By Grace Norsworthy
My hands were shaking with fear, my heart was beating a million times per minute. The fatigue, the sickness all went away in that moment of anticipation, that moment of finding out if my life was going to change forever. I worryingly looked at my GP as she said “you have type 1 diabetes”.
That sentence changed the course of my life forever.
The relationship I’ve had with diabetes hasn’t always been easy, in fact for the majority of the time I’ve had diabetes, I have despised it. I have hated my body. I have felt ashamed and I have tried to hide diabetes because I did not want it attached to me, attached to my body.
I was 12 when I was diagnosed with T1D. At 12, you’re worried about high school, welcoming puberty and getting the latest edition of Girlfriend magazine. Now, I had a whole new thing to worry about and that thing was keeping myself alive, the relentless injecting, finger pricks and mind numbing carb calculations. I had to worry about so many things that most teenagers did not have to worry about and that instantly made me feel so different from everyone else.
The constant pricking and injecting made me feel like a human pin cushion.
When I did prick or inject in front of my peers the majority of the comments were “ew” and “I feel nauseous”. This just made me feel like a gross, un-human being … these things I needed to do to keep myself alive actually made people feel sick. In turn, it made me feel bad about my body, about the fact it would never be cute, or I would never be ‘pretty enough’ because I was always going to have this illness attached to me.
I felt this way for years and years.
It was not until after high school I started to realise all the differences we have in life, some big and some small. I sat down one day and realised the sheer amount of strength and magic it takes for me to keep this beautiful body alive. The fact that I can get up everyday and keep myself alive, that I have access to life saving medication, is pretty amazing. It was not until I started to accept diabetes as being apart of my life that I realised how strong, empowering and sexy that truly is.
Our devices, our insulin injections, our finger pricks, they are part of us. They are constant reminders of the strength and endurance we have.
We are a walking miracle - and we shouldn’t hate our bodies for that! We should give them a warm welcoming hug.
We get the choice to reclaim our diabetes and they way we perceive it.
Who cares about what other people say. You are not ‘ugly’. You are not meant to be hidden away from society. You are meant to shine, baby! We can be cute, we can be sexy, we can be whatever the hell we want to be. No illness is going to stop you shining unless you let it.
I wasted years of my life pushing away my diabetes and the notion that I could be cute and chronic.
I don’t want you to make the same mistake. It’s time to embrace those insulin bumps, the bruises from the pumps, the cute CGM you’re rocking, because it’s all part of you, of your journey, and part of what keeps your beautiful body going.
It’s time to stand up to the stigma. You have always been, and always will be, cute and chronic!