Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The first time I fainted I was five years old. I was in the bathroom with my mom and she was helping me pull a tooth that should have been pulled days ago. I was a small, scared child. I remember waking up with my mom holding me in a panic. I wish I could say this was the last time this happened.

Again, when I was nine years old I was at the doctor's office. I wasn't gaining weight, was very small for my age, and was constantly hungry. The Dr. wanted to run labs on me to figure out what was wrong. They were taking blood for the test to see if I had type 1 diabetes (ten years before I was actually diagnosed) and I seized and fainted in the floor.

This has happened so many times in my life that I cannot even count. Clearly, I have a fear of needles and blood. A fear that causes me to seize and faint.

When I was diagnosed, I was pretty incoherent and in DKA. When the Emergency Room Dr. told me, "you have type 1 diabetes," I knew what that meant. A lifetime of needles.

When the world tilts like this, what do you do?

You work through it. Or else you die.

These thoughts were clear in my foggy brain. I knew I had no choice.


From that moment on, I did not cry about it. I did not complain. When the nurse came in my room to let me administer my first shot, I just did it. My hand was shaking so bad I had to use my other hand to steady it. I eased the needle in so slowly, I am sure the nurse thought I was deranged. I pulled it out and looked up at my mom.

"I did it."

"I know," she said.

I cannot imagine the thoughts that were going through her mind at that moment. The one child she has that is squeamish and scared. The only one. This is the hand she is dealt.

Fast forward many years later, I check into the hospital for a cesarean. I am brave. I do not complain, though I am terrified. The world tilts again, but I am all right. I did what I needed to do to bring a new life into the world. You work through it. You survive.

I am stronger for it.


Scott K. Johnson said...

I'm constantly impressed with the bravery shown by people living with diabetes. It's all really amazing, isn't it?

LRM said...

I am still afraid of needles after 47 years of having juvenile onset (type 1) diabetes. People tell me I can't be. Well I am. I don't like anyone else giving me injections because I do a better job. I've given myself shots longer than most people I know.

Anonymous said...

Wanted to share with you. Nearly 2,000 signatures in under 2 weeks - We are moms of Type 1 children who have filed a petition to revise the names of both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes to more accurately reflect the nature of each disease. We tried to do this in a way that benefits both the Type 1 and Type 2 communities. We sincerely hope that we have accomplished our goal to make this petition benefit all of us. Please click on the link below to view our petition on change.org and please read it in its entirety before passing any judgement.
We respect your opinion if you choose not to support the petition. We apologize if we have offended anyone in any way with the language or purpose expressed in our petition. We truly tried to look at our petition from the position of all within the diabetes community and it was certainly not our intent to dismiss anyone's feelings or needs. We thank supporters, and non-supporter alike, in advance for taking the time to read and consider our petition.
Thank you,
Jeanette Collier & Jamie Perez