“My name is Casey Card. I am 26 years old. April 8, 2014 will be the 13th anniversary of my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes.
When the words “You have diabetes” fell from my doctor’s lips, I had no idea what that meant. There is no way to prepare for the injections, the testing, eating when I don’t want to, not being able to eat when I’m starving, the highs with their exhaustion and thirst, and the lows with their anxiety and shakes. The word “forever” is one I didn’t fully appreciate until I’d had diabetes for several years.
Since my diagnosis I have played varsity soccer, created a team for the ADA’s Tour de Cure, learned to knit, got my BA in Italian literature, lived in Italy, become bilingual, been an English teacher, painted a self-portrait, researched diabetes at Yale, learned to salsa dance, sung “Thrift Shop” at karaoke, and got into medical school… twice. Currently I am living in Ireland studying my way through year two of medical school.
I don’t like it when people attribute my strength of character to living with a chronic illness. I’d like to think I am me, as I always would have been, though I am dealing with diabetes. Diabetes didn’t deal with me to make me who I am. It affects my life choices, sure; I’d probably not be involved in diabetes research and fundraising without the personal interest but those are activities, not identity. The best thing I can say for this disease is that it hasn’t stopped me yet, even if it slows me down occasionally.”