The Story & how diabetes saved my life

/edited

Sometime in October of 1995, I had my regular family doctor visit. I was just a little kid and I never really minded the doctors because I always got one of those cool band-aids. I don’t even remember how long it lasted, but he drew some blood,ask the same questions, and my mother and I went back home. November approached, and I’m home with my 3 older sisters playing games. The phone rings and I dash to pick it up. (I still don’t know why I did that) It was my doctor and he had asked if my mum was home. I said no, and that’s when he gave me the baby talk on me having diabetes. Dia-bee… what? It was a short conversation and he said he would call back. I didn’t tell my sisters, but instead I went to grab a dictionary to look it up. It all looked like gibberish to me. What is a pancreas?.. insulin… huh?! so I just kind of sat there for a little while, then I cried thinking that maybe I was going to die. I didn’t know what this was, at the time I was just a child more concerned if my sister had beat me in Street Fighter when I went to get the phone. From there are out, I got the 1-on-1 about diabetes.

It was extremely hard at first. My mom was a single parent struggling with 3 girls and 3 jobs. Now to find that her youngest daughter had been diagnosed with diabetes, just sort of hit her hard. My mom spoke barely any English, and it was hard enough at that time to find someone who could translate for her. Also with my father abandoning us, she really didn’t know what to do.

As years went by, my mum continued to struggle. Paying for my bills and providing a home for her daughters, was more than she could handle at the time. Randomly one day, she met a man, about 10 years younger than her. I guess that’s where my life, my sisters, and hers completely changed. He had a gambling and drinking problem. My mum would work hours per days, and he would take her money and hit her if she ever said anything against it. He did it in front of all of us. My mom didn’t have the money to help pay for my insurance anymore, so therefor I got sick and really skinny. I asked myself everyday why she never left him… and yet I still don’t know. Long story short, he ruined my life, my sisters and hers. We ended up going to stay with my dad, even though that was another place I didn’t want to be, but it wasn’t optional. I was around the age of 11, 12 this time. A few summers later, my father decides that maybe I should see my mum. I agree, because without her jerk boyfriend, she is still a good person, also because I wanted to get out of my wretched home with my father.

This is around the same time when I fell into depression. Mainly because of my diabetes, living with my abusive father, and having all my sisters move out. I had gone through the part where my emotions became empty, apathetic. I saw my mum, and of course her boyfriend was there too. I hate him, I hated life. I didn’t want to go back to my dads, i didn’t want to stay there. I was sick of my diabetes, being sick all the time, and all the verbal and physical abuse. I stopped taking my medicine the whole summer I was there, and of course, what I planned worked. I fell into DKA, and was in a coma for two weeks. I woke up to see my mom and my sister. I cried, not just because of the sadness in their face, but because I was still here. I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to wake up. I guess I had passed out earlier (something I don’t remember). I was rushed to the Salem’s Children’s Hospital in Salem, MA, but due to their lack of medicine and facilities, I had to be flown to Mass General in Boston.

I went through therapy, took anti depressants, but that didn’t stop the abuse from my dad, or just the general feeling of being sad all the time. I was a great student, and had the best friends. I made sure my dad didn’t impact my social life, or education. Yet I knew when I’d get home, that cloud would hover over my head again. No more anti depressants, no more therapy… Next thing I know I’m sent to a diabetic camp. No way I think! I hate this disease why would I want to go to a camp with 100s of other kids with the same frigign issue! I kicked and screamed… but eventually they got me there.

Two whole friggin weeks! I’m thinking this is going to suck so much… but little did i know how much of a surprise I was in for. The people there were amazing, the kids, the counselors, everyone. I felt kind like the odd ball at first, but people were always very supportive of me. Basically the support I never really got. They were family, they were friends. I learned to accept my diabetes and I guess that’s when my depression went away.
I was happy - really, really, happy. I met some amazing people, that I
still talk to 4 years later. I went to camp again the next year, and
the next, until I became too old. I guess no words can really describe
the love you feel at a place like that. I can tell everyone what a great place Camp was, how it impacted me, and changed me, but you will never really know unless you experience it for yourself. Camp has
probably saved my life. I don’t love being a diabetic, but at
least I don’t despise it now. The best part was when I was no longer a
camper, but a counselor in training. I helped kids, I woke up to their faces, I made a difference, not just for them, but for myself. That’s one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life. Camp makes me proud to be a diabetic, honored to be able to see hundreds of kids so strong, and so brave, asking ME for advice. I felt so privlieged to have worked among such caring people, and kids. But that feeling… to have someone look up at you is just such a great feeling. Maybe that one day, I saved a life, as camp saved mine.

Living with my diabetes is something I now love, and wouldn’t change. Of course it brought a lot of sadness to my life, but I don’t live for the past anymore. The past has only made me a stronger and better person today. If I didn’t have my diabetes, I wouldn’t have met all those great people at Camp Carefree. The people who I call my friends, my family.

Thankyou for sharing Tee. :slight_smile: You’re braver than me.

Tee,

You’ve had to go through so much, so young, stuff no one should have to go through. And you have done it. Your story took a lot of courage to write. Thanks for sharing it with us!

There are good people in the world and you deserve to spend your life among them. With an abuse history it is often hard to avoid abusers though, because they are what you’re familiar with, so when you run into them, there is energy there. There’s a tendency we have of trying to relive abusive situations and make them better, which doesn’t happen because abusive people tend to stay abusive. True healing mostly seems to be about learning to recognize the difference between people who support you and make you grow in good ways and people who tear you down or steal your energy. It’s not easy to do, but it can be done. I’ve done it, and I’m rooting for you to do it too!

If you can find some older women who have recovered from childhood abuse and are living the kind of life you’d like to live to help you avoid the known pitfalls that women run into when they have not been properly loved and well treated growing up, it might be very helpful.

I live in another New England small town in a region with quite a lot of poverty and abuse, and there are some wonderful people in our local communities who help others deal with these kinds of issues so they can get their lives ontrack young and NOT have to make the mistakes we older ladies made. I hope you can find that kind of support where you live!

you know - tudiabetes is alot like diabetic camp - you just don’t have to leave your family to get the benefits.

Wow Tee - your blog is so touching. You really are an inspiration! I’m so very sorry for the difficult childhood you survived - it’s tragic! What a life saver and so awesome you were able to go to camp and it was life-changing for you. Now you are making a difference in the lives of others. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Cyber {{hugs}} from a mom in the world of Type 1 diabetes. We are all connected!!!

Hey Tee, I know I know you don’t like the Yankees But, I wanted to let you know you are such a kind, caring, loving person to do what you do to help other kids in Camp. You have so much to give to people. The world should be filled with more people like yourself :slight_smile:
Take Care and never look back keep on being a positive person that you are. We are all here anytime you need to talk we will always listen and not judge you.
Sorry you like Boston, Only kidding LOL
Larry

Hi Tee, that was a very touching story. There is an incredible camp for diabetic children here in Cleveland called Camp Ho Mita Koda. I had a lot of the same feelings having gone to camp, it feels like a place I can always call home. Continue to stay strong because you have the courage to anything you want to. You are an inspiration!
-Mike

Hi tee. Great inspirational story. and Nice tattoo

Hi Tee, your struggle with diabetes and how you NEVER GAVE UP, is a stirring story and an example to those in similar situations. You can be a ROLE MODEL to others and help is available. Why dont you contact your local LIONS CLUB, and say AMIGO said to get involved, they have an excellent diabetes prevention & awareness program. On JULY 30, I am asking insulin-dependent,worldwide, to call 5 DIABETICS, to join me, in silence, to say THANKS FOR INSULIN, giving hundreds of millions of US a chance to live a healthy & productive lives TODAY. Check out www.discoveryofinsulin, com, and see why AMIGOS is selling BLUE ROSES , This particular rose was chosen because of its meaning, ATTAINING THE IMPOSSIBLE, is our mission and motto. Remember YOU’RE SPECIAL and may today be the FIRST day of the rest ofr your LIFE. i am a 91 computer rookie, clinically dead , in 1977, in Boston, with a BG of 880, with my second chance have been a ROLE MODEL to over 40.000, and am sending you an AMIHOHUG, to let you know you have a Canadian friend who CARES. clarence.haynes@sympatico.ca

Tee, that was an amazing story, I loved it! And was glad you could overcome the struggles that you are in control of and continue to persevere and get through the adverse conditions you were living through. Good luck with life, you sound like you have a good grip on life and not the other way around!

Your story touched me in hart and soul…
Finally, in one way, your D has saved you…
Hope, from now, only happiness will cross your path…
I wish you all the best…

what a great story Tee. Welcome to our PA group. I hope you come here more frequently now cuz you know from ur experiences … this is where ur friends really are.

I hated the idea of diabetic camp at first as well! But it was some of the best days of my childhood!

Oh Tee…thank you SO much for sharing your story. It’s very powerful.
I’m so glad you came to tudiabetes.

Thanks for your story, Tee. I’ve led a fairly rough life myself and have always tried to hold my head high and stay positive. Lately that’s been really tough. 34 years of Type 1 will do that to you, I guess.
Eric