19-year-old Kate was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes twelve years ago. Having T1D through school was difficult, when all you want at that age is to be the same as everyone else. She tells us JDRF her story.
Throughout my schooling life, and even to this day, I have kept type 1 diabetes to myself to the point that some of the people around me have had no idea of my daily struggles. I hated any attention related to diabetes and I put myself in a position where I was risking my own health on a day to day basis. I wouldn’t carry any food with me to classes, including my tester. I didn’t want people to see me as different or ‘lucky’ because I was able to eat whenever I wanted to.
When my levels would drop quite low, I would hang out until morning tea because I didn’t want the attention, I didn’t want to be different and I wanted to forget that I had diabetes. When I first started using my pump I became very anxious as to whether people could see it or not. I didn’t want people to laugh at me so I would take it out for short amounts of time.
I look back on the high school girl that I once was and realise I have come so far since then. I still try to hide it from others to avoid being treated or looked at differently in any way, but I am more open to the disease that plays a very significant role in my life!
I wanted to share this part of my story because I want others to know that you don’t have to be ashamed of being different. I have learnt to embrace diabetes and wearing a pump and would hate to know that there are other young girls and boys risking their health because they are afraid of what other people think.
Just remember my pump-diabetic friends, no one else has a colourful pump that not only shows the time but also lights up, which comes very handy in the middle of the night! If diabetes is a part of your life, learn to love it. That obviously sounds absurd but, it is possible, I promise.