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Being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of three came as quite a shock to my family, considering we had no known background of the disease in or family. Although it was a challenge, they adapted to a new lifestyle and as I grew up, taught me how to live in a way that would keep my body healthy. Throughout my life I’ve learned a few things from Type 1 diabetes that don’t necessarily just apply to the disease itself, and have actually become some of the most valuable lessons I have come to know.

contrary to popular belief…

There is a lot of information that goes around about Type 1 Diabetes and it’s really hard to sift through it all. When I was first diagnosed, my parents didn’t know what to believe.There was information flying at them from all directions. It took years to finally come to figure out the best way to handle this disease and to realize that my body is my body and it’s not going to need the exact same things as other diabetics. So contrary to popular belief, not everything that you see on the internet or read in a book is going to effect every diabetic in the same way. Handling this, especially throughout my teenage years, was definitely not easy. There were so many suggestions and tips being thrown my way, many from people who had never even experienced diabetes in their own lives. Although this came as a struggle, I began to learn what really worked for me and to just ignore all of the constant information being thrown my way.

responsibility

With diabetes comes a lot to remember. This means that pretty much every time you leave the house you have to have a list in the back your mind of what you should have. For just a day you need the basics: your insulin pump, a way to check your blood sugar, sugar (in case your blood sugar is low), and glucagon. To spend the night or for an even longer trip the list just continues to grow. Growing up, this was something I always had in the back of my mind. Whether it was a field-trip, a sleepover, or a trip to visit family, I always had to make sure I had everything packed in case of an emergency. Although this was a pain, it helped me to become super responsible. I basically had no other option, because if I didn’t make sure I was always on top of it, there was the chance of a serious emergency that I would be unprepared for. It definitely made last minute sleepovers with my friends a hassle, but taught me that if I just made sure I was on top of everything, it was no big deal.

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Diabetes Doesn’t Define me

One thing that took some time to learn was that diabetes isn’t who I am. It does take time out of my life and can be an inconvenience in the least convenient times but it doesn’t effect who I am. This isn’t something that I always struggle with but like anything else, diabetes has its ups and downs. Sometimes there will be weeks where my blood sugars are great and I feel like I’m managing everything well. There are other times where it’s really defeating because it feels like there’s always a problem with my blood sugar and I’m always having to stop doing something in my normal life in order to take care of diabetes. It can seem very consuming. These are the times that I have learned to separate diabetes from the rest of my life. It is there, I take care of it, and I move on. Even when there are tough weeks I try not to let the defeat that I feel carry over into other parts of my life. I think that this is a valuable lesson that I have carried into other parts of my life as well. If I’m going through something in one aspect of my life, I try my best to not let it carry over into the others and affecting my mood all the time. Basically, having diabetes has taught me that there will always be ups and downs but those little bumps don’t determine how your entire life is going to be.

You’re tougher than you think

Probably the most important thing that diabetes has taught me is that you can probably handle a lot more than you think you can. Type One has brought me into the most difficult times of my life, but has also showed me that I can handle those times. Especially being in college, there are moments when it is so difficult to take care of diabetes because it seems like there is nobody around you going through the same thing. But every time I feel this way it always ends up working out and I always end up just fine. This motivates me to continue to manage everything that comes with this disease. Although this is another lesson that I have definitely learned from diabetes, it has carried into other parts of my life. I think that people learn this lesson from different things in their own lives and diabetes was just the way for me. Although having Type 1 isn’t my favorite thing, I am thankful for all the things that it has taught me.

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Nancy Aviña

Skyler Dorr is a sophomore at Siena College. Her major is health studies with hopes to become a physical therapist. She loves hiking, skiing, reading, and spending time on Piseco Lake! IG: skyler.dorr
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