Today, on July 18th 2013- I arrive now, on my 16th birthday with an extra load- type one diabetes.
"When we found out we were having two girls we were absolutely over the moon"
That's what my mum told my sister and I earlier. I asked her yesterday "Mum, who's birthday is it tomorrow!?" and she said "My babies'!" I know my parents realise how fast my sister and I are growing up, my mum said it feels like yesterday that my sister and I were born- time goes by so fast and no one even notices until you look back and think "wow" In a way, I sort of don't actually want to grow up- I want everything to stay the way it is, I don't want to grow up because then everything changes around me and it's a frightening prospect.
My parents had absolutely no idea that 11 years later I would be diagnosed with Type one diabetes, but then again my parents probably never imagined that four years after that their daughter would be speaking to a room full of people in the house of commons for Diabetes UK. I have struggled, I have endured a life with diabetes and will continue to do so, but I will continue to overcome the challenges and try to make positives out of the negatives.
16 is the first "big" birthday of my life, I have 18 to come, 21 and all the rest after that and every single one of them I will cherish. Who doesn't cherish another year of life, though? But it's just, for me...looking back on the last four years of my life having had to adjust to a life with Type one diabetes, I feel quite proud of myself for reaching 16 virtually unscathed and living my life to the full. I endured two bouts of DKA in the past two years that threatened to stop me in my tracks. The nights spent crying in the bathroom because the ketones made me so uncomfortable, the time spent hooked up to a drip in a smelly hospital emergency room, the moments of low blood sugar that threaten to take my consciousness and more- I think about times like that and I am proud of what I have overcome, I am proud to have finally arrived at my 16th birthday still the same person that I was before diagnosis.
I remember the days before diabetes, pictures remind me of the "normal" child I once was- I see myself in old pictures and I am not wearing a pump, my fingers are not pricked, my stomach and legs aren't bruised from insulin injections. I am just a entirely normal little girl in every one of those photos. Then looking at a photo 12 or so years later, it is a different story- but not in an entirely bad way.
Going through old photos I see myself budding into a young lady, I see myself grow, in photos I still continue to flourish through the days after diagnosis and I am smiling all the way. I am still smiling, and you don't realise how strong you were until you look back and think...I was diagnosed with an incurable disease and I didn't even show it- I carried on with my life as best as I could.
16 years later I will happily pose next to my insulin pump for a photo, or show off my Diabetes UK shirt because I am proud. Yes, diabetes is an absolutely irritating thing to live with and it brings me struggles and challenges that none of my family or friends will hopefully ever have to endure- but if anyone had to live a life with type one diabetes; I would rather it be me than anyone else.
I am sixteen years old, I have type one diabetes. I'll deal with it. It's my life. It's unfair, sure I wish it would go away but I am fully aware of the fact that diabetes is with me for now and I can't change that, I can't change my reality- diabetes is my reality.
I know I've come far and I will go even further and one day, I will be an old lady and I know I will say "I'm 80, and I no longer have Type one diabetes"
Today on July 18th 2013, I am turning sixteen with Type one diabetes in tow but I'll be okay. It's okay. I can only keep my head held high and embrace all the support from my family and friends. For the years to come I will still be diabetic, but I will celebrate birthdays without type one diabetes, I'm sure of it.
Keep the faith.