By: Nick Gogel
It was the August before I started kindergarten when my life would change forever. I was four years old and my mom took me to 7-11 for my favorite treat, a Slurpee, before leaving me at my grandparents so she could go to work. She says as soon as I finished the sugary drink I started hysterically crying saying I didn’t want her to leave, which was completely out of character for me. She knew something was wrong and the next morning we went to the doctor who diagnosed me with type 1 diabetes.
The next obstacle I remember was the first “shot!” The only other time I had an injection was for a vaccine, which was the most painful thing I had ever experienced. So when the nurse came in with a needle, I left crying scared. Thank God my mom was able to calm me down and the nurse was so good I didn’t even feel the needle. First Diabetic Shot = Success.
And in all honestly, those were the only two “bad” childhood diabetic memories I have. I was incredibly fortunate to have a loving mother who figured how to raise me with this disease, but never make me feel different or like I even had a disease.
I am the oldest of four kids in a single mom family, so rather than having me eat differently than my brothers and sisters, we all changed to skim milk, diet coke, and had our 10, 2, and 8 o’clock snacks. When it was a classmate’s birthday in school, my mom and teacher would make sure the parent sending in treats would make me a cupcake for me with no icing. Halloween we would pass out toys rather than candy so I had the cool house. I really never felt like I was different than any of my classmates because we found a way to make it so I never had to be excluded from anything.
Despite being diabetic, I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood. My summers were spent down the Jersey shore with my friends and family and the year was filled with playing sports, parties, and keeping on the honor roll. I earned an academic scholarship and played college basketball, while graduating Cum Laude. Currently I live in Manhattan, am a working model with Ford, and manage the Internet Marketing for Elegant Bridal Productions.
As cliché as it sounds the moral of my story is that diabetes does not have to stop you from doing anything. It just makes you pay a little more attention to what you are eating and drinking, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing anyway