I’m Alive – Written by Jenna

Jenna was diagnosed at a very young age with a lifetime disease. This became her fate, but not her destiny.

We create what happens to us by the choices we make. Once we accept this fact, we become empowered.

Jenna wakes each day with the realization that what happens during the day is the result of the choices she makes. She chooses to be grateful instead of resentful, kind instead of nasty, and helpful instead of hurtful.

As we change our ways for the better, our lives will improve immensely.

Please enjoy Jenna’s story.

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I nearly died last night, I thought to myself this morning as shivers ran down my spine. In fact, I thought to myself, I’m at risk of dying on a daily basis. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

My name is Jenna and when I was 2.5 years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which my pancreas stops or doesn’t produce enough insulin, a hormone needed to get energy from food. Every day, multiple times a day I calculate insulin dosages based on my food intake to stay alive. This lifetime illness requires constant blood sugar monitoring – too low results in my system shutting down and too high can lead to serious complications including amputation, vision loss, or death.

Now I’m not writing this to make you feel bad for me, or scare you, rather the opposite. My sole purpose is to demonstrate that despite this serious life-threatening condition, it’s not the end of my world.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had someone say “I don’t know how you live with it”, or “how can you give yourself needles everyday, I wouldn’t be able to!” I always laugh to myself when I hear this, because if I had my druthers, I wouldn’t either. Type 1 diabetics don’t have a choice. You either do or suffer the consequences. It’s that simple!

It would be easy to wallow over the fact that my life literally hangs in the balance each day on account of potential human error or seemingly unpredictable causes. I could also wallow in the fact that I have a significantly shortened lifespan. Instead, I’ve decided to focus on the positives.

1) I’M ALIVE!
Why waste my life away obsessing over something I can’t change? Dr. Banting, Dr. Best and their team didn’t spend their time figuring out a way to isolate and eventually produce insulin for me to waste by feeling sorry for myself.

2) There are people worse-off than myself.
I live a happy and fulfilled life. I’m able I do all the things I want, with little interference from my condition. Sure, I have days that I don’t feel great, but I push through because, well I’m stubborn, but mostly because I’m able.

Whenever I start to feel down, I remind myself that things could be a lot worse. I find that really helps.

3) I truly believe my condition has shaped me into the woman I am today.

I’m self-aware, responsible and prepared as a result of self-preservation. I believe this has made me into a stronger, more capable woman that applies to every aspect of my daily life.

4) I’m forced to eat right and exercise. Balanced meal planning and regular exercise are essential components to my daily life. When I don’t take care of myself, I feel it. It’s that simple. My condition is a constant reminder to take care of myself. I’m thankful for that.

For whatever reason, I was diagnosed with this damaging disease. But as you can see, I have a lot to be thankful for. Life is too short! I choose to focus on the positives and work with what I have. What do you choose?

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