It registered surprise and confusion and an element of uncertainty – all at the same time. That, as a schoolboy, I was far too young to comprehend what it was all about, is a different matter altogether. “I think this child is a diabetic…” the family doctor pronounced. Only these few words and the longstanding trust that was so firmly cemented in the family doctor waned in only a matter of few seconds. A second opinion was sought. I was rushed to another doctor’s clinic.(I later learnt that the other doctor had told my parents that I would die!).
Now call it my good luck or the doctor’s bad luck, I’m alive and kicking till today. I must admit, however, that it did take some time for the initial shock and despair to wear off. I was kept on two insulin injections a day and was told that I would have to give myself these injections for a lifetime. Sweets (something which I could die for even today) would have to be kept in check and I would not be allowed to binge the way I wished to. I would need to follow a list of simple ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. It took some time for all this to sink in. I found it a bit too much to take it all at the same time. Time, they say, heals all wounds.
Along with time, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (JDF), a support group for diabetic children and youth, with which I have been associated for the last 15 years, also did its bit to heal my wounds. I used to attend the monthly support group meetings very religiously and devotedly. They meant a lot to me. Little did I realize at that time that these monthly meetings were imparting to me valuable lessons, the value of which I would learn later as I sailed through the turbulent and choppy ocean of life. Time flew past and the schoolboy joined college, completed graduation and today I’m working for a foreign bank. Let me hasten to state that life has not been a cakewalk though. The hard times too have surfaced off and on. But then, that’s part and parcel of life, isn’t it? Juvenile diabetes is a chronic illness. Presently there is no cure for it but it can certainly be controlled. A juvenile diabetic can lead a normal life with a few changes in lifestyle. The three pillars on which good diabetes control rests are Medication (Insulin injection for a juvenile diabetic), Exercise and Diet.
Even as guesstimates say that the incidence of juvenile diabetes is on the rise in India, there is hardly any awareness of the illness. Personally, I often have had this queer experience that people who have seen me injecting myself have often mistaken me to be a drug addict. Even today I need at least three shots of insulin injection throughout the day. And this goes on for a lifetime or until some major breakthrough in medical science brings about an alternative for insulin injection. Be that as it may, for now, I’m living life to the full. Its ups and downs, notwithstanding, I’m enjoying it to the hilt.
It’s been 16 years that I’m living with diabetes. Even today I remember that day when my diabetes was diagnosed and time appeared to have stood still. How the years seemed frozen away in time and I had that feeling that there would be no tomorrow. Things are different now. With every passing day I actually look forward to tomorrow.