Tale 3 : The Grown-up Teenager
Being a teenager is DIFFICULT! Being a teenager with diabetes is CRAZY!!!
The daily insulin shots, glucose monitoring and always thinking about eating right is completely draining and tiring. Add some teenage hormone cocktail to it and life becomes a massive confusion. I was your normal 13 year old whose life revolved around exam pressures, crushes, and gossip with girlfriends. The only difference was that during lunch breaks I had to first go to the girls room and take my insulin injections.
Just four months after my diagnosis and stint in the ER, I was up on my feet and ready to take on the world. I was selected in the school drama team to be a part of the Street Play Competetion at a national cultural festival in Delhi. You can't imagine my excitement after such a glum past few months.
My parents were excited too, but there was a tinge of worry about my diet and injections. Going for a long trip outstation, meant that the school was to be informed about my condition. Mom gave me a letter disclosing my condition and some other information detailing diet requirements and administering emergency insulin shots. I was supposed to hand it over to the teacher in charge of taking us to Delhi.
Guess what? That letter never found it's way to the school. ;) I was worried that they wouldn't take me at all after knowing that I had a condition which could require emergency care-taking. And, I was too embarrassed to let my school and friends know that I was different. The only problem with this secret of mine was that, if I ever had low blood sugars and fell unconscious, or even worse; if I went into a coma, I had no one to go to for help.
I didn't care at that time and to tell you the truth, I risked my life big-time by lying. I went to Delhi, played my part with great zeal in the drama and came back home. No low blood sugars. No coma.
But, if a teenager asked me now, I would beg her to never do what I did. I would tell her to be proud of her diabetes, that in spite of everything, she's doing the best that anyone could do at that age in their life. She doesn't need to grow up before her time and needs to own her life with a big smile and a big heart.
Because, you see, we are all doing the best we can do at that given time in our lives. A child with diabetes should not be discouraged to go out in the world and do great things. And more than that, she doesn't need to be embarrassed about a condition that is not her fault at all.
Everyone is fighting their own battle that we know nothing about. The best we can do in life is to let them know that they are not alone. :)