Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Introducing...Captain Insulin!

Captain Insulin...a superhero, for sure!

This November, during Diabetes Awareness Month, I have had the pleasure of having a couple different D moms guest post here.  Today, I have another special treat.  I am so excited and feel priveleged to be able to share the perspective of a teenager, living with type 1 diabetes since the age of 5.  He is now a high school senior, very involved in sports and high school activities.  Recently, his thoughts have been turned to college.  Applications have been filled out and submitted.  What follows is Michael's personal statement as written by him...part of his college application process.  I am happy to introduce Michael, son to Melinda (@notsostilllifes) whose own guest post showed a mom's perspective on her son's experiences living with type 1.  Now, we get to hear from Michael! 

(Oh, and Captain Insulin?  Not too long ago, Mom shared Michael's Halloween costume...Captain Insulin!  It's I had to include it!)

On June 30, 1997, when I was only five years old, I was diagnosed with Type1 Insulin Dependent Diabetes.  At first, I was devastated.  It seemed like the worst thing that could ever happen to someone.  My days, once carefree, were now dominated by injections, finger pricks, and pain.  Food, instead of being something that I could enjoy, was now a chore because I was forced to count carbohydrates before I ate, and inject insulin accordingly.  I felt sorry for myself.  None of my peers could ever imagine what I went through on a daily basis.  It didn't seem fair.

Within a few years, however, I developed a completely new mindset about diabetes.  Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I now took it as a challenge that was presented to me, to see what kind of a person I really was.  I became determined to beat diabetes by always staying in control of it.  I was not going to let diabetes define who I was, but instead use it to show myself what I could become.
Over the years, I have adapted to life with diabetes.  The injections and finger pricks that used to haunt my thoughts are now just a part of everyday life.  Although I think about every bite of food that I eat, these thoughts are in the back of my mind, creating room for other important thoughts that average teenagers have.  Yes, I have diabetes, but that does not stop me from doing everything that my peers do.  I play competitive sports year-round, go to the beach, have wonderful friends, and keep my grades up in school.

I see now that diabetes has been the catalyst to make me work harder at everything I do.  What once limited me, or so I thought, has actually made me stronger.  Diabetes has made me tough, mentally as well as physically.  It has made me really appreciate hard work and what it takes to be successful.  Diabetes has also made me compassionate.  It has made me want to reach out to those meeting life's challenges head to head, just as I did, and give them love and support.  For example, last summer I worked as a coach at a soccer camp, and three diabetic children attended one of my sessions.  Soccer camp was the very first place their parents had left them alone, and felt comfortable enough to do so, because I was there to take care of them.

I am very aware of the medical complications that I may face later in life, regardless of how well I take care of myself, but this does not stop me from doing everything in my power to stay in control of my diabetes.  I thought diabetes was going to limit me, but I prove everyday that it doesn't.  I took a challenge many years ago, and I'm going to see it through until the end, because that's the person diabetes has helped me to become.

Michael, that is quite the statement!  Thank you for letting us post this.  Wow, what a great I hope my own daughter will have as she struggles yet grows strong because of type 1.  Thank you for that inspiration for type 1 kids everywhere...and for moms everywhere too! 

Is it any wonder after reading Melinda's post, that she would raise a young man such as this?  Thank you, Melinda!


  1. WOW!!! What a powerful message! Thanks Michael. I said it before and I will say it again... I wish you lived closer so that I could send Tristan to soccer camp/diabetes camp with you.

    I have never ever left Tristan at any type of event because of his diabetes. It would be nice to be able to leave him for while knowing that he's having fun.... and that he's safe!

    Keep up the great work Michael! I hope that you will be willing to help Tristan deal with everything as he grows older. :)

  2. Amazing. Thanks for sharing Michael.
    Very powerful words. You are an inspiration to Many.

    Melinda...yeah. Go you. ;-)

    Been loving these guest posts Nan!! Thank you!

  3. Thanks for sharing Michael. I am going to read this to my 8 year old son who has been asking me lately how come he has to have diabetes. I always tell him because God thinks you are courageous and strong. He can read your testament. Thanks again. Julie Bruechrt

  4. I have tears streaming down my face. I'm both proud and limitlessly impressed by Michael's perspective, strength and compassion. What a guy and I'm proud to say that he's my nephew. Love you Mike. Auntie Becky ; )

  5. Michael and Melinda,
    Thank you so much for reaching out to the DOC and sharing your experiences. It is invaluable to me to have your perspectives, as it is a peek into my and Caleb's future. One of the things I fear most is Caleb rebelling as he gets older and gains more and more control of his diabetes care. It is comforting to know that that doesn't have to be the case.

    Thank you for being the real life, tangible role models and points of reference for us, rather than leaving it to our imaginations. It is much easier to accept that success is achievable when we know there are real people who are doing it. I define success as managing blood sugar levels without letting it interfere with your quality of life. You are clearly attaining that.

    It's been almost three years and already I have had to turn some things over to Caleb. He has stepped up to the challenge and I am proud of him for that. At the same time, I know it isn't easy and that the day-to-day, nonstop, ever-changing demands that living with diabetes dictates have an impact emotionally. I applaud you both for handling those challenges with dignity.

  6. Thanks, Nan, for allowing Captain Insulin's words to be read. Thanks, too for the heartfelt comments he has received. He has read them over, and over, internalizing them I'm sure. I am so proud of Michael, and am glad to have people who "get it" to share it with. Happy THanksgiving to al
    ll of you.


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