Now that I'm back from the most magical place on earth (aka Disney World) and finally almost recovered from my jet lag and post-Disney dysphoria, I figured it would be an appropriate time to actually introduce myself and give a little background to my diabetic past, present, and future.
I was diagnosed with type one diabetes exactly a year, a week, and a day after I was born--when I was just 13 months old. My mom likes to say that in those infant years, she "had diabetes for me." Over time as I grew, I learned more and more about how to manage the lifestyle I was born into. For me, I never knew life any other way. However, I definitely know about how hard the experience of remembering life before diabetes is. This is because I have a whole crowd of diabetic friends, which takes us into the next chapter of my journey.
When I was 3 years old my family started attending a summer camp for children with diabetes. By the time I was 7, I was all ready to go off on my own for the first time. And the rest is history. I grew up at that camp every summer, and fell more and more in love each time I went back. Eventually I worked there, and made my way through the years of counselor in training, to junior counselor, to senior counselor, to girls' unit leader. Leaving was the hardest thing I ever had to do. But from that experience I gained people in my life that I call family, and more importantly, people who I can go to for help and understanding when it comes to having diabetes. So my first bit of advice is that if you're a parent with a young child who has diabetes, diabetes camp is almost without a doubt a great idea.
Now, I'm a college student at Rutgers University, trying to get by like every other kid my age, except with a few more daily struggles and challenges. I live at school, which I know sometimes isn't considered an option for kids with diabetes. But it is one. It is more than possible, all it takes is some discipline and dedication. I try to stay active as much as possible. When I'm not too stressed about my midterms or too lazy to leave the TV and my roommates, I prefer to run or use the treadmill. I find running is great for stress, although it does take some extra effort to manage my blood sugars after a run. However, diabetes and exercise, like diabetes and most other things, requires both patience and extra effort.
That pretty much wraps up my experience so far. Stay tuned with my blog for upcoming advice on getting by college with diabetes; and other experiences, tips, and tricks to navigate through life in general with diabetes.