No thanks, diabetes does not stop me!

No thanks, diabetes does not stop me!

Dated : 24 Aug 2020

I was 14 years old in the middle of my summer vacation. I was transferring to a boarding school that summer. It had many more opportunities for me and an international curriculum I was very excited about. In all the excitement of vacation and school preparation, I didn’t notice that I had started drinking a lot more water than I used to. I used the restroom almost every 15 minutes, felt tired after climbing just a few steps and lost weight like never before. I was so happy losing weight without having to give up food. It is like every teenage girl’s dream. Isn’t it? Well like life itself, it wasn’t the entire story. I soon starting experiencing extremely severe symptoms. For a 14-year-old bed-wetting is no joke! After repetitive episodes, I realized that I could not control it. That was the most humiliating of experiences for me.

I got a blood test done as my new school requested from every incoming student.  So turns out I am Type-1 Diabetic. Well at that point, I was way too excited about changing schools and I thought ‘oh it’s alright, just a few medicines and not too many sweets. All good!’ Quite ironically, the shock for me hit when my parents said that I cannot go to the boarding school.  Then I thought to myself, if my doctor says I can go then my parents won’t deny. So in complete denial and a lot of hope, I visited an endocrinologist who gradually helped me understand that my life had completely changed. I am supposed to take four insulin injections every day, my diet needs to be controlled and if not taken care, I could have serious complications or experience hypoglycemias or in other words excess insulin leading to very low blood sugars. Well it does sound scary when I say it all now but what troubled me the most was my doctor refusing to let me go to a boarding school. I understood that my disease was very new to me and my family and to be away in a boarding school where I am responsible for myself was not very intriguing for anyone. But to me, this was a disaster! Not the disease but the fact I can’t go to a school I was dreaming of for the past six months. I kept thinking how can this stupid disease stop me from doing something I really want to do. Nope I wasn’t letting that happen. 

After a lot of pestering and pleasing, my dad agreed to inform the principal of my new school of my diagnosis. Fortunately, my principal said I could still attend the school. My school had two in house doctors staying on campus 24/7 and they said they were ready to help me! Guess what- where there is a will there is a way after all! I was allowed to brake some of the most absolute rules of the school like bringing food in campus like chocolates, glucose etc., carrying a bag with me always, keeping my medication with me and carrying an electronic device – my CGM monitor with me. Things worked out! My parents were reassured that I could join as soon as they felt I knew how to take care of myself. I was driven and didn’t take long to convince my parents. I was in school in less than a month after my diagnosis, on my own, in a completely new environment. I was alone in managing diabetes but I was never lonely. I graduated from the same school in 2019, a very different person. I availed as many opportunities as time permitted me. I thrived there with the support of everybody in my school. Today, I am studying to become an Engineer in a whole different country. 

I was always a determined and hardworking soul but diabetes taught me to be positive in everything that life throws at me. I have learnt to be self-reliant, to be strong through hypoglycemias, erratic levels and mood swings.

It’s important to realize what we want to do and achieve in life, and keep our focus at it. If something as big as a life-long disease gets thrown into our lives, we cannot stop doing or dreaming everything we hoped for ourselves. We get through it. Pausing is important because we need time to accept change. However, we cannot make these changes responsible for not continuing with life and achieving everything we want for ourselves.