My Defining Decade

“If you can handle this disease, you can run a billion dollar company someday.”

That’s what my nurse practitioner told me ten years ago as I sat in her office a few days after my diagnosis with type one diabetes.

I thought it was just empty talk—something to make me feel better about the fact that my life had just been forever changed. But fast forward a decade—god, that sounds so crazy—and I realize she was absolutely right. (Looking back, I should’ve believed her right away…she was not the type to sweet talk.)

While I have no plans in the near future to become CEO of a major company, the sentiment behind what she told me rings truer than ever.

I’ll put it bluntly: this disease sucks. But for better or for worse, it has shaped me into the person I am today. And, I’d like to think it’s been for the better.

I’m resilient. I’m empathetic. I’m organized as hell.

Type one diabetes is a full time job in itself. There are no days off. In fact, there are no seconds off. I am constantly dealing with it one way or another: Planning. Calculating. Testing. Guessing. Correcting.

It is the most frustrating thing I have dealt with in my almost-26 years on this planet. And I deal with it 24/7.

I will continue to deal with it forever.

The thought of endless days—endless seconds—dealing with this disease is exhausting. It makes me want to crawl under my covers and cry.

But this disease has also taught me to embrace my life. They say you can’t truly appreciate light until you’ve experienced darkness. Well, I’ve experienced more than my share of darkness. And you know what?

The light is pretty darn bright.

Laughing with my friends as we sing to terrible 90’s songs in my car.

Hugging my parents tight and hearing how proud they are of me.

Ridiculous conversations with my brothers via text.

The butterflies I get when I’m talking to a boy I like.

The smell of old library books.

Wearing a fierce new pair of shoes.

This disease has taught me to appreciate the most seemingly insignificant moments.

Is every day great?

Hell. Effing. No.

But diabetes has also taught me that it’s ok to break down sometimes. It’s ok to silently scream at the universe that life isn’t fair. It’s ok that every once in a while, I don’t know how I’ll make it through.

What’s important is that I always do.

Based on statistics, my life will be quite a bit shorter than that of my peers…and the journey won’t be easy. Which is exactly why I try to live a life I’d be satisfied with if it ended tomorrow.

And I do it all while working an invisible full time job keeping myself alive on top of the rest of my life.

So about that CEO gig?

Now accepting offers.

 

Colorfully Yours,

Haley

 

 

 

 

 

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