Meet Caitlin

CaitlinI always assumed that change occurred when you moved to a new town or when you lost someone close to you.  But now I realise it can just happen overnight when your brain determines it’s time to do something different. People reject this change and try to fight it. The people we love, love us so much that they want us to remain the way we are forever.I experienced an irreversible fortune that was both common and catastrophic. But being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes taught me that no matter what hardships may befall you, any problem can be overcome with your family beside you.

I first noticed something was wrong with me a few weeks before my mock exams; I was excessively thirsty drinking almost 15-20 litres a day, always tired and weak with frequent mood swings. I wasn’t eating, and when I did it came back up. I was so exhausted that I could hardly get myself from my bed to the door. I sat through mock exams with barely any vision and no sleep the night before. When my mom took me to the doctor, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I was completely and indescribably shocked, but so relieved to know that I wouldn’t feel so weak and helpless anymore. I had little understanding as to what diabetes was and everything that came with it but why ME?

When I left hospital, I realised I was going to have to grow up and deal with the realities of my condition. Type 1 diabetes does not discriminate; male or female, young or old, any race or nationality. Anyone can be at risk. I also learned that in order to stay alive, I would have to test my blood glucose levels several times daily, ount every single gram of carbohydrates I ingested, and take regular injections of insulin.
I was scared. I was uncertain about what the future held for me, and so was my family. But one of the best life lessons I learnt from my diabetes, was to accept things as they are. Dwelling on things that cannot be changed will drive someone crazy. I decided to change to meet the needs of my condition. I walked in the hospital a sick child and I walked out of the hospital an insightful young adult. Initially, the social pressure brought on by feeling different was difficult for me.

When returning to school, I was afraid that other kids would start to treat me different. I feared funny looks and pity parties, so I took every precaution to keep my diabetes masked. I have discovered that most people are very interested and compassionate about my diabetes. I have learned that those who are not accepting of my condition are not worthy of a friendship. Finally, I have learnt to cope with what life has given me. I have chosen to take control of my life and accept it.

Diabetes has taught me that when life gives you sugar make damn sure not to eat it! I make a conscious effort to avoid hiding behind my diabetes. I have learned to take care of myself and manage my condition.

As a result of this illness,I am more responsible, and educated about life.
I do get frustrated with the never ending challenges of my condition.
However, as a result of dealing with my problems and differences, I have developed empathy for others and their challenges. Diabetes has changed my whole life. I accept everyone for who they are because I would want the same for me.