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10 Years of T1D… But still #winning!

Short and sweet. But 10 years ago today I was 14 years old and staring at an insulin syringe. I knew what was to come. I knew what was ahead: lots of shots daily, pricking my finger, tiny blood stains on just about everything I own (from finger pricks and shots), and days were I just felt like crap.

But, almost 1o years later, I haven’t let type 1 diabetes stop me. There are days I could curl up in a ball and not get up out of bed. There are days when a low blood sugar really interrupts my schedule. I have been made fun of. I have been picked on. I have been singled out from birthday parties where parents were afraid I would be an inconvenient worry. But, I had a very strong mother and father who always made me feel better. I had a little sister I looked up to. I asked her questions. I finally understood what she was going through. We were sharing more than just clothes, dolls, and make-up. We were sharing type 1 diabetes, the last thing on my list I ever wanted to share. She was 11 and had been diagnosed 3 years before me.

Can I find good in all this? Absolutely. I helped a diabetic orphan in St. Petersburg, Russia get the medical supplies and care he needed until he turned 18. He got a warm coat and new shoes and socks. Sasha was the product of a broken home, like so many in Russia. His father was dead. His mother was an alcoholic who did not provide for her son. He was in and out of the hospital until he was taken in by an orphanage. His mother eventually died and he was not getting the medication he needed to survive. Eventually, with the help of ReliOn, Sasha got what he needed. I don’t know where he is now or what he is doing, but I would like to think he turned someone else’s bad situation into a not-so-bad one.

I finished by undergrad quickly, studied in Italy, taught in Vietnam, got married, worked for a political campaign, made an impact on a child I will never meet, all with T1D. My point is not to brag, it’s to prove to those who think their diagnosis with T1D (or any other chronic, lifelong disease) will stop them or hold them back from living life. It won’t. I have taken care of myself. I have had my fair share of ups and downs. Bad days and good days. Tired days and sick days. Anxious days and relaxing days… all with low and high blood sugars. I am not perfect (by any standards). But I try.

If I freak you out at the dinner table with my needles, I apologize. I forget that not everyone is use to it. On the other hand, it is funny to watch people squirm (there has to be some positive to it, right?)! Free stuff at the doctor (every 3 months) is great. Who doesn’t love a new accu-check or freestyle meter? I did get to eat in class in high school when no one else was allowed to. I made friends by passing out glucose tablets (only the extras) because they taste like pixie sticks. Oh, and the best part, a “real treat” aka a non-diabetic friendly treat always tastes amazing. Almost always. Ok, not always.

To those who made my bad days better and brighter, thank you. To those who made sugar-free desserts just for me when I came over, thank you. To those who hid away the one diet soda just for me, thank you. To those who prayed for my sister and I every time you saw us, thank you. You cared and your gestures never went unnoticed. I am very blessed and I try to remember that everyday.

Can I find good in all this? Absolutely. I helped a diabetic orphan in St. Petersburg, Russia get the medical supplies and care he needed until he turned 18. He got a warm coat and new shoes and socks. Sasha was the product of a broken home, like so many in Russia. His father was dead. His mother was an alcoholic who did not provide for her son. He was in and out of the hospital until he was taken in by an orphanage. His mother eventually died and he was not getting the medication he needed to survive. Eventually, with the help of ReliOn, Sasha got what he needed. I don’t know where he is now or what he is doing, but I would like to think he turned someone else’s bad situation into a not-so-bad one.

I finished by undergrad quickly, studied in Italy, taught in Vietnam, got married, worked for a political campaign, made an impact on a child I will never meet, all with T1D. My point is not to brag, it’s to prove to those who think their diagnosis with T1D (or any other chronic, lifelong disease) will stop them or hold them back from living life. It won’t. I have taken care of myself. I have had my fair share of ups and downs. Bad days and good days. Tired days and sick days. Anxious days and relaxing days… all with low and high blood sugars. I am not perfect (by any standards). But I try.

If I freak you out at the dinner table with my needles, I apologize. I forget that not everyone is use to it. On the otherhand, it is funny to watch people squirm (there has to be some positive to it, right?)! Free stuff at the doctor (every 3 months) is great. Who doesn’t love a new accu-check or freestyle meter? I did get to eat in class in high school when no one else was allowed to. I made friends by passing out glucose tablets (only the extras) because they taste like pixie sticks. Oh, and the best part, a “real treat” aka a non-diabetic friendly treat always tastes amazing. Almost always. Ok, not always.

To those who made my bad days better and brighter, thank you. To those who made sugar-free desserts just for me when I came over, thank you. To those who hid away the one diet soda just for me, thank you. To those who prayed for my sister and I everytime you saw us, thank you. You cared and your gestures never went unnoticed. I am very blessed and I try to remember that everyday.

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