Time is of the essence. Why am I talking about diabetes? I am young and full of life, still in my 20s and I have my whole life ahead of me. I have realized we Africans shy away from sharing our problems. So we stew and suffer in silence alone. Yet as a group suffering from the same issue, we can search for solutions together. And being many, the efforts have more profound impact. 🙂 So I’m done keeping quiet. My story will encourage another. And then another. So for all those people who need to not feel alone, and they are countless, my story might encourage some and maybe shake out a few more sharers too. The more we share, the more we impact. The world over is celebrating today and gaining awareness, or at least they should be, it is #WorldDiabetesDay! 14th November of every year.
It rained that day. It was a grey day when I received my diagnosis. I was still in boarding school at the time. I was happy to learn that I had diabetes because I finally knew what caused all the exhausting symptoms that barraged me so suddenly. I finally had an answer to the harrowing questions that vexed me to no end. Everyone felt sorry for me, but when I got the diagnosis, I felt neither good nor bad. I was just grateful that I had an answer to the mystery of my illness and I finally had medication, though it was the wrong medication. The doctor did not give me any information about the illness so really, I had nothing to fear due to my ignorance.
My ignorance about my own condition has cost me so much in my short life so far. I wrongfully thought all my problems had been fixed. The doctor had given me tablets to swallow twice a day and sent me back to school. I finally had relief. “Medicine is a wonder!” I thought. I was grateful. That was 12 years ago. I had no idea what lay ahead of me. I was a budding teenager who had diabetes. No further information was provided. I did not know what type, or the importance of a few seconds that determine whether you live or die depending on how fast you can stabilize your own blood sugar when it shoots too high or too low.
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is an overwhelming burden I bear that sometimes seems too heavy for my slender shoulders. If I could describe what living with T1D has been like, I’d use words like challenging, entrapping, frustrating, burdensome, mind boggling, difficult, exhausting, and overwhelming. This illness is chronic and it has introduced me to so many complex emotions such as anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, sadness, guilt, #depression, loneliness and heartache. I have wished countless times for a chance to off load it somewhere for just a few minutes of freedom but sadly, that’s not possible.
Every day, I choose life. I choose me. I choose happiness. Sometimes I fail, but other times, fate smiles down on me. My diabetes has pushed me to work harder to accomplish things that I probably would have taken for granted. It has also helped me better appreciate my friends, family and loved ones for their strength, loyalty and love. For all the people that have stood by me, I applaud you. Thank you!
Everyone’s diagnosis is different. But they should be educated and given the necessary tools to live their best life. Countless scientists are working on several ideas for cures but in the meantime, we live, we love, we pray, we try harder and we try to stay hopeful. We choose to live through our struggle. <3
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