Hi, I am Zuhad, I’m 30 years old, YES, THE BIG 30, IT’S HERE. I was diagnosed in 1996 when I was 4 years old. I’ve been living with type one diabetes for about 26 years. I just completed my MBA from LUMS in June and have 4 years of experience in a world leading company prior to that. I am a happy go lucky guy and a crazy traveler. If someone asks me to go with me on a trip to the North, Turkey, or Thailand, I will literally break the bank to go with them because that is such a key part of who I am. I have explored much of the North of Pakistan but a lot more needs to be discovered. I love sports, it’s the drug that keeps me going, always looking forward to different sports events around the year.
Up until I joined Meethi Zindagi, I was conservative when it came to talking about diabetes, how it affected me as a child, as a teenager, then as an adult. My pain, my struggle was my own, it always felt like I was in my own wonderland and there was none other like me. The best thing throughout my journey is that I’ve never been to the hospital with DKA, for credit I’m not sure I owe it to my mother, myself, the doctors, or pure luck, I did take good care of my eating habits, but I never really knew what DKA was. Having said that, I have had dangerous episodes of hypoglycemia. The first one was about three years into my diagnosis, I had my worst nightmare that has still stuck with me. I had seizures that night and profuse sweating. I have little recollection, hypoglycemia was such a novel condition, I remember my uncle, who was a doctor, gave me CALPOL. My body responded to the sweetness in Calpol and gained some consciousness. Feel lucky getting out of that one alive.
The second one was when I was in grade 3, I was so sleepy during the first half of school day, I was constantly getting scolded by my PE instructor for not following his orders. My English teacher sensed something was wrong and kept asking me if I was doing okay. Eventually my body caved in and shut down because of low blood sugar when the bell for recess rang. I remember blurs of movement down the stairs, waking up with my brother bent over me, holding a pot of sugar, crying at what he had just seen his little brother go through.
The third one was during my O levels English Exam; I was writing an essay on earthquakes. My blood sugar was at such a point that I could literally feel there was an actual earthquake!. I asked the invigilator to get me some sugar to get the level back up. As the invigilator made way to my seat with the sugar in a plate, the whole crowd was looking at me receiving special treatment and I sat there in embarrassment.
These are just the three prominent ones, there were countless others. I now laugh at my naivety and stupidity that I was too scared to ask for food or sweets from anyone when I was not home as my mother taught me never to ask anyone for anything. One time, I went to a friend’s birthday party in grade 5 and my levels dropped because I played all the games a kid could play and now could feel knee shattering weakness but was too shy, scared and someone who adhered to his principles that he never asked for the extra McDonald’s meal from them or anything for that matter.
With all that said, I’m just in awe of the wonder that the human body is. I honestly feel like a WOLVERINE, the body that keeps on healing and dealing with everything it’s been through. If God is keeping scores of how ZUHAD took care of the gift of life that HE gave him, I think HE would give him a hard pass. One thing that this beautiful condition has taught me is tenacity, hard work, and the relentless urge to never ever stop pursuing your dreams. This is a big statement coming from someone who searched “Is it possible to secure straight As in O levels?” on google two months before the finals because he was so low on self-esteem.
I owe Meethi Zindagi for much of my mental progress, breaking down the barriers, making me feel like I’m not the only fish in the pond, there are others like me as well who rock the same boat and do it in a thousand different beautiful ways and it helps them express themselves. Prior to attending the SETUP workshop, I mainly relied on intuition and doctors’ recommendations for insulin dosage. That doesn’t mean my intuition was bad but something as simple as carb counting and split dosage has helped convert this art into a science and get a better handle on things. It has helped me deal with stress a lot better, made me happier, and made me bold enough to try on new food and regimes. My friends and family have noticed the positive change. Whenever I am feeling down or out, I know I can rely on the community that Meethi Zindagi has built to get me through it without fear of being judged.