Click. A sharp but brief prick, as if from a thorn, into my finger. Suddenly, I feel a small squeeze as I come to notice my blood being put onto a test strip. My heart is hammering, but I keep my expressionless face unpretentious with no hint of how anxious I was feeling. Moments later, a doctor walks in the room and analyzes a chart and looks up to say “great news today, your A1C is 7%” I can finally breathe. A wave of relief floods within me. At the age of twelve years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes: a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. It took me over two years after my diagnosis to be able to say, I am a diabetic. This is mostly because everything surrounding the day of my diagnosis was ingrained in my brain like a dreadful scar that never went away. I felt ashamed and mortified at how a young girl like me, was associated with a disease that carried a negative stigma around “fat” and “overweight.” It seemed like a cruel joke, as this disease never sleeps and my attention and actions perpetually revolved around an everlasting and exhausting act of ensuring my blood glucose levels and A1C remained within a constant target range. No matter how much I screamed in anger or cried in discomfort, no matter how much I stared up at the ceiling, hoping this was all a terrible nightmare, I felt stuck. I felt stuck living in a body that only betrayed me. Two years ago, however, I realized that I knew I couldn’t change myself, but I could alter my outlook on life. Instead of living in a constant shell, I began searching for a way to feel fulfilled. This is when I realized, being present in a hospital setting every three to four months and learning about the medical field from dynamic teams of doctors, nurses, and endocrinologists, engrossed my wanting to pursue a medical career. I instantly became amazed in the clinical realm as every day learned new discoveries and research findings, not only about diabetes but other chronic diseases as well. By the time of my junior year of high school, my interest in being a doctor bloomed even more as I became a hospital volunteer. My job primarily consists of escorting patients for their scheduled surgeries, while also delivering flowers and gifts, but I never imagined the work to be so rewarding until I met doctors, nurses, and patients who provided me insight into what it’s like to work in a hospital atmosphere. When I first started volunteering, I didn’t know what to expect. My thoughts were scattered , as I am the kind of person who constantly puts an immense amount of pressure on myself, but as I walked into the emergency room to the sound of incessant beeping monitors and squeaky wheelchairs roaming along the hallway, all the worries and fears that spiraled through my mind disappeared as my eyes were agape to the glaring illnesses that exist today. Since that day, I vowed to pursue a medical career to help treat the disease course for others facing chronic illnesses, but also for those who are diabetics, like myself. Though diabetes has weakened my body, it ultimately opened my eyes to the medical field. I want to be able to have the incredible opportunity to restore people’s lives to normalcy and even be there for people who share the same disease as I do. Someone once told me a quote that I love: “Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed, and rearranged to relocate us to the place we’re meant to be,” and that can’t be closer to the truth.
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