I was diabetic long before I knew what diabetes was. I had started refusing sweets way before I even knew what they tasted like.

I was on 4 injections a day decades before I became a doctor myself. I didn’t exactly understand why I couldn’t go for night overs and school camps. I didn’t excel at sport because physical exercise was too much of a risk and I wasn’t ever sent for training either. When I was asked why I didn’t eat sweet I said ‘I have diabetes’ and they’d say ‘oh you mean cavities’! And I’d think to myself, ‘Never mind’.

It’s been nearly 4 decades of my life with diabetes. Oh well I haven’t had much of a life without it since I was diagnosed around the time I was a year old. I remember having once a week visits to the school dispensary because invariably I’d be giddy or faintish at some time or the other with fluctuating blood sugar. Well, the good part was everyone wanted to be my friend, as they’d accompany me to the doctor during school hours and enjoy the break themselves.

I was the girl who vanished during the lunch break to the staff room as my insulin injections were always in the staff fridge. Life was different but it was as wonderful as any ordinary school life can be. It didn’t prevent me from doing my best and being my best. I had the wonderful support of family and friends throughout college and medical school too when life was nothing short of extremely stressful. I had the biggest ever jumps in my blood glucose levels and I am not proud to boast of being in coma nearly twice in my life. As years progressed, managing it became more tedious and challenging but giving up was never an option. Better insulin, thinner needles, and the desire to live to make a difference added to zest of always climbing higher. I thought I was the chosen one for diabetes because I had the finances, support and willingness to take care of myself; many others in this world don’t.

A structured life, little dedication and commitment are all it takes. It’s just diabetes; it’s not the end of the world. A slight deviation in a chemical production in your pancreas doesn’t kill you, least of all your passion for life. It is hard, it is definitely hard; complications of diabetes are multifaceted. But it is manageable. You don’t blame your illness for being overweight; you exercise. You don’t blame the world for the sugar-laden menus; you eat what’s good for you. You work, you serve; you make a life for yourself. You don’t call diabetes your enemy; you make it your friend because it is something that’s going to stay with you forever.

Live long, live strong. Remember, when you’re diabetic you’re sweeter than everyone else around!

Dr. Shefali Batra (MD) is a Psychiatrist, and debut author of the book ‘Teenage Matters’. She founded MINDFRAMES(www.mindframes.co.in) with a vision of taking psychological wellness to the common man. She is an expert consultant, avid writer and innovator for diagnostic as well as therapeutic tools. A decade of clinical experience, and keen technological acumen empowers her to modernize the practice of psychological wellness through innovation in counseling and therapy.