Dear 16 year old me,
Hi 16 year old Dustin, this is 25 year old Dustin. I'm writing you this letter to tell you a few things. I hope listen to what I have to say, and take it to heart. I'm not here to scare you, I'm here to make you more aware of what life has in store for you. You're a Junior in high school. You're the quiet kid with very few friends. You think high school is stupid and you just want to get it over with and graduate already. You're tired of being looked down upon by your peers just because you aren't part of their crowd. There's a lot of cliques in your school.
Fast forward to 2005, you'll be 18 years old and graduating. You are so glad you're done with all the dramatic high school people, so you can finally do something with yourself. Graduation is bitter-sweet but you say you won't miss high school. You get your first job after graduation and you're making great money, and you're saving so much of it. You have no idea what you're going to spend your money on.
After four months of working at your first job, you'll feel tired all the time. You're going to feel miserable. You're going to feel like your feet are being crushed in vise grips, your vision is blurred and cloudy and you can hardly see 15 feet in front of you. You're going to think it's just because this is your first job and you're tired, but you're going to get worried after a month of this and start doing research. Everything you're feeling leads to one word - Diabetes.
You're going to tell Mom you're not feeling well and that you think you have diabetes. You were right. You have diabetes, and you won't know how to deal with it. On the outside you'll keep your composure and act like you have full control over it like it's nothing at all. On the inside, you're falling apart, but you're too stubborn to say it. You're blood sugar was 747 and you should have been dead. You'll go to your appointments and get your prescriptions and do the regular testing and injections.
There's going to be one night where you won't want diabetes anymore. You're going to wind your Novolog pen up to 60 units, and think about injecting all of it. Who knows, maybe you'll just lay there and let yourself die. You're too young for this diabetes shit anyway, right? I mean, you just had the ability to eat anything you want and not worry, taken away from you. You're pissed off that you're now different from everyone else. You're going to feel like the weird one. But you didn't inject it, maybe you'll never know why you didn't do it. Boy, what you would do to be back in high school again.
When you're 20 years old you're going to go into a diabetic coma. Your blood sugar will be 1200. You should be dead, but you're not. You think you'd rather be dead than have to continue dealing with diabetes. Even this didn't make you see how serious diabetes is. You are in such denial, that almost dying didn't convince you of how serious type 1 diabetes is. You should either be dead, blind, missing a limb or have some other complication from having a blood sugar of 1200. You escaped such a traumatic experience unscathed. But that isn't going to make you want to change how you treat your diabetes, and you're going to end up in the hospital because of a severe low a few years later.
Here's my advice for you, I told you this wasn't meant to scare you. Actually, you're 16 and you're so damn stubborn you probably think I'm lying. Talk to people when you feel like you can't handle it anymore. Speak up to someone so they know what you're going through. Dont lie to your doctor and tell them you're feeling good when you know you are not. You're too stubborn for your own good, and need support because you will not survive this by yourself. Most of all, please take my advice because the most important day of your life isn't coming a year or two from now. The most important day of your life is August 6th, 2011, and I'm not going to ruin it for you because I want you to be as surprised and shook to your core as 24 year old Dustin was. You can do this, Dustin. You can do this. It's worth it.
25 year old Dustin...