not wanting to care about your diabetes as much as you would like come about.

Sometimes it’s obvious what brought them on, other times it seems intangible. In these times in particular, I find comfort in the symmetry of the sine graph. When I’m low, I look forward to the inevitable high, knowing things will balance themselves out. They always do.

I was named Maria in honor of my great-grandmother. She was known as the most upbeat, eternal optimist you would ever meet. I like to think she passed some of those beaming-with-positivity genes to me (albeit balanced with plenty of neurosis and realism). I’m 27 years old, diagnosed with T1D at age 18. I have a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular biology and am working as a research scientist with the hope of investigating T1D in my future career. I’m married to my college sweetheart, and am a mom to three dogs and one cat.

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