I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 11 years old. I won't lie, it felt like my entire world was crashing down around me. At the time I remember having a feeling deep inside of me that something was not right. I developed all the typical symptoms- the loss of weight, extreme thirst, running to the bathroom every 5 minutes to empty my overflowing bladder. By the time I was rushed to the hospital from the doctors office, I was smooth sailing into my diabetic coma, or more commonly known as DKA. The doctor did not diagnose me. Although all the symptoms were there. It was not until I reached the emergency room that my fate was announced.
"I know what the problem is. Your daughter has diabetes!". The second those words left the doctors mouth and entered the room, my life would never be the same. I slowly woke up from my coma and was informed of my fabulous situation, grasping what was going to come. So the therapy began, and so did the coaching lessons. I learned alongside my dad how to inject, how to prick my finger, carb count, eat healthy, and all the works. For the first few weeks, my dad would scream out "God please protect her!" anytime i would inject my insulin. It took a while to get used to my new lifestyle.
On To Real Life
But once I exited the hospital walls and was forced to return back to real life, that was when it really hit me. I was not like the others. And so the negative thoughts began to flush my head. People reached out and tried to make me feel better by sharing their personal experiences, but I felt like no one truly understood what I was going through. My mother would prick her finger, and inject herself to feel my pain. People watched the way they spoke to me, and walked on eggshells. They made me feel like they pitied me. And although everyone around me acted more selfless than necessary, it was not helping my situation.
It is easy to think "poor me" after a diagnosis as big as type 1 diabetes. Your thoughts tend to be morbid, and you get lost in the confusion of it all. The days were tough to get through at first. I was doing intense research, reading every book I could find. I felt myself getting even more lost in my thoughts. I was going down a dark path and I knew I had to make a big change. I did some more research and found a diabetes organization that does an annual diabetes camp called Camp Kudzu (they have different ones across each state in the USA and around the world). I registered, and that following summer I was on the way there. I found comfort in my new friends who were going through the same thing I was.
We are the cool ones, the ones who were chosen out of everyone to take care of our own selves! And to think about it, we are taking on the role of one of our vital organs, that is not something to take lightly. Diabetes really pushes you to grow up, and face your fears head on.
The best way to understand what superpower you have is to reach out to those dealing with the same thing you are. They will always have advice to give you, improvements to make, or simply listen when you need someone there for you.
So I deepened my involvement with the diabetic community. I began reaching out to newly diagnosed people. I found comfort in sharing my experiences and comforting words to make others feel better, when nothing was lifting them up. And the more I shared my experiences and my thoughts, the more comfortable I became with myself. Now, people look at me and the last thing they guess is that I'm a diabetic. It's because your attitude is the most important part of it all. You have to fake it till you make it, and in turn you will inspire others.
Being diagnosed with diabetes is not an easy transition. To the parents out there reading this, we thank you for sticking by your children no matter what. Some days they will give you attitude, or scream mean things because their blood sugar is out of control. It's not their fault, there is so much frustration that lies behind the walls of this condition. It seems easy to the passerby's who never fail to throw out a comment like, "it could be so much worse!", but you know better. To the diabetics reading this, never ever give up. You're kicking ass in every shape and form. And we are so proud of you. You deserve recognition!
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