Laws of My Life
I can't say that nothing bad has ever happened to me. That would be a complete lie. What I can say is that I always try to make the best out of every situation. I seek the brighter side. There would never be a rainbow if there was no rain.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 10. This put a lot of pressure on our family. Instead of just thinking about what to make for dinner, my mother had to think about what would give me the appropriate amount of carbohydrates. Instead of thinking about when I needed to be at soccer practice, suddenly I was thinking about when I needed an insulin shot.
Quite frankly, we didn't know what diabetes was—its symptoms and its risks. At the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, the first time my mom gave me a shot, she burst into tears. I saw my dad crying, too. I didn't quite understand. The shot didn't even hurt that bad! Why were they crying?
This brings me to my first law: You never know how brave you are until being brave is your only choice.
The average person with type 1 diabetes takes about 1,000 shots a year. That's more than almost anyone else would in a lifetime. I remember telling my dad one day after he gave me my shot, "Well, Dad, at least next time when I have to get a shot at the doctor, I won't be scared." He chuckled. "You're right, and then we can laugh at your brother!" We always try to have fun about my diabetes.
My second law: See the brighter side of things. You have one chance to have an amazing life! Don't let little things get you down.
When I was diagnosed, I thought, "What will my friends think?" But now I wouldn't have such a good outlook about my diabetes if it weren't for my friends. I'm really thankful for them. They want me to be healthy, but they don't judge me. I'm just me. And diabetes is part of what makes me, me.
Diabetes has let me meet other girls just like me at summer camp. It has given me many chances to speak at events as I've gone out and raised funds for diabetes research. Through this work, I've made a remarkable friend, Annette Richardson-Bienkowski. She has had diabetes for 54 years. The way Annette reaches out to others to teach about diabetes is truly inspiring. She helps me be a better person.
My final law: Help somebody every chance you get.
That first week at the medical center, my family and I were still in disbelief about my diagnosis. Noticing us, a teenage girl and her mother came over. Her mom said, "It gets better. I promise." Now, when I see a young child who was just diagnosed crying there, I push a smile through to say, "It gets better. I promise."
I believe that one day I'll be able to say that I used to have diabetes. But even if I am proved wrong, I know that diabetes won't stop me. It won't stop me or my outlook on life, for it is a part of me and always will be.
Kiley Flynn is a 15-year-old sophomore at Griswold (Conn.) High School. She plays sports all year long, including soccer, indoor track, and lacrosse.
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