Just One Word
What if you were asked to illustrate in one word why you are who you are? Would you use a noun, an adjective or maybe even a verb? Is there one thing in your life without question, that has been an underlying reason for your personhood today?
When I was 14 years old, I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. A diagnosis which was actually greeted with cheers from my parents that I heard sitting behind a hospital curtain. If you know me or are lucky enough to have met my parents, that may not come as a surprise (the Rosenthal clan has been deemed serial optimists).
Since that day, August 14, 2008, I could tell you about the struggles that diabetes has bestowed upon me and my fellow People with Diabetes (PWDs). I could use the JDRF Footprint to try and quantify what my life is like for those who don't know firsthand what T1D means…
- 4,373 days living with T1D
- 2,493 hours of sleep lost
- 26,238 finger pokes
- 331 insulin pump site changes
- 15,315 injections
I could tell you of the mental and physical turmoil living a life that has margins placed on its existence is.
I could tell you about the planning and forethought that goes into every choice I make because of the worst-case scenario that is a constant in our minds. I could tell you of the years of adolescence I may have lost because teenagers' minds are more accustomed to choosing their high school crush, rather than to check if a 250 BG is worth analyzing and correcting.
I could tell you of the family, friends and relationships that have taken a toll because of this disease that they never asked to be a part of.
OR, I could tell you of the person I am proud to have become, because of this disease.
- The Type 1 that has found empathy with others that struggle with situations out of their control.
- The T1 that does not see any challenge as unconquerable, because she does Not. Give. Up.
- The T1 that found a career helping others with the same condition, and goes to sleep each night knowing she's changed a few lives.
- The T1 that understands the value of taking care of yourself.
- The T1 that views frustrations as opportunities to grow.
This T1, me, a PWD, is proud, stronger, and an ongoing progress because of the wonderful, horrible, gut wrenching, incessant disease: type one diabetes.
Diabetes - My one word to explain why I am who I am and have become.
And MY diabetes has made me the version of myself that I could not be more proud of to present to you today. When we can learn to be grateful for the difficulties life presents us with, that is where true happiness lies.
Written by Gabe Rosenthal