I wrote this for school, but it didn't really work for the assignment, but I liked it enough... so here it is, with some changes! :)
When I was 12, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. It was a shock. Like so many others, I had only heard of type two. I thought there was only one diabetes. I didn’t know any other people- let alone teens!- with diabetes. At my school, there was no other person with diabetes. I was alone, defeated, scared.
When I had to test my blood sugar, I sat in the corner of the office, away from the receptionist who was afraid of blood and needles. There was no nurse at this building in my school- and the temporary school nurse was afraid of needles. For weeks, my mom dutifully arrived at the school at noon and we took over an empty classroom, trying to understand what we were doing. For weeks I came home crying, trying to make my friends understand, trying to convince the math teacher that tests right before lunch weren’t a good idea because I was always low before lunch. Trying to fit in.
Even once we got the hang of it and mom stopped coming at lunch, I was always “the girl with the disease” or “the druggie with the needles”. The weird one. The one who “couldn’t eat sweets.”
I became desperate to find someone who understood. My doctors studied type one, but they didn’t get the emotional stuff. Therapists didn’t know what diabetes was. And none of these were kids. I’d scan the restaurants, just hoping to find a pump, a needle, a meter, anything that was a sign.
Then I found TuDiabetes. Here was this family of people, all who had diabetes, all with their own stories, all with hope and determination. All wanting to find friends to talk to, people to help. Here were these people who lived with diabetes and did amazing things- conquered mountains, go to the Olympics, get on American Idol, the list goes on. Here were people who understood everything Diabetes- the hilariousness in the places where we find test strips, the desperation of trying to get rid of ketones. Here were diabetics all grown up- the people that I want to be. Having kids, getting jobs- living life- even with diabetes.
It was TuDiabetes that opened my eyes to the diabetes world- not a world of hate and despair- but a world of hope, determination, acceptance and love. Everyday each and every one of us fights diabetes and we go on to do amazing things. We push past the difficult things- the blood sugars, the ketones, the misconceptions about diabetes- and we live life.
With TuDiabetes I met my role models, my friends and my family with diabetes. I met the people that I want to be when I’m older, the other teenagers living like I am and people who have different kinds of diabetes- they helped me learn that type two diabetes isn’t all that I thought it was and that there are types like 1.5 that nearly no one knows about.
My family gives me a lot of support, but they’re still learning. They don’t have diabetes, no matter how much they understand about it.
Without TuDiabetes, I would be struggling to find a place right now. My pump probably wouldn’t be on my side (and I have Kristin especially to thank for that!) and I most certainly wouldn’t be scheduling CGM classes. My needles wouldn’t be taken with confidence and my head wouldn’t be held high.
Today when I walk down the street, through the hallway, around the mall, wherever I am, I walk proudly with diabetes- my pump on my side, my meter in my backpack and a little blood stain on my finger. I like who I am, and I’m that person because of the TuDiabetes family and the support they have given me. TuDiabetes has truly taught me that while I have diabetes, I am not a diabetic. It’s amazing what you can do, what you can get past, when you have this support.
Thank you, TuDiabetes.