T1D: The Story Of My Diagnosis

This is an excerpt from my college essay written in 2012:

"Does that mean I'm dying?" My hand dropped from my mother's. I was tired of waiting for the answer; it had been three days- three terrible days of stomach pains, gallons of fluids, and wetting the bed.

My mom laughed; it was not a joyous laugh, but a nervous chuckle that let me know that my mom was scared, too. I wanted to cry, but I choked back the tears and dug my head into my mother's side because I knew that no one could hurt me in my mother's arms. "No, Carrie, No. You're not going to die." I was relieved and peeked out from my hiding spot.

"Diabetes is a disease that many people just like you live with every day. Having diabetes does not mean that you are going to die." I smiled and hopped off of the examining table as if I were healthy again, ready for anything. As I reached the door, I turned and saw that I was alone.

"Come on, Mom! We can go home now. I'm not gonna die; Dr. Young just said so."

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She told me to come sit on her lap and listen to what the doctor had to say. He was using a lot of big words, and all I heard from his speech was that I had to pack a bag for at least a week as soon as I got home. I did not stop to listen to where I was going. “Cool,” I thought, “I'm going on vacation."

When I got home from the hospital, I was scared of leaving my "vacation" where the doctors told me everything to do and helped me manage my life. Now I had to do everything on my own, and I forgot every rule and restriction I had learned.

 And the nine years since have certainly not been easy. I feel myself always trying to fight the label "different" because as a young girl growing up diseased, I wanted nothing more than to fit in. I had to learn how to count carbohydrates and give myself injections before I learned my times tables. At first I did not understand why I could not have a cupcake at my best friend’s birthday or why I had to sit out of soccer practice. As a young girl, I did not understand how someone could ask me to eat when I was full and not allow me a snack when I was starving.

    Now, things are different. After wearing an insulin pump for five years, I asked my doctor for a break. By taking off the little blue electronic device, I removed any clue to the outside world that I am diabetic. I did not want to go on my first date or my first high school party and answer questions because diabetes does not define me; it is not who I am. Diabetes is a disease that I live with every day. Even though it is a part of me, it is not every part of me.