National Diabetes Day

Nov. 14 is National Diabetes Day. Diabetes has a major impact on the lives of those affected.

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National Diabetes Day

Maddy Smith, Photographer, Yearbook Student Life editor

Nov. 14 was National Diabetes Day. For those who don’t know what diabetes is, let me explain. There are two types. Type 1 is insulin-dependent, this means that your pancreas stops making insulin. Type 2 is the kind most people are familiar with. This is when your body becomes resistant to the insulin you make. Type 2 can be treated with medication and prevented or gotten rid of with lifestyle changes. 

I have type one diabetes. When I was eight, I was constantly tired, losing weight, and not able to concentrate. Finally, after I told my mom that I would rather sleep than watch television, we decided it was time to go to the hospital. I was not happy about this. It was grilled cheese and tomato soup night and I did not want to miss it. I was forced to anyway, which was probably a good thing since my doctor told me if I didn’t, I’d probably have gone into a coma. In the waiting room of the ER, I was sitting watching the Avengers when my name was called. The nurse checked my blood sugar, went pale, and rushed me into the ICU on a gurney. After frustrating hours of not being told what was happening to me, I was told that I was a Type 1 diabetic. Over the course of the days I was in the hospital, my health changed drastically. I was suddenly energized, happier, and ready to go home. 

That day in September 2012, changed my life forever. I measure events of my life as pre and post-diagnosis. What I have found out recently is that diabetes, specifically Type 1, is linked with anxiety, depression, and other feelings of self-doubt. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t worry about what my blood sugar is, whether or not I will drop low at night, whether or not my insulin pump will go off loudly and draw attention to me. I know how hard it is to tell people about something like diabetes. I will go a whole year with a teacher never knowing even though I should have told them. 

So, to those of you out there with diabetes or something similar you are not alone. There are networks of people available to help you. JDRF, the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation, has camps, fundraisers and support groups. I myself am in the process of organizing a fundraiser. 

And to diabetes:

First off, you suck. I cannot go to soccer practice without worrying about you. If I go to sleep without checking on you, there’s a chance I won’t wake up. You made me grow up too fast. You have physically scarred my body. You have prevented me from being able to go through airport security without being searched. Because of you, I cannot serve in the military. Because of you, I have endured countless assumptions about eating too much sugar and been made self-conscious because of countless fat jokes. 

Despite all that, you made me stronger. You made me more mature and aware of my health. In spite of your best efforts, I am healthy; I am happy; I am strong. 

Sincerely,

Maddy

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