I've been thinking quite a bit about my diagnosis only a little over 2 years ago and thought, "Wow, I never thought of it as a big deal then, but now I think it's amazing." I've also been seeing quite a few newer diagnosed people and people who are having a rough time with diabetes on this site. So for the new year, I thought I would share this little personal experience and I hope it helps any new diabetic or down in the dumps soul out there :)
I was 14 years old when I was diagnosed with diabetes. I had many usual symptoms of dehydration: constant thirst, extreme tiredness and spacing out constantly. I thought nothing of it. I started receiving these symptoms in early july, so I suffered through this "dehydration" a little over three months. When I was finally diagnosed in early October 2008, they told me my blood sugar was nearly 1200 yet, miraculously, I had absolutely no ketones. This is why I had not had any major symptoms such as throwing up. Since I had not been throwing up for what seemed no reason at all, I had never thought all my other symptoms were anything to worry about. The doctors told me I was very lucky I wasn't in a coma. At the time, I didn't think I was lucky at all. What was diabetes? I had to give myself shots? For the rest of my life? No way!
The five days I spent in the hospital were full of diabetes education, family visits, learning to give myself a shot and just trying to get my sugars back down! It was overwhelming but on the last night there, overwhelmed and exhausted, I lay there talking to God for the first time in a long time. "How did I live through this? Why do I have to give myself shots to eat? Why me?" I knew then God was trying to tell me he thought I could handle it. I knew I would have to live with this for the rest of my life and though the thought still scared me to death, I knew He would want me to do something positive about it. Still, I was terrified to go back to school that next week. The last few days in the hospital I ended up having to wear very high powered reading glasses to finish my homework. My extremely high sugar had affected my eyesight but my body had been adjusting so fast I hadn't even noticed the change until my sugars actually started becoming normal again. I came home from the hospital still wearing those reading glasses but assured eventually I would gain my eyesight back.
A day and a half later, I had my very first show choir performance. Despite my mom's uneasiness at me performing that night, I was determined. I told her, "Mom, I have to do this. If I don't I will let the whole team down. I can't let this disease stop me." My mom smiled at me and squeezed me tight. "OK." was all she managed to say. I could tell she was scared. I was terrified but still I handed her the reading glasses and minutes later, I climbed on to that very top show choir riser and gave it my all - even though I couldn't see a foot in front of my face. No one in the show choir knew this little tidbit because I still had not told anyone of my diagnosis. Mom sat out in the audience probably squeezing the closest stranger's hand as tightly as she could. I knew she was worried that I would fall off the stage, that I would pass out right there and of course these thoughts crossed my mind. But none of these things ever happened because I was not going to let it happen. Of course, right after that performance my sugar felt very low. I checked and turned out I was fine. "I'm fine, mom." I told her when she came running into the locker room. I smiled at her, "I'm just fine."
Now today, I look back and remember how I had not thought my performing was a huge deal. I was part of the show and I wanted to be in it. We did a partner dance and I didn't want to let him down - I didn't want to let anybody down. Now, I realize that my performing WAS a big deal. My mom wasn't just being overprotective - she was truly concerned that something would happen to me since I'd only had diabetes for one week. That day was the day I decided I was going to live my life and not let diabetes slow me down. Despite the obstacle I faced, I would choose to conquer it and not let it conquer me. I still do show choir and I'm still on that very top riser. Everytime I perform I think back to that day and then look at the group in front of me and think "This is my passion. This is what I love to do. And I can be just like everyone else when I perform. And this time I can actually see what I'm doing." I still get very emotional as I tell this story but I take comfort in the fact that this story is important to me so it will surely be very helpful and inspirational to other people as well.
I inspired myself that day when I conquered my Type 1 Diabetes.