Alright, Sam, here's my story :) Please let me know if there's anything else you need :)
I’m only 15, but every day I’m responsible for my own life. Everything I do, everything I don’t do, determines the next step, the next day. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at eleven years of age. In an instant I went from worrying how the “in” crowd thought I’d be cuter with straight hair – and how to get it that way – to the nerve I’d have to muster for my first shot. Diabetes wasn’t an option, and the chronic illness was the most difficult obstacle I have ever been faced with. However, I have never been gladder or more grateful to experience something than I am to diabetes.
For weeks I had fallen into a brutal cycle of dying for something to drink, then dying to find a restroom. I didn't fit any of the clothes purchased for back-to-school within a week; I'd dropped to 116 pounds. Dance classes were excruciating, and often proved so taxing I would flop in the car, shaking, without moving for countless blocks of time. The weekend before my parents sprung the doctor appointment on me we went on a road trip as our last “hurrah” before we put a name to what was wrong. We spent every other minute pulling off for bathroom breaks drinks, my lips blue after eating a Frosty; too drained of energy to entertain myself, I instead stared out the window the duration of the car ride. Once admitted to the ER, my blood sugars had well exceeded the healthy range, measuring around the 500’s. Spending nearly a week in the Hospital, my family stood with me the entire time. Near the end of the stay I requested that Dad bring in a change of clothes, given that I had been wearing the same shirt for a week. A baseball cap made the list of what I asked for.
Dad brought the cap he’d purchased on our road trip. My relatives had always written quotes in their own hats. When he brought the hat in he explained just how much he wanted me to have it; on the underside of the bill was written: ‘Stay Brave,’ signed Dad, October 2005. I wore that cap proudly and gratefully when I was discharged, and continue to today. The words were positioned just right; when the days get hard, as I acknowledge they will, I wear that baseball cap. And when it feels like I have lost myself, or I cannot seem to find the strength to stand once more, I look up, and I can see the words loud and clear.
I strongly believe that the care I take in diabetes and the person I am today has everything to do with my family; I believe they are everything that helps me “stay strong.”