Despite Diabetes or Because of It?

The list of people I know with type 1 diabetes who have achieved amazing things in their life is very long. I have often thought about why this is the case? I am not just talking about “famous” people. I am talking about all of the many individuals I have met over the years who have done outstanding things in their lives. This may range from reaching out to the entire diabetes community, to making a difference to one person’s life, to simply living a happy and fulfilling life of their own.

I have often felt like I am continually striving to get somewhere. I used to think this was just who I was. Part of my “nature”, whatever that means. Or perhaps a bit of a manic personality. 🙂 I remember being young and moving furniture around my room in a frenzy of activity, often getting the urge to shove large heavy wardrobes around until I found the right balance in the room. I also remember feeling different and lonely when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Over the years this has led to me doing many things that have revolved around my diabetes and taken me on many journeys. These things simply would not have happened if I did not have diabetes myself.

So I started to think that when you hear people saying “oh she has done such amazing things despite her diabetes”, maybe it is more real to say “Oh she has done such amazing things because of her diabetes”.

Maybe, the extreme focus on getting balance in your day, the calculating numbers, the counting and considering, the lack of logic and frustration of the highs and lows, leads to highly developed problem solving skills. Maybe, the insight you gain into how everyday activities and stress affect your body, that you have to come to terms with the fact it was really just bad luck that you got this disease, leads to a wise head on young shoulders. Maybe, the loss of spontaneity, the extra thinking, planning and energy that goes into the smallest of tasks whilst your peers skip freely through life leads to an early appreciation of life and attitude to live “loud” and live well. Maybe, the empathy developed from knowing what it is like to struggle leads to a desire to do something to change the world and to reach out to others.

Maybe, because of diabetes, you become the person you are and that is exactly where you are meant to be.



  1. Cathy Forbes on March 8, 2012 at 10:07 am

    BECAUSE of diabetes, my daughter is strong, resilient, understanding and compassionate. She has met with three of this countries Prime Ministers and has spoken in front of 500 people at Parliament House in Canberra. She has fought for what she believes in. She has educated people. She has advocated for herself and others. She has run major fundraising events. And she has grown into the most beautiful 13 year old ….

    • Helen Edwards on March 8, 2012 at 10:15 am

      exactly! Such an amazing girl and Mum 🙂 xx

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