Stronger Than T1D

When I was a junior last year, we were given the English assignment to write about a struggle we have experienced and to talk about how we overcame that struggle. I chose to talk about diabetes. I figured I would share my essay with all of you.

The Realities of a Chronic Illness

Everybody at some point in their life has gone through a traumatic time or struggled with something. Struggles can have a powerful impact on the person’s life. These struggles can either make or destroy a person. Everybody in life has their own battles, some are tougher than others. My battle is type one diabetes. There are many different types of diseases in the world. Type one diabetes is just one of them. Type one diabetes is when your immune system turns against itself and attacks your pancreas destroying your islets. So therefore, type one diabetics do not make insulin. Instead they receive it artificially through either injections or an insulin pump. Type one diabetics do many different things to manage their diabetes including checking their blood sugar, counting carbs and many more things. The main thing is keeping their blood sugars in range. When blood sugar is too low it is referred to as hypoglycemia and when it is too high it is referred to as hyperglycemia.

In 2003, little did my family know everything was about to change. I was six years old at the time when I started having odd symptoms. I was always thirsty and demanding for drinks, and I would cry when I would not get my way because I was just so thirsty all the time. I also was going to the bathroom all the time and started wetting the bed again and having accidents again which had not occurred since before I had been potty trained. I also has randomly lost all of this weight which was what really freaked my parents out. My parents realized there was something seriously wrong when they got a call from the school from my teacher because she had noticed that something about me had been off and was concerned about me. That next day my mom kept me home from school, and called the doctor. That day we went to the doctor. My mom thought maybe I had caught a virus or something and just needed antibiotics to make me feel better. What she was about to learn was much worse than she had envisioned it to be. When we finally got in and saw the doctor, my mom explained the symptoms I had been having to her. Almost immediately the doctor checked my blood sugar. I do not know what the number was when she tested it but I do know it was super high. She told my mom that I had type 1 diabetes, and needed to go to the hospital immediately. Being so young at the time, I really had no idea what was going on, or that my life as I knew it was about to change forever. I do not remember the hospital visit. All I remember is crying a lot. From what my mother has told me, it was extremely difficult time. She told me that the most difficult thing she heard that day was that if we had waited a few days later I could be in a coma. At this point in time our lives had changed forever. Whether it was for the better or the worst at that time was questionable. The thing however that was not questionable is that the first year was most definitely the hardest.

At first diabetes was a struggle for my family. We were subjected to a whole new world of counting carbs, insulin shots, low and high blood sugars, and a lot more. Diabetes hit us hard. When I was younger I was terrified. Everything diabetes related scared me. Whenever my parents would check my blood sugar or give me a shot I would cry. Sometimes when I knew either one of those times was coming close by I would hide in hope of them not doing it to me. I felt like they were intentionally doing this to hurt me. I would question them as to why they were doing this to me. It took me awhile before I realized what was going on, and that none of this was going to go away. My parents I realized were only trying to help me. I stopped fighting with them over it. I even started occasionally giving myself my own shot which was a huge milestone for me as I used to cry when I was given shots. Eventually my family started to have a positive outlook on what had happened to us.

I have now had diabetes for almost a decade. My overall view on diabetes is a positive one. I think living with diabetes has taught me so much. Diabetes has given me so much strength. I think if not for diabetes I would not be who I am today. Diabetes has given me such a positive outlook on life and everything in general. I see my disease as a blessing and not as a horrible chronic illness which do not get me wrong it is. I think it is better to have a good outlook on your struggles rather a negative one. A struggle to me is something that you fight to overcome. Diabetes was and still is a struggle to me each day. I at one point was crying and hiding when it came to everything diabetes related but, now I strive to take care of myself. Diabetes is a struggle, and it is a struggle I will continue to live with for the rest of my life. I chose not to see things from that point of view though, I refuse to be negative about my diabetes. Diabetes has given me so much more than it has taken away from me. I have overcome so many obstacles in my life, diabetes being the biggest. Diabetes is what makes me different and honestly I am okay with that. I wear an insulin pump, check my blood sugar, count my carbs, give insulin for my meals, correct for high and low blood sugars, and other things. This is just normal to me now. It has just become another part of my life. Diabetes is a lot of work but, it is nothing I cannot handle. Diabetes at times can become overwhelming but again it is nothing that I cannot handle. The reason I can handle it is because I am stronger than type one diabetes.

Struggles can have a powerful impact on a person’s life. My struggle is living with a chronic illness. Struggles are not what define a person, what defines a person is how they deal with things when they go wrong. I think I have handled my struggle in the best way I know how. I have embraced my struggle and seen the positive point of view on it rather than the negative one. Diabetes is one of the many obstacles I am going to face in my life but, diabetes has taught me I can overcome anything thrown my way. I am stronger than I think I am. Diabetes has given me so much strength and so much hope. People truly can overcome their struggles. It may take time but, it can be done. I am living proof, I stand here today having overcome one of the biggest obstacles that have been thrown ahead of me so far. Struggles should not break you, they should only make you stronger. Every struggle people experience is no more than a learning tool that is there to help them learn a lesson. Life is all about making the most of what people have been given even if it is not what they expected it to be. I never expected to become a diabetic but I am and I have made the most of it despite the struggle it is.

Sounds like you are doing a great job and you should be really proud of yourself! Hope you got an A for this as well!

Awesome job cayla!