Day one of International Diabetes Awareness Month
Today, we share our diagnosis stories.
February 1998, I remember it was a weekend, but I don't remember the exact date. I was a regular 8 year old kid, but my life changed forever that day.
My father (who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes the day I was born), noticed something was up with me. I wasn't my normal self. I was peeing a lot more often, drinking A LOT of water and just seemed off. He checked my blood sugar with his glucose monitor and was in shock. I don't recall the number that came up, but it must have been high because all I remember is getting on my boots and jacket and getting in the car to go to the Children's emergency room.
I spent the entire day getting tests done. I was fed up at one point, broke down crying and told my dad "I just want to go home, it's not fair" ––something I said a lot after being diagnosed.
The doctor finally came in and told us that I was indeed Type 1 Diabetic. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. The doctor told me I was very lucky to have a Dad who was T1 diabetic, because this meant I was allowed to go home that night. A nurse came in shortly after to explain how I would check my blood sugar x amount of times every day and have to take two small needles of insulin a day. I would have to come back later that week to meet my new endocrinologist and have an educational meeting with the nurse and my parents.
I remember going to school that Monday morning terrified that my friends would find out–– I didn't want to be different, no kid wants to be.
I hid my diabetes for a long time. But one day, I decided, who cares. I am who I am. If I wanted to take control of my diabetes I had to embrace it. If people asked questions, I could answer them:
"yes I can eat sugar."
"no I'm not diabetic because I eat too much sugar."
"no it is not reversible."
"no, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are NOT the same."
"no, just because I'm diabetic does not mean my children will be."
By embracing my diabetes, this is how Type W1N came to be, this is how I turned something I was ashamed of into something I am so proud of. Wear your pumps and CGMs proudly. Scream "Yes, I am diabetic. I am my own hero, every minute of every day.", because we are. Yes, we may have support people (shout out to my incredible support system: My parents, husband, siblings, doctors!), but we face this disease every single minute of every single day, and we survive, even on days when it would be easier to just give up.