When I was 13 years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Well, actually, no. I was not. I went to the doctor after complaining of a stomach ache for weeks. Why I had that stomach ache, I still have no idea. Anyways, my mother made me a doctor appointment to see what was going on. With the doctor having no clue why I was complaining, she decided to order blood work. A week later, the blood work came back, and I was called into the office for a follow up visit. Upon our arrival, she informed my family and I that my blood sugar had come back high, and I needed to go for further glucose testing. At the time, I had no idea what any of this meant, as I watched tears stream down my Grandma and Mothers face. My grandma is also a fellow diabetic. I knew the news wasn't good, and I started to cry as well.
I went for the gluclose tolerance test (SO GROSS!), and my blood sugar came back in the 300's. I had no signs of diabetes. I was not thristy, I was not dizzy, no headaches, feeling fuzzy... no waking up in the middle of the night, no feeling shaky, no feeling nauseous. I had no symptoms, it was pure "luck" that we stumbled across this the way that we did. I say that this was luck, because many diabetics discover that they are when they are already being rushed to the hospital, or worse. I was originally diagnosed a type 2 diabetic. Reason being, my body was still producing insulin. My mother was in denial that I was/am a diabetic, and took me to many different doctors for different opinions hoping that there was an answer other than shots for the rest of my life. I went for a year of trying to correct my blood sugars with diet and exercise. It worked for some time, but eventually trailed off and I was left with high blood sugars. Doctor after doctor, I was diagnosed as Type 1, Type 2, and also Type 1.5.
I will never forget the day that I started taking insulin. It was the first time that I had ever seen this new doctor. He looked at me, then back at my blood sugars, then back at me, then BACK at my blood sugars (Axe commercial reference, you hear it!?). Anyways, he said "You need to start insulin. Today". Terrified, I hugged my mom and I bawled. The doctor left the room, and came back with a pen of insulin. He injected it in my arm, and from that day on, I started on insulin. There was no time for me to actually register that I was about to start taking shots. I started that day, right then and there. It took me a very long time for me to get used to taking insulin on my own. At that age, I was terrified of needles. On top of getting used to the medication, my blood sugars started to shift more and more as I started to come out of my honeymoon phase. I didn't understand why this was happening to me, or what I did to deserve this. For a while, I refused to take my insulin, and just felt like I would be fine if I ignored it.
School made my diagnosis worse. My friends were not used to me having to leave class to test my blood sugar, or take medicine. At the time, I had to go to the nurses office to test my sugar because my school tried to tell me that it wouldn't be safe for me to carry my blood sugar tester... but we won't get into all of that. Let's keep in mind, though, that sometimes the nurses office was across the entire school. I started to get harassed by the other students that I was too good for class, or that I was ditching just because I felt like it. They did not understand that it wasn't that I WANTED to have a snack in class, I NEEDED to. I did not WANT to leave class, I NEEDED to. I did not WANT so many sick days, but they happened. I never intended for my life to change how it did, and there was nothing I could do about it. I could only handle it the best that I could. I lost all of my friends. I had no one. I was alone at school. Bullying continued into my high school years for various reasons, which are still unknown to me, but I am assuming there HAD to be more than one reason for people to treat me the way that they did. The constant daily harassment would send me home with 400+ blood sugars on a daily basis. No amount of insulin would correct my blood sugars. Just walking through the doors of my high school would raise by blood sugar by the middle of the year rolled around.
By this time, it was a struggle to deal with life in my teenage years, plus diabetes, plus bullying, plus trying to figure out my life goals. I had always drawn growing up, but at this time, I started to get into body painting and larger human art projects to ease my stress. Determined to get out of school, I also attended a half day of Cosmetology while also doing a half day of high school. During my Junior year, I also went home and did my senior year online. I graduated high school as a Junior, and was licensed in both Esthetics and Cosmetology by the time I turned 19.
Today, I understand that Diabetes will not hold me back from my dreams. Although I used to HATE it, I don't like seeing others saying that they hate it. Diabetes is with you, it is a part of you, and a part of who you are. Looking back on the seven years that I have been a diabetic, I have come to realize that it gave me responsibilites at a young age, and helped form me into the strong person that I am today. I understand what it is like to feel like you don't fit in, and to have your good and bad days. Because of this, I am able to help others who have gone through, or are GOING through this stuggle. I am determined to help find a cure, and to support others with illnesses, no matter WHAT they are. Everyone deserves to be loved, and love WHO THEY ARE, not what they have, or what they are labeled as. You ARE beautiful, just the way you are. Diabetic, artist, dork, nerd, smarty-pants, weirdo, it's who YOU are, and that is all that matters. As we grow older, we are each molded into our own person. Many people in this world are molded into societies idea of a perfect person, but it is the people who are different that are the ones who will MAKE a difference. Change cannot happen without someone being “weird”. Weird is known as a bad word, when in reality, if everyone were “normal”, we would all be like robots, wandering around, saying the same catch phrases, looking the same, and nothing would progress. We would become stuck, we would blend in. No matter what anyone says, you are beautiful, inside and out, with or without an illness Stay true to yourself, follow your dreams, and never give up. The only way you will reach defeat is if you give up on yourself. You decide your destiny, make your own decisions, and only you determine who you are and who you will be. Confidence is key in all endeavors, and always be kind to others, because you never know what may be happening in another persons life.
2012: 5 years on insulin. Within those 5 years.. I have taken around 10,950 shots. I have poked my finger to test my blood about 15,330 times (ow ow ow ow ow).. gotten countless blood draws, and been to numerous doctors visits.. and have many, many years to go. I would love to have a cure. I would LOVE to be able to say I USED to be a diabetic.. and one day, when I have them, if my kids inherit diabetes, I would love for them to have a cure. About 25.8 MILLION people in the US alone have this disease. In 2007, diabetes was the cause of 231,404 deaths. Please make a donation
2013: 6 years on insulin :) I have taken/gotten approximately: 13,140 shots 21,900 finger pokes Countless blood draws
2014: 7 years on insulin! By the end of the year I will have taken/gotten approximately:
15,330 insuiin shots 25,550 finger pokes Countless blood draws My A1C is in the low 7's!