My Story: Why You Probably Didn’t Know That I Have Diabetes

“Tell me something unique about yourself”

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Well, where do I begin!? My name is Ariana. Hello. I own a pug. Her name is Mazie. She is my queen. My favorite thing to do is yoga, and I spend all of my money on plants.  Oh, also I am a type 1 diabetic.

When I was just a wee tot in the 4th grade, my life changed drastically. I started drinking lots of water, I lost a lot of weight, and my parents began to worry about what was going on. After a quick trip and finger prick at the doctor’s office, I was rushed to the hospital with absolutely no idea what was happening. My blood sugar was in the 600s that day, which wasn’t horrible considering a lot of kids go in with sugars in the thousands. All I really remember was the nurse coming into my hospital room every hour to prick my finger and thinking that was really pointless. I spent 4 days at the hospital the week before Thanksgiving 2003. I refused to eat anything from the hospital cafeteria except chicken nuggets, I practiced giving a fake bear insulin shots (which were fun at first but the bear began to smell weird after a while), and I tried to wrap my small child brain around what was happening to my body.

After a million lessons on carb counting, injecting insulin, and the doctor telling me that I can still eat KFC popcorn chicken after I asked him approximately once per day during my stay, we finally went home and I started my lifelong journey as a type 1 diabetic.

Fast forward 15 years and here I am living my best life.

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Being a diabetic has never been something I consistently shared with the world, especially online. Not because I didn’t want people to know, but because it’s not the first thing I wanted people to associate me with. Diabetes, for the most part, gets a pretty bad rap. The general public’s perception when they hear the word ‘diabetes’ is most likely based on an infomercial that looked like it was made in 1991 with Wilford Brimley pronouncing it “Diabetus”. I felt like it was just some weird disease that is only associated with the elderly or overweight. The only way I could see myself as “normal” was to not put my diabetes on display for the outside world, but surprise surprise, I’ve always been “normal” and I’ve always been ME.

After 14 years of experience, I’m proud of the person I have become while dealing with my diabetes day in and day out. I’ve come to the understanding that it is something that does not define who I am but is something that is a large part of my life. My trendy disease has been with me through puberty, relationships, and becoming an adult. I’ve encountered new friendships, awkward moments, years of personal growth and understanding my own body. I want to share with you things I’ve learned, thoughts I’ve had, and grow an online space to connect with those of us who share this unique characteristic.

I hope you will stick with me while I babble on about things you may or may not find familiar. I am no expert on anything. These are my stories, my experiences, and what many years of a broken pancreas have taught me along the way.

– Ariana

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