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I was in second grade when my name got called to the office. I packed my things, curious about how I got so lucky to be leaving early. I was beaming when I saw my mom waiting for me. Then, I noticed the glassy look on her face – The energy in the room seemed to feel…heavy, ominous, daunting.
There had been changes in my body that my younger self could not verbalize. I was sleeping more, always lethargic, hyper-emotional, and wetting the bed. Anyone diagnosed as a child and living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) can understand the shame that comes with this symptom. As a 7-year-old, I was scolded by my mom because I was ‘too old to be peeing the bed.’ I retreated into myself and shut down. I was sad, embarrassed, and tired of feeling sick.
My mom had taken me to my doctor so that I could get lab work done. I had lost 15lbs, and my family was at a loss for all these symptoms. Do you ever have a feeling that you are about to hear the worst news of your life? When I asked my mom, “where are we going?” She replied, “to the hospital; your lab tests were abnormal.” I knew that my life would never be the same.
At the hospital, I was naively excited that all eyes were on me. My dad had arrived; if he left work early, it must be serious. No one would say the word, and no one would tell me what ‘abnormal’ meant. After a tearful 11 attempts to insert an IV (I kept count), I was finally able to get some fluids into my ketone-ridden body. My blood glucose was over 900, and it was a few days before I felt relief in my body.
After 22 years, I’ve learned how to truly advocate for myself. Whether that be communicating to doctors that my needs differ from other patient’s needs, insisting on getting certain prescriptions written so that I can better my Diabetes management, or even speaking to bosses about making accommodations so that I may tend to my healthcare needs; this self-advocacy is something I encourage anyone living with T1D to continue doing!
Celebrate Black History Month!
In 2022, we must never let anyone hold us back because of our race, skin color, religion, T1D or any of the many aspects that make us who we are! T1D Exchange is excited to honor and celebrate our strong and tenacious black community.
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