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At FFL, I Belonged

I always take a pause when someone asks for my “diabetes story.”

I wasn’t very aware of my diagnosis, I was so young. Though I do have some memories – a cold hospital room, the Disney Channel playing on the small television screen, and steel hospital bed with gates. I remember pretending I was a lion trapped in a cage. I felt that way for most of my childhood – diabetes was something I had to cage. I had to hide. In elementary school my insulin pump had to be hidden in my uniform. I remember my mother cutting and sewing in places to clip my pump to the inside of my jumper. If I went low during dance class, I had to sit away from all of the other dancers. They couldn’t sit with me while I checked and treated my blood sugars. Diabetes was always something to hide away. It wasn’t something to be proud of. Except for one week out of the summer – the Friends for Life Conference. There were insulin pumps everywhere. I had friends to sit with when I went low. I felt included. I belonged.

I am so grateful for the sense of empowerment that came from attending the Children With Diabetes conferences. I learned how to become a better advocate for myself. I learned how to welcome diabetes into my every day life. I started treating for lows, publicly, in the dance studio. I started to wear my insulin pump on the outside of my jumper. Diabetes will always be there. It will always be a part of me, and I needed to learn how to take control of my life. I took ownership of my situation. I took ownership of my diabetes. I let that little lion that was caged up in the cold hospital room free. I let her be the person she deserved to be, despite diabetes.

My “diabetes story” is always hard to share, because it was internalized for so many years. But I am so grateful to the diabetes community for helping me to free that lion. I am beyond grateful I have the opportunity now to help others gain that confidence, and take ownership of their diabetes. Diabetes can be hard, but we don’t have to do it alone.

Today I am a performer. I am an artistic producer. I am a dog mom. And, most importantly, I am a confident person living with Type One Diabetes.


Do you have a story to share about your experiences with diabetes? We want to hear from you! Tell us your story using the form below and we'll consider it for inclusion in the CWD Stories section of our website.