I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of six, and I honestly cannot remember life before my diagnosis. I was asked the other day, if, given the choice, I would change the fact that I have Type 1 diabetes, and truthfully, the answer is no.
Diabetes is by no means a walk in the park. Every day with diabetes is a new set of challenges to overcome, and every day, new worries arise.
Throughout each day, I have to constantly keep tabs on what my blood sugar levels are, in order to keep them between 120 and 190. If I go below 120, I will start to feel the effects, and without treatment for low blood sugar, I pass out.
On the other end of the scale, if my blood sugar goes too high, and is left untreated, I can go into a coma. It sounds as extreme as it is, but having had diabetes for so long I have learned how to keep my blood sugar in check. And with that in mind, I know that high and low blood sugar spikes are going to happen.
So, to be prepared for anything, I have to keep a juice box, a granola bar or any type of sugar with me at all times. I also have to make sure my insulin pump is working — the device that puts insulin into my body all day — and that I have enough insulin to last me the entire day.
One of the biggest obstacles of having diabetes is the consistency of it. I, along with the millions of other diabetic people, never have a break, because diabetes is a constant in our lives.
During a workout, an important test, a job interview or even a wedding, diabetes is always there, and we have to be ready.
Now, the reason I talk about the hardships of Type 1 diabetes, is to show that it is no easy task. However, when considering whether or not I would change the fact that I have Type 1 diabetes — if I could go back in time and make this choice — my mind merely glanced at the cons of having Type 1 diabetes, and immediately went to the positives.
The reason for this, is that I have met many lifelong best friends through having diabetes. These friends and I all went to a diabetic camp together and grew up alongside each other, and there is no other group of people who know exactly how I feel. This past year, I got to be a counselor at the diabetic camp I grew up at, and got to see those same relationships start to form in young campers.
Type I Diabetes has brought so many truly wonderful people into my life who I am lucky enough to call friends and family. For that reason alone, I know that I would never give up having diabetes even if I could, because I would be without some of the most important and influential people in my life.
And, the more I thought about it, I realized that I wouldn’t change having diabetes because it has made me who I am as a person. Having diabetes has taught me how to be responsible and trustworthy, for others and for myself.
Because I have diabetes, I always have to make sure that I am taken care of. And as a result, throughout the years, this has transformed me into having a love of taking care of others. Diabetes has been the biggest teacher for me as a person, and for that, I am grateful.
Because I have diabetes, I see every day as a blessing. Having diabetes is hard; but I am lucky to be able to maintain my health and wellbeing the way that I can, and so, even when I have a bad day, I have something to be grateful for.
Having diabetes has taught me how to look at the bright side of every situation. I realize that things in my life could be worse, so I can look at a bad situation, and find the good. Overall, because I have diabetes, I am a more compassionate person.
Diabetes can be frustrating, exhausting and all around hard, but when faced with the option to rewind time and get rid of it, I certainly never would.