For most teenage girls high school is a time to let go of responsibility, eat anything while your metabolism is fast, and just be free. But for junior Megan Cole, high school, and the past 12 years, have been a different story.
“I was diagnosed with type one diabetes on Jul. 15, 2002 when I was five years old and have had it for almost 12 years,” said Cole. This diagnosis has changed the rest of her life.
“I’ve had diabetes longer than I haven’t had it so it’s difficult to tell you just how life changing it is,” said Cole, “my family had to learn several new things—carb counting, insulin ratios, emergency situations, etc.” Even though she knows all of the ins and outs, Cole sometimes feels like the odd man out.
“There are some days I feel like the elephant in the room when I compare myself to other kids at school. I have a life threatening disease that gives me an immense amount of responsibility. But if I think about it, diabetes is my life and it has given me many opportunities to grow stronger,” said Cole.
As you can imagine, some days dealing with her disease are easier than others.
“There have been times when I thought giving up and not taking care of myself would make it go away. It only made me deathly ill,” said Cole.
Though there are rough times, having a life-long disease does come with a few perks.
“In middle school I used a low blood sugar to get my friend and I out of science class. Instead of learning we sat in the nurses office and ate skittles and drank juice until I magically got better at the end of class,” said Cole.
Cole is also reminded not only of the memories, but of the fact that she is not alone.
“My advice? I know nothing seems like it could get any harder, but it could be so much worse. Those days where you feel sick and alone remember that you are nowhere close. You are courageous, strong, and will fight this battle. Diabetes isn’t a title or what defines you, but gives you a reason to be a warrior. I suggest you boast about your strength!” said Cole.
Cole’s family is also very supportive on a personal level.
“My cousin Blake and I were diagnosed with type one just four months apart. We are the only ones in our family to have type one so we can only truly relate to each other. We mean it when we say ‘I know how you feel.’ He is my best friend and my rock when it comes to diabetes,” said Cole.
Cole and her cousin are not the only ones out there fighting the battle of diabetes.
“When I was 11 years old I was obsessed with the Jonas Brothers. Nick Jonas was diagnosed with type one after I had had it for 6 years. Nick and his ‘crew’ contacted my doctor’s office to find a diabetic patient who would want to see the show with meet and greet passes and floor seats. I was in Minnesota at the time of the concert but I wasn’t going to miss it for anything. I flew back to Colorado for a day and met the Jonas Brothers. I’ll never forget it,” said Cole.