“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” These were the words of William Shakespeare, and I have found them to be very true in my own life.
I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 1989 at two years of age. It was very scary for my whole family, since at that time, very little was known about diabetes. This was especially true of my home country, Honduras, and in Central America, more broadly. In the last few decades, knowledge and awareness about the disease within my country has improved. But there are still many challenges of living with Type 1 diabetes in this country. Here are a few:
- There are very few endocrinologists. In fact, there are only 9 total in the whole country. Furthermore, these endocrinologists don’t have the same level of expertise and training as those within the United States.
- Living with diabetes is kind of like living with HIV years ago. People think I’m going to die or become very sick. Many still think people have acquired diabetes from eating too much sugar, even after I tell them my age of diagnosis.
- In Honduras, the sugar-free and low-carbohydrate foods are very expensive. Moreover, they have limited availability. For example, a single Glucerna (slow-release carbohydrate shake) costs around $7.
- I have never met a single person with Type 1 diabetes in my home country. This may be because there is no organized diabetes community such as those within countries like the United States.
- It is almost impossible to find a job, due to my diabetes. This country does not have the same legal protections as the U.S.
Fortunately, I have very supportive parents, and I have learned a lot about diabetes thanks to attending Florida Camp for Children and Youth with Diabetes (FCCYD) in the United States as a child. In all the years of having diabetes, I haven’t had ketones, and I have only fainted twice due to low blood glucose. I have been able to live a relatively “normal” life thanks to my extensive knowledge about the disease.
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