I am a normal college student. I have the same anxieties about school, work, and my extracurricular activities as any other kid my age. I still wait till the last minute to start my homework, and cram study just hours before my exam. However, to the people who do not know me I am not normal. People see me take a small needle out and inject a clear liquid into my stomach every time I eat. Normally when people have a sudden craving for rocky road ice cream or chocolate chip cookies they can have those things without consequence. But for me, those things are out of the question, unless I want to have a sugar reading of three hundred, or more. At the age of eighteen I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and that makes me different, but I am still normal. Diabetes is not a disease, but rather a lifestyle change. Just because I cannot eat the same things as others does not make me different. Judging me any less than normal is wrong and unfair.
I was at a restaurant recently and the waitress came over to the table to check up on us. She noticed my used needle on the table and her face went from smiling to a look of concern. She asked what that was, and I told her I had diabetes and that I used the needle to take insulin. She looked shocked and disgusted at me and even said that I was too young to have diabetes. Only five minutes ago she was friendly and bubbly, but now was scared to serve me. I was surprised at first by how this woman could act around me now, and how she could completely change her attitude. But the truth is, is that this is a common occurrence when people realize that I have diabetes.
At first when I saw her reaction I was angry. I wanted to yell at her not to look at me different, but rather look at me like she did everybody else in the restaurant. When I really thought about it though, I realized that I should not be angry at her at all. I should not be angry at anybody who looked at me different when they saw me inject myself with insulin. Having diabetes gives me the opportunity to show everyone that although I do have diabetes, I am just like them. And even though I have to inject insulin to eat all the same things as them, I am still normal.
Diabetes has forever changed my life, and shaped the way that I live my life. I have learned to adapt with the changes that come with diabetes. The word disease makes it sound as if people with diabetes are sick and dying but that is not the case. I live my life the same way that any other person my age does, the only difference is I do not eat that cookie for dessert or munch on the pizza that other college kids live off of. Instead, I eat the things that I know will help me stay healthy, and resist the craving for ice cream.
Normal is something that I know does not sound as great to others as it does to me, but I feel like I deserve to be looked upon that way. Even just a look from a waitress can make me second guess myself and question whether or not diabetes does make me different. I have learned that what makes me different is what makes me unique. Much like hair or eye color makes each and every individual unique from one another. This I believe.
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