One night a man had a dream. He dreamed that he was walking along the beach with
the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, the man noticed two
sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, the other to the LORD. When the last
scene of his life passed before him, the man looked back at the footprints in the sand. He
noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This
disturbed him, and he asked the LORD about it. LORD, you said that if I followed you,
you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times
in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why you would leave me
when I needed you most. "My precious, precious child," the LORD replied, "
I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you
only saw one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
The above parable was written by an unknown author. That story was printed on the back of
a book mark I received for Christmas two years ago. It is special to me because I received
it at a time when I was going through a stage of denial of living with juvenile
I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 1990. That was nearly 8 years ago, but every day I
am constantly aware of the new challenges my disease brings. Diabetes is a metabolic
disease which affects the levels of sugar in an individual's bloodstream. In order to
control the disease a diabetic must test the average milligrams/deciliter of sugar in the
blood daily, inject insulin before every meal, and maintain a regular exercise regimen.
In November of 1996, my doctor approached me about switching to one of the new designer
insulin programs that had come out. Instead of injecting twice a day, as I was used to,
this new program would have me injecting every time I decided to eat. After the switch in
November, I had trouble adjusting my body to this new therapy. In the first few
months of the program, it took me awhile to catch on to the right methods of
increasing and decreasing the dosage because I was treating this new regimen like my
old one. I began to discover that this new program gave me so much more freedom of
what and when I could eat. Previously I had had to follow a scheduled diet with a set
amount of food, and my eating habits were so precise that it was really hard for me to
ever miss a meal or a snack. At the same time as I was dealing with this drastic switch in
my insulin regimen, my world was becoming much more chaotic than it ever had been before.
I was learning the freedom of having a driver's license, the stress of teenage
relationships, and the abandon of a 12:00 o'clock curfew.
These factors led to an overwhelming period in my life. The time was characterized by
over-indulgence, massive doses of insulin, fear of public injection, and a dependance upon
insulin and blood monitoring which I had never felt before. The outcome of this new
lifestyle was one that I was not happy with. Physically and mentally my body began to show
signs of my irresponsibility. I gained nearly twenty pounds and my self-esteem had taken a
plunge. Never before, and never again, has my disease taken such control over my life.
I have since learned that with freedom comes responsibility. I am becoming an adult now
and can no longer hide under the shadow of my parents' protective wing. I have been able
to appreciate life more fully because of the phase I went through of denying my disease
and my body the proper care they deserved. I have learned to value moderation and
control. I know now that the cliche' "Too much of a good thing" is a lesson that
should be taken to heart. In high school, many of my peers have decided to experiment with
drinking and other uncontrolled substances. Many have proven that they cannot handle the
responsibility it takes to be able to drink, and they end up losing control of themselves
and their actions. I want to be the one in control of my body. My experience has
taught me to appreciate the fact that sometimes you must display a higher level of
maturity and self-respect rather than giving in to temptation.
Once again, I am running cross-country, and have found that running is the greatest key in
controlling my blood sugars. My running is one of the most important and therapeutic
aspects of my life. Previously, I ran in order to win races, but now I am just happy that
I am fit enough to run. Before my experience I was afraid of the affects running would
have on my blood sugar. Now, I have come to fully appreciate the people, health
benefits, and atmosphere that are indicative of being a runner.
By facing my adversity, I have learned what it means to have faith and perseverance. To
have faith when things seem hopeless is often times the difference of surviving the
challenges set before you or of giving up. I have learned perseverance from my experience
and have tried to do my best in all aspects of life whether it is from school, sports, or
relationships. I am very proud of the seventh grade confirmation class I taught. I
tried to have a positive impact on their lives and their faith.
I stated earlier that I was afraid of injecting myself in public. I have overcome that
fear and have learned an important lesson That lesson is "Above all things, be true
to yourself". As long as I am happy with my character and my integrity the rest
of the problems I face in life will be a piece of cake. I have learned to be independent,
and to trust my own judgement. It is not necessary for me to go along with "the
group" just for the sake of belonging because I am independent enough to determine
what is best for me.
Dealing with diabetes is an adversity I will have the rest of my life. It isn't always
easy, but it has made me who I am today. I have become a person with strong convictions
and opinions, and I'm happy with that. My disease has been a major factor in my life, but
it has also taught me perserverance, self-reliance, and the value of a positive attitude.
My father told me that to reach the top of the mountain you first have to cross the
valleys along the way. No matter what valleys I face in my lifetime I know I have been
provided with a good pair of boots for my hike to the top of the mountain.