Living with Diabetes

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Being in a hospital is not a pleasant experience, especially when the doctors are unaware of the diagnosis, and you, the patient, are left in the dark. Learning I had diabetes was an overwhelming experience, to say the least. I had gone in for a routine check up and was floored by the news; I had had no symptoms, no signs whatsoever, but there it was. I didn’t believe it, mostly because I didn’t understand it. I did not know what a pancreas was, or why it would suddenly stop working. I could not comprehend all the information and the medical jargon the doctors were throwing at me. I was lost. Living with diabetes is difficult and nothing was worse than the first year. I had to learn how to keep my pancreas on its best behavior, give myself a shot three times a day, and deal with my mother’s incessant neuroticism. All my relatives and friends kept telling me how horrible my situation was and they all expected me to become depressed. I merely shook it off. What are a few less snickers and ho-hos? I changed my screen name to dia-bill-ic, turned my glucose checks into a betting game and acquired a new pick up line: “slow down sugar, I’m diabetic”. I am not saying I let my disease go rampant as I am always conscious about staying healthy, but I refuse to see my diabetes as a deterrent. Every year since 2005, the year of my diagnosis, I have collected money and walked in Boston’s Walk for Diabetes fundraiser because of my faith in science. I believe a cure is coming and because of this, my anxieties and fears about my future medical condition are put at ease. I am not going to sugar coat it. Life would be much easier without diabetes, but there are more important aspects to life than an illness.One thing diabetes has allowed me to do is put things into perspective. Sure diabetes is bad, but anywhere else in the world it could, and probably would be worse. This realization has helped me through the worst of it, (the needles, the white coats, and the constant reminders of what could happen), and has also motivated me to try to improve circumstances for those worse off than I. Recently I have been doing work with a non-profit organization that provides education for the battered and mistreated Ugandan children affected by their civil war. I am lucky to be in a country whose people are able to have a good education, food, shelter, and equally important, medical attention. Living in this environment with diabetes has nurtured my compassion for other people and strengthened my perseverance in every aspect of my life.

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