By Ana Morales
This summer, I enrolled in a 5-week online class to lighten my load during the school year. It was a 3-credit health class that basically focused on individual and community wellness and I enjoyed it for the most part and did really well. However, I frequently felt sad, upset, and scared as I read the book, which might seem weird, or maybe that’s normal for someone in my situation, I don’t know. I mean, as a Type 1 diabetic, I know what other health problems I’m at risk for, but something about the combination of the rapid pace, subject, and timing of the class temporarily overwhelmed me.
I was diagnosed when I was 3, and I remember that when I was in elementary school and even middle school, I never really understood the complications of diabetes besides the immediate or near future ones. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned this disease we have affects our whole body and puts us at a higher risk for what seems like every other health problem. That’s a really scary thought and you’d think it would be a big enough reason to not mess around…
The past few years though, I admit I’ve struggled with diabetes more than at any other point in my life. It’s definitely not pleasant at all, and as an extremely emotional person it has taken quite a toll on me, and the ones close to me are witnesses. The book I read for my health class seemed to go on and on about all the things that could go wrong with me because of diabetes and it almost made me feel hopeless sometimes because it just seems impossible to avoid those things… I even read about how gum disease is an early complication of diabetes and then a few days later at my dentist appointment, my dentist told me my gums need to be healthier because I’m already at a higher risk for gum disease. Sigh..I just can’t escape it.
Fortunately for me, I have a sister who is in the same boat as me and is great at sharing info and being optimistic, a supportive family that puts my health first, and a wonderful boyfriend who took the initiative to learn about diabetes himself and never makes me feel ashamed of dealing with the disease. I know it could be so much worse and that’s what I try to remind myself of when I start to feel pessimistic. The fact that we don’t give up hope shows just how strong we are, because it takes a lot of effort to keep trying, especially with a disease that never takes a break. I wish more people acknowledged that, or even knew it. But all we can do for now is patiently educate them and hope for the best. And if today happens to be one of those pessimistic days for you, remember who or what you have that makes your life worth living, and progress from there :]