My name is Robert and I am a 24 year old from Long Island. I have had diabetes for 15 years. People will say that i’ts either not a big deal or it’s a great burden but I find myself in the middle. As long as I stay committed to taking care of myself, I don’t find it too difficult. Dealing with doctors and insurance is probably the biggest challenge. I do everything a normal 20-something year old does: go out, drink, party etc. You are only limited to what you believe. So long as I know I am in control of my life, I know I can face the next 50 or so years with the optimism that one day I won’t have to worry about this disease anymore if and when they develop a cure.
Has anyone told you that you couldn’t do something due to your diabetes, and you proved them wrong?
Pretty much about eating anything. I eat ANYTHING I want. The pump gives me that leisure. I don’t indulge as often as I would like, but there is no restriction on what I can and can’t eat.
How do you inspire others?
I like to be a soundboard for people. My friends think I’m one of the more intelligent people in our group and always look to me when they want to talk about something serious.
Tell us a story about how diabetes has affected you.
On multiple occasions I would go on Boy Scout trips and I always had to make sure I had my supplies. One time I forgot my insulin in the fridge and didn’t realize until we were almost at Gettysburg (4.5 hour trip from Long Island). The family I went with stepped up for me and helped me get new insulin from a pharmacy after many phone calls and shelling out the $200 for it. I don’t like being put in those situations but it heartens me to know people are there to take care of things.
How has diabetes contributed to forming you into the person you are today? Mentally, physically, or emotionally?
Living with diabetes has made me quite an independent person. I had to take care of myself starting back in elementary school and my parents gave me that freedom to do so. People are shocked when they learned I always did the shots myself right when I got out of the hospital upon diagnosis. The disease was a launching point for taking care of myself in every regard as a person.
Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 100 regular sized ducks?
Horse-sized duck. There is power in numbers and one enemy is better than 100.