My name is David Chabarria and I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes in August 2010. At the time, I was 12 years old and had just started seventh grade. As difficult as going through puberty can be with “healthy” children, adding a life-changing diagnosis can make things even more complicated. The previous summer, I experienced all the typical symptoms: excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, etc. At the time, my parents were not concerned as I was a “growing boy,” where hormones and growing up were all intermingled with my diabetes developing within me. Any potential concern for my health was shielded by the guise of what seemed to be normal growing pains.
The very first week of school, I found myself getting into trouble asking to go to the bathroom every day, for every class. With new teachers who didn’t know me, or that I was an excellent, well-behaved student, they assumed I was simply skipping class. Little did they know a cruel illness was demanding me to miss class. The first Thursday of the school year, my older brother had his first freshman football game, and even some of my extended family came to visit us, ready to celebrate the new school year.
Before the game, we went to a restaurant, where I, of course, overindulged, as is normal for an excited 12-year-old, and ate a cheeseburger and fries, with a large sprite, and followed by a chocolate milkshake. After arriving to the game, I bought my usual sprite and skittles. I’m sure my blood sugar was sky high, as I went to the bathroom about four times throughout the game, once after the game, once before we left, and then raced to the bathroom when we got home. Right before bed, I went to the bathroom again, and then woke up at midnight to go to the bathroom, and then still managed to wet the bed that night. I had not wet the bed for several years prior to this incident, which finally alarmed my parents.
The next day, unbeknownst to me, my father made a doctor’s appointment where I first had my blood sugar tested, after not having eaten all night and all day (this was prior to lunch), showing that I was over 300. Immediately, I was referred to a pediatric endocrinologist who later confirmed my diagnosis as a diabetic.
Almost 9 years later, I am still managing the disease, having to deal with both the good and the bad of the illness. Growing up with it from adolescence to now has taught me how to take care of myself, be more conscious of my lifestyle, how to listen to my body, and how to love it unconditionally. Sometimes it presents obstacles that seem unfair, but it makes me stronger and appreciate the life I have. It’s a long journey, so let’s make it a fun one.