How Diabetes Affects the Way I Look

2011-08-29 16-30-18.696

I think I’m an appropriate person to write this post because I’ve always been a little too vain.  I blame that on the fact that as a child when people asked me where I was born and I said “Venezuela” they’d be like, “Oh so you’re supposed to be pretty, right?  Because that’s where all the Miss Universe winners are from.”  And thus began my preoccupation with getting my hair right and freaking out over a few extra pounds so as not to disappoint the general public.  It didn’t help that when I gained five pounds as a teenager, non immediate family from Venezuela was like, “wow, you’re fat!”  Our curvy is their fat, go figure.  Don’t forget, they do call the Brazilian Victoria’s Secret models “curvy”.  Curvy my…

Anyway here goes my list of things that I think can at least be partly attributed to my having type 1 diabetes and having struggled with it.  If I’m being honest and I am:

I’ve got very dry skin.  So dry in fact, that I need lots and lots of lotion and my skin just sort of soaks it up like a lizard.  I soak up Eucerin and Aquaphor for crying out loud.  Oh and high quality lotion is not cheap, mind you.

I have a few extra pounds thanks to insulin which is rather difficult to manage perfectly and thus I use more than a person who doesn’t have to use this type of therapy and it causes a little extra weight gain.  This means I have to be very meticulous in carb counting and I have to exercise a little more than someone else.  It’s a bummer, a real bummer.

I have scars that probably would be invisible had there never been any diabetes.  Of course, it’s true that diabetes that is well controlled doesn’t cause anything, but most of us, at some point, go through a challenging time of not-so-well-managed diabetes and it does cause some things.  I have been fairly active during my life with diabetes and as a result have a good number of ugly scars.  I do like one of them though because it reminds me of a glorious moment during a soccer match.  But there are others like his one on my knee that happened in front of teammates when I ran into a chain I didn’t see in the dark which swung me to the ground causing me to scrape my knee-and confidence on a sharp rock.

My hair is thinner and maybe this has nothing to do with diabetes but I lost a lot during the years of high A1c’s and now that my A1c’s are no longer high, I don’t lose more than the normal amount.  So either it’s a coincidence or it was the diabetes and the not so well managed time I had with it.  I remain suspicious.

I have a lot of broken capillaries but I don’t know if this is diabetes related or not.  However, I’m well aware that diabetes affects the micro vascular and therefore…doesn’t this implicate the capillaries?  This one really bothers me.  My type 1 sister Ana has nothing of the sort and the most beautiful skin and we’ve had type 1 the same number of years so I’ll blame those bad years I had with diabetes and my genes on this one.

Diabetes doesn’t have to affect the way a person looks but, I’ve found that it usually does to some extent.  Dry mouth, chapped lips, fatigue induced slump, the possibilities are endless and can challenge our dignity as fabulous people.  Sometimes when nothing else motivates me to take care of my blood sugars I find I can rely on a persistent nagging vanity.  Hey, I’m only human.

It seems a bit like pouring salt on a wound to talk about this out loud but you know what?  It’s kind of liberating!  And you know that I do this with humor and jest, no?  I find that poking fun at myself makes me relax and not take myself so darn seriously.  Anyway now that I got that out of the way I can think about all the great things I’ve been blessed with.  Like strong legs and freckles and golden brown eyes.

Ultimately, this is my point of all this.  You make sure to do the same next time you’re seeing all the negative.  I know.  It happens.  And it’s ok.  Just move on to the good stuff.

Have a fabulous weekend!

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Thank you, Sysy, for sharing your observations. As a mom of a 5 yr old daughter with T1, your posts always provide so much insight and helpful information. (And your nails look pretty spectacular, too! ;)

The only thing on your list that I don’t have a problem with is the hair – and I have had my years of bad control. Mine was always super thick. I thought when it was all falling out when my thyroid went kaput that it would stay on the thin side but it didn’t. It is not as thick as it was but it is far from thin either.

I’ve noticed nearly all of these except the hair thinning. I’ve definitely noticed that I scar from things that pre-diabetic, I would not have scarred from. Love your posts!

So happy to find this. Thank you so much for sharing. I too have a diabetic sister – diagnosed at the same time (25 years ago) who has better skin – other than some vericose veins. I have had all of the above… loss of libido from cymbalta, thinning hair, crazy scars, extremely dry skin that takes massive amounts of lotion, dry lips, mouth and eyes!The most dissapointing thing though – the insulin lipohypertrophy (fat deposits) on my stomach from 15 years of pumping. This honestly made me feel so much better – not that you’ve had to go through these things, but that I’m not alone.Thanks for the post!

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