What I Love About MY Diabetes

Growing up with an incurable chronic illness is a difficult thing. I gained a great deal of perspective through my experiences with Type 1 Diabetes and realized that everyone in the world has something difficult they must face every day. I learned, that just because someone is going through something different than you, doesn’t mean that their experiences are any less valid or important. This has affected how I interact with people to this day.

Type 1 Diabetes led me to one of my favorite places on Earth - Camp. Camp is where I learned how to be outgoing, how to problem solve with my illness, and most importantly, how to shoot a bow and arrow. I met some of my best friends at camp - people who I’m confident will remain in my life for a very long time. Camp also eventually gave me the opportunity to work as a counselor and give back to young people living with Diabetes. Those two years working as a counselor have been some of the most transformative weeks of my life and I will be forever grateful to camp and everyone there for what they have given me the past 6 years.

I am thankful for my friends. Being forced to live with something as scary as Type 1 Diabetes, has forced me to be wary about those I let into my life. Those close to me are tasked with not only getting to know me but getting to know my illness and everything that comes along with that. My friends have learned what Type 1 Diabetes is, they have learned how to live around blood and needles, learned the language of Type 1 Diabetes, learned to accept the fact that I have mood swings due to my blood sugars, learned to stand up for me when people are ignorant and rude about my illness, learned to be my friend while also worrying about my health every day, learned to love me even when I can’t love myself. My friends are some of the strongest and most caring people I know because they are friends with me separate from my illness while also learning to love it because it is a part of me. I am grateful every day for these wonderful humans who have entered my life and who support me endlessly and unconditionally.

Finally, I love Diabetes because of my family. My family did the impossible - they made a kid who was different feel normal. Not only did they make me feel normal, but they made me feel like I could take on the world without a second thought. My family pushed me to be bold, to think outside the box, and to take risks. Thanks to them, I have been able to become a licensed scuba diver, compete in weightlifting, complete a Spartan Race, travel the world, and even study abroad my first semester of college. My family pushed me to achieve all this as well as the day to day struggles and fears that come with having a chronic illness. My family never once doubted my abilities and never made me feel like I was less than, or a burden because of my illness. I am proud to be a member of my family and so grateful for the opportunities they have given me.

There is so much about Type 1 Diabetes to be scared of and hate, but there is just as much to be thankful for and love. Happy World Diabetes Day (11/14/17)!