I was diagnosed with type one diabetes July 7, 2012, when I was 10. As a kid I used to be the kind of person that lived with no hesitancy, and never let anything stop me from having fun, but all of my naiveté was reason for this. After my diagnosis, a lot of that changed. I became the type of person to avoid stepping outside of my comfort zones. I now often stray away from trying new things and exploring foreign experiences due to my fears. When new opportunities present themselves to me, I’ll find excuses anywhere that can help steer me away from doing new things. Ever since diagnosis it has transformed me and changed my life in so many ways.
Ironically, having diabetes has helped me leave my comfort zone and become a whole new person, as much as it has also made me hide and shelter myself more. This is one of the hardest things for me to stand in between within my life and type one diabetes. It was a hard obstacle to be in the middle when I heard about the ICD Panorama Cottage Getaway too. I remember I was sitting in my friend’s kitchen ranting to her, all the excuses as to why I shouldn’t go. I realized these excuses and fears have stopped me from living and doing new amazing things. This clicked for me and I decided I was going to force myself to leave my comfort zone and do it. So my mom and I paid for the trip, and it was final.
The whole week at school I was doubting the decision I had just made on a whim. I told myself impulse decisions were never my strong suit, and I was going to regret it. But once it was Saturday and I was in the car on the way, I had a feeling. Maybe anxiety or perhaps excitement, but it was a feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time. This was the feeling of leaving my comfort zone.
Sometimes as a diabetic, it’s easy to feel isolated and assume no one understands your day-to-day battles. That can be the most frustrating thing when you are living with a life-long disease. Something that truly helped me with this personal burden was to surround myself with people that understood me entirely. Panorama gave many others and myself the gift of relief to be understood.
The whole time I was in Panorama, I was a completely different person. I felt like I’d never met this side to myself. She was social, and left her comfort zone numerous times. She wasn’t afraid to laugh loudly and be herself. And the biggest strength she had, was the courage not to hide her diabetes. During the weekend the group of people all made efforts to make everyone feel welcome. We all talked about our diabetes and the sad, funny, and hard encounters we’ve all faced with it.
When I was on my way home from the trip, I felt this surge of inspiration to keep this side of myself I’d just met. In just 3 days they all made me feel like part of a family; they all made me adapt to a new routine of consistent and positive diabetes management. At first i can admit my bigger fear was going, but when the 3 days passed; my biggest fear was leaving.
Article by Sarah Woods