I wasn't really sure where to post this to be perfectly honest, but I fugured since this is where the most traffic is, I thought this might be a good spot. Also, I thought thought that some parents would like to see the perspective of an older teen with diabetes who was dxd when she was 14. I figured it's worth a shot. Its not perfect, and criticism is welcome. I am thinking about turning it into an essay for scholarships for my sophmore year of college (this coming fall) and if I did that I would add more info about diabetes (this, as it is written now, is more directed toward people who understand/live with it), and change some things, but, anyway, here it is. I know it's long, but if you have a few minutes, I'd love to hear what you have to say. Living with diabetes is rough. Anyone living with the disease knows this; anyone close to a person with diabetes knows this. You; if you're reading this, you probably know exactly what I mean. My four year anniversary of having diabetes passed a little over a month ago. It's hard to believe that it has been that lone already; so much can happen in that amount of time. I can remember the day of my diagnosis with type one diabetes, and the first few weeks so clearly. I was 14 years old, and it was a Tuesday. I was a freshman in high school and it was the second day of midterms. I remember being so sick that I could barely walk without feeling as if my legs would give out from beneath me. I remember begging my mom to bring me to the pediatrician as soon as possible; before the 12pm appointment that she had open that day, as I sat at the bottom of the stairs, crying, unable to explain to her what exactly was wrong; how I felt was beyond what words could explain. I remember my pediatrician and my mom telling me that I could get help for my problem because they'd thought I had an eating disorder due to my drastic weightloss. And I remember my pediatrician walking into the exam room, apologizing to me and then saying "Malyssa, you have diabetes. You need to go to the hospital, now." And I remember my mom sitting to the left of me in a chair next to the exam table, bursting out into tears, and how I started to cry when I saw how upset she was. And so my journey with diabetes began. I remember my first blood sugar in the ER; 720 mg/dL. I remember the nurse talking to me about Uggs as she struggled to put an IV into my arm. I remember being transported by ambulance to the pediatric ICU of another hospital about an hour away from home. And I remember having my blood sugar tested every hour or two for the rest of the day/night. I remember my first insulin injection the next morning, and how I freaked out because of my fear of shots. I also remember meeting my first CDE the day after I was diagnosed; the woman who had inspired me to be what I wish to become today, how she taught me how to test my blood sugar with the "cute" new meters she'd brought for me. I also remember leaving the hospital after three long days, with a new set of "instructions" on how I'd have to live my life from that day foward. I left with new skills, like how to count carbohydrates, how to fill a syringe with insulin, and how before you filled the syringe you had to pressurize the vial. I learned how to use a blood glucose meter, how you had to code the meter to match the vial of test strips, I learned how to give an injection. I also left with a new vocabulary; insulin, type one diabetes, a1c, blood sugar, meter, lancet, lancing device, test strips, correction factor, insulin to carb ratio, ketones...things that a 14 year old, or anyone for that matter, should never need to know about. I remember the first few weeks as well. My first day back to school after being diagnosed, and how scared I was because I was "on my own." I remember the strict carb restrictions, the timed insulin injections, mixing the cloudy and clear insulin, the sliding scale for a correction if my blood sugar was over 200. I remember the first time I gave myself a shot of insulin, something I'd never thought I could do, or have to do. Through these past four years, I've been through a lot. My family has been through a lot. Five months after my diagnosis with diabetes, my dad was diagnosed with Leukemia, the day after I started pumping. My mom was with my dad at the hospital most days, and I'd stay home with my sisters or other family members, and I remember how this taught me to be independent in my diabetes care. My junior year of high school I faced a horrible bout of anxiety, one that kept me out of school for almost a year. I remember not being able to even drive past my high school without having a panic attack that year, and how when I went through the process of desensitization, how my blood sugars would more often than not shoot up well into the 400+ range. But with counseling and my stubborn personality, I got back to school my junior year, for the last two months, and I went back without flaw for my senior year. I remember my graduation day in June 2009. I remember thinking to myself "I made it, even after all the hardships I'd been through, I made it," after being handed my diploma. And I remember that even though the four years of high school were no doubt the hardest years of my life, I got through it. And, I know that I am a stronger person because of it. So as I sit here in my dorm, four years later and write this, I am still amazed at how much I've grown, how far I have come. If you had asked me four years ago where I'd be now, I probably wouldn't know what to tell you, and I know I would have never imagined that I'd be anywhere near where I am today. I have went from a little 14 year old girl in a hospital bed thinking that my diagnosis with type one diabetes was the end of the world, to a 19 year old college freshman with a 4.0, a biology major with hopes of persuing a carreer in endocrinology. Sure there has been many HIGHS, and some pretty nasty lows in between then and now. There has been an a1c in the 10's when I was so sick of diabetes that I tried to ignore it. And there has been times where I've felt like giving up. And yes, there are still days when I just don't want to deal with diabetes. Yes, there are times when my blood sugar is through the roof, but I still go to class and sit through the two hour lecture trying my hardest to concentrate despite the high blood sugar, hoping that the correction will bring me down by the end of the class. Yes there are times when my pump will start alarming in the middle of class and I'll have to leave in order to take care of it. Yes, there has been times when my blood sugar has gone low during a class and I get nothing out of the class because of it. And yes, there has been a few times when I've needed help, and I've realized that it's ok to ask for help...sometimes you just need to, and there is nothing wrong with that. I've realized that there is nothing to be embarassed about if you have to get up and leave to take care of your diabetes. There are still highs and lows, and they still happen at the worst moments sometimes. Diabetes is always with me, everywhere I go...and it has been for the past four years. Four years ago, I would have never thought I'd be sitting here in college, in a dorm. During my struggle with anxiety I never even thought I'd go back to school. I never thought I'd be able to live a normal life with diabetes. Yet I'm here, proving myself wrong with every day that I wake up, every class I attend, every high, and every low that I am faced with. I've realized that diabetes is not a death sentence, but a lifestyle, and everyone has a different lifestyle. Sure, my life might take a little bit more day to day planning and thinking ahead, but I've learned to live with it. Sure, I would love to have a cure some day, and I have nothing but hope that one day I, and everyone else living with this disease will have that cure. But until then, I've accepted diabetes, and the challenge that it has brought with it. And you know what? I'm winning.