The Doctor asked, “What do you think it is?”
It was October 16th, 2008. My Mom had taken me to the Doctors office to see what could be causing my extreme, never ending thirst. At first, Mom thought it was because the weather was so warm. As the days cooled down, and the days got shorter, she noticed that I had been drinking even more than usual.
My Mom sighed, and her answer to the question was that she was afraid it was diabetes. Then came the hard part. Dr. Connell, the doctor who had been taking care of my family for years, and who in fact delivered me, had to tell us that my mom was right. I did have diabetes. She called the IWK and told us they would be waiting for in Emergency.
We went outside and caught the next bus going to the IWK. It was cold outside, and my hands were like ice. When we walked into the emergency room, a nurse told us to take a number and to wait. The ER was warm, and smelled like hand sanitizer and that weird hospital cleanser they clean the floor with. Looking around, I noticed people in worse situations than me. Some people had a broken leg, or arm. Others had serious cases of the flu, coughing so hard they couldn’t breathe. The difference between those people and me was that, they seemed to be in a lot of pain, so I stopped pitying myself so much.Our number was called, and a nurse in yellow scrubs took my blood pressure, heart rate, and pricked my finger with a painful needle. It hurt a little when she massaged my finger until enough blood came out to fill 3 small vials, and then put a bandage on it. Soon an emergency room doctor came in, and told me that having diabetes was not the end of the world. He told me about the famous people and lifesaving surgeons that have diabetes. He said that diabetes won’t get in the way of anything if I don’t let it.
I wasn’t just diagnosed with diabetes that day. I was also diagnosed with hypothyroid disease, a disease that is very common with diabetes. It is when your thyroid (an organ in your throat that helps metabolize your food) is underactive. It leads to being overweight, and pills are used to treat it.
The day I was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes was the day I decided to find a cure.
I needed to start with taking control of my diagnoses. There was a lot to learn, and managing a strict mealtime schedule, along with reading every nutrition label, testing and recording my blood glucose levels and making adjustment to my insulin doses was very time consuming. This was my mom’s job. There were lots of nights when my parents did not get a lot of sleep – there still are. The thing about diabetes is that it does not shut off when I go to bed. My mom and dad make sure that I am “safe” while I sleep at night, and I will not usually know unless they wake me for what my dad likes to call my “midnight feast” (juice and a granola bar).
Eight months after being diagnosed “Megan’s Team” participated in JDRF’s Telus Walk. Nine moths after I was diagnosed I went to Camp Lion Maxwell with 70 other diabetic kids, and started doing my own injections from then on. I have gotten a group of kids from my school to do a car wash, and have a bake sale to help raise money. I have been a youth ambassador for the telus walk and for JDRF’s “Ride to Cure Diabetes”. This year I am on the Maritime Team, with my dad, for Cyclebetes – which is a national bike relay from Vancouver to Halifax. My team will bike from Quebec City to Halifax.
I am achieving my goals. We manage very good controls on my blood glucose, and I am now on an insulin pump. I am doing everything I can to spread the word about diabetes, and to ask for help in funding the research that will one day mean I will no longer be Megan Beamish - who has Type 1 diabetes, but instead I will be Megan Beamish – who has a miraculous story to tell.
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