This is a personal essay for an applicaiton to colleges that my parents and i thought i should share with the world. I have been a Diabetic for 12 years since i was 5 years old so if you have any questions feel free to email me at email@example.com
Less Insulin, More Maturity
By: Michael J. Carroll
In 1997 Manchester, England within a very stereotypical British-looking house made of staggered brick with white trim, I could be found in the only lit up room with my mouth open-wide underneath the silver faucet—It was as if the Colorado River was flowing into the Grand Canyon, but the water could never have moved fast enough; I know then how it must feel to be stranded in the desert for a week without water and then shown an oasis. My mother woke. The second and third floorboards adjacent to my room creaked when a feather grazed them; naturally, they woke my mother as I passed. She was somewhat alarmed at the sight of her son making a gallon of water disappear every minute.
The aroma of toast from everybody’s breakfast combined with HEPA filter cleaned oxygen with a dash of rubbing alcohol to the concoction was an unusual scent to me but quite memorable; all of this made it the most distinct memory I have due to the fact it was associated with a traumatic event—My arrival at the hospital. The first item on the agenda of the doctors was a simple blood sugar test—the average person maintains a blood sugar level of 100mg/dl, over 180mg/dl is considered high—my finger was violated with a needle for the first time of ten-thousands to come and the blood fell down towards a blood glucose test strip. 550mg/dl. I was then officially diagnosed a type 1 diabetic. Three days I lay in the brick-like bed of the hospital. The first day was frightening and revolved around denial; the third day was spent teaching my parents how to inject insulin to level off my blood glucose, but they were distraught at the thought. I know now that it hurt them significantly to cause me pain like that. On the third day they pulled together and began to give me injections without the doctors’ assistance. At the time I could not tell it hurt them emotionally to have to inject their crying son, but as I grew older, I realized, so I took it upon myself to do it without assistance; at eight and a half years old I was injecting myself with insulin four or five times a day, with parental worry and supervision.
Adapting to a life with diabetes was key, right from the beginning—I was expected to check my glucose levels six times a day; I chose to deliver injections myself and was also expected to do it four times a day, or as necessity called; management and self-reliance was major in my development as a child, and especially as a teen today. I have always had to communicate with my parents on a mature level and express how I felt my diabetes was doing, how I had been feeling throughout the day or week; diabetes demands a different kind of communication, it asks that you are articulate and expressive, decisive and opinionated. Since I was so young at the time, I matured much faster than most children, but it was a valuable experience, one I am glad I had and still have to this day.
Throughout my life John and Helen—who are more than just my parents, but also friends—have always talked to me as an adult; I was informed of what diabetes was, what it requires, and what it’s needs were by my parents when I was diagnosed, and also repeatedly as I grew older. I am Michael Carroll today because of what diabetes revealed to me, and how my parents always conferred with me about decisions it involved. I regard my parents in the highest of all respects for handling this curse the way they did, and for how they turned it into an experience that I revere now as a blessing thanks to them; diabetes has it’s burdens but the most influential thing my parents have taught me about not only this disease, but also life, was what they told me after I was diagnosed: “Don’t ever let the diabetes control you or what you do, YOU are in control of the diabetes”. Although it appears to be a simple cliché told to make me the recently diagnosed feel better, it represents more than that. It is the most valuable lesson and perfect combination of words I have ever learned; it shows that my parents used diabetes, a negative prospect, to help guide me into characteristics of somebody who is more mature and articulate than most adults are. Thanks to my parents I am proud to say I have the diabetes, it doesn’t have me, and nothing can hold me back.