I’m Amy, and I work in the television and film industry in Atlanta, GA. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 16, almost eight years ago.
My dad brought me to the hospital for what we thought was a ruptured spleen. The doctor walked in, took one look at me and asked, “How long has your daughter been neglecting her Diabetes?”
My dad responded, “She doesn’t have Diabetes.”
Well obviously that wasn’t true.
I spent the next few days in the ICU with DKA, listening to endocrinologists, nutritionists and doctors explain to me what was happening inside my own body.
I wish I had listened…but, I was way more concerned about missing AP English.
What is the weirdest question you’ve been asked about your diabetes, and how did you respond?
“How does it feel to know your disease isn’t sexy like cancer?”
I responded “Interesting. I’ve never thought about cancer as sexy, and I really don’t understand why we have to be compared to one another. Both are life threatening diseases that we need to be fighting vigilantly.”
Has anyone told you that you couldn’t do something due to your diabetes, and you proved them wrong?
One day in class, our producing professor asked: “If you were producing a live show, and there was a mosh pit surrounding the camera booth and camera op, would you spend the extra money to hire a runner, knowing they may not make it through the crowd?” (A runner is someone who runs cable, batteries, water, etc to the camera op)
“Absolutely,” I said. “You need to have a runner in case of an emergency. It might seem like a waste, but what if your camera op was a Diabetic and had an emergency low?”
Another student responded– “Well, then…a Diabetic shouldn’t be working that event.”
At the time, that really got to me. How could she be so dumb? But, she missed the point. I wasn’t making a statement about Diabetes. I was making a statement about emergencies. Emergencies happen, and could happen to anyone.
My junior and senior year of college, I wound up working as an intern for the A/V team at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. I learned so much from that internship…and guess what…we always had runners.
How do you inspire others?
I’m not sure that I do now, but I believe that someday I might.
I want to make films that change the world, and I know that my Diabetes fuels a lot of that ambition and desire.
Diabetes has radically altered my world view, and gives me compassion and empathy for anyone in a difficult situation.
Tell us a story about how diabetes has affected you.
I face my mortality every day of my life– there isn’t an aspect of life it doesn’t affect.
What if my child has Diabetes because of me?
What if there are complications in my pregnancy because of Diabetes?
What if my boyfriend thinks my pump is strange and it “kills the vibe”?
WHY are my legs blue?!?! Oh wait…these are new jeans and I haven’t washed them yet.
What if everyone thinks I’m just using this?
What if they think I can control this?
What if they think I did this to myself?
What if I’m gone and they need me?
How has diabetes contributed to forming you into the person you are today? Mentally, physically, or emotionally?
I love it when people say… “Diabetes does not define who you are.”
I understand the sentiment, but I have to disagree.
Diabetes does define me.
Strong, resilient, vulnerable, responsible, survivor.
The reason I have so much drive and ambition, so much charisma and passion for life…that stems from my overwhelming desire to never be in the hospital again. I never want to see fear, confusion and pain in my loved ones faces again.
That kind of internal strength and determination is only found through experiencing something you never imagined you could handle.
Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 100 regular sized ducks?
Great question. Follow up question…do I have a lightsaber?