Would You Give Back Your Diabetes Diagnosis?

14 March 2019

Have you ever thought about how diabetes has affected your life in a positive way? Have you had experiences that left you smarter or with fond memories that make you smile? Have you made friends that you cherish? For a lot of people, diabetes comes with a silver lining. Below, TNN Ambassadors reflect on the bright side of their diabetes and why they wouldn’t so easily give up their diagnosis.

Thomas Raeymaekers, Belgium

Since my diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in 2011, the disease has played an enormous role in my daily life. More than ever before, I am aware of my body and health and, compared to before my diagnosis, I make better choices on living and eating healthy. But probably the best thing that diabetes gave me is, since I joined Team Novo Nordisk, I can make a change for people living with diabetes. I am truly blessed that I can wake up every day and have an impact on people’s life. Giving back to the diabetes community is the best thing diabetes gave me and it’s why I would not give back my diagnosis. And, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to realize that upside. Just by having a positive attitude about your diabetes and getting involved in your own diabetes community, you can inspire people to be their best self, too!

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Justin Morris, Australia

Living with type 1 diabetes has often been frustrating, fatiguing and at times depressing for me. However, despite this I would not give up my diagnosis. Most experiences that have taught me anything in life have involved some degree of pain. Diabetes is no exception. Although the door to my pancreas has been closed, I have been granted a unique window to the rest of my body which has given me a better understanding of how my vessel works! Most importantly though, I have gained automatic entry to a worldwide family now 400million strong. Many of my most meaningful friendships in life have happened because of living with T1D. Diabetes Empowered!

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Becky Furuta, USA

I take multiple injections every day, monitor my blood glucose with a possessiveness that might alarm even the most quantified of selves, and spend countless hours measuring and weighing and calculating and doing the hard work of diabetes. So why would I be grateful for this disease? Because it has given me so much more.

Diabetes management is really about life management. In order to be successful at living with diabetes, I had to first master myself. I had to decide that no matter how discouraging or difficult or harrowing a situation might be, I am limited only by what I choose to be limited by. It was when I was most determined that diabetes wouldn’t be an excuse or an escape route to failure that I decided “impossible” was nothing at all. It wasn’t a declaration or a fact, but a dare to chase my potential and dream even bigger.

Diabetes gave me the drive, structure, and courage to go after the things I most wanted and to be self-aware of those conditions I actually can influence. It taught me to let go of doubt and fear and to be the conqueror of my own life.

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Stephen England, USA

I have been a runner all of my life. But, at age 14, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I did not want to be different, so I hid my diabetes from most people and struggled with my running.  You could say my early years of accepting and living with diabetes got the better of me. My mentality and maturity as an athlete, as a human, had to change.  I was determined; I run diabetes, diabetes does not run me. 

25 years later, here I proudly stand. Alongside my fellow diabetes heroes as a member of Team Novo Nordisk, as an endurance athlete running 100-mile races all around the world changing the perception of diabetes. Living with diabetes and running has taught me that there are no limitations to what can be achieved in life.  That being different can become your greatest strength. This is why I’ll never give it back. I know not everyone wants to run 100 miles…so be different and strong in your own way!

Learn more about Stephen

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