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Were You Born to Resist?

“I’ve got another confession my friends…”

It was 2004 when I discovered I got diabetes. Snowy January. My mom noticed I started drinking a lot of water during the day, when I always used not to. She suspected it, I had some blood analysis and boom.

I knew nothing about diabetes, I just knew that it was “bad things for a lifetime” and this was enough to scare the hell out of a 16 years old boy. It’s been kinda like pulling the hand brake at 100mph.

So, it came the time for me to be hospitalized for a while. It’s been hard at the beginning: I was something like an hour drive from home, the snow was making it harder to get to there too. I was alone in a 3 people room and the other people in my ward were very far from my age. I felt lonely, worried, stressed, and the mix of feelings and how quickly my life was changing made my sleep very difficult.

This was the background of the very first lesson I learned about dealing with diabetes: stay mentally strong at all costs. React. This life is tough and sometimes it will put you in a corner, but you must find the strength in yourself to react. Every time, every day:

“Were you born to resist or be abused? I swear I’ll never give in, I refuse!”

In retrospect, this is the chorus that better fits with the mindset I imposed to myself at that time, and it’s the one I still want to be ringing in my mind every time I’m going thru hard times with my disease. This reaction literally led me to crucially influence the direction I gave to my journey: I started talking to the other hospitalized people and despite the huge age differences, I discovered this strange feeling that comes from talking to people you share a misfortune with. That give and take just felt right…they were my very first diabuddies!

Lesson two here: you’re not alone on this journey. A fundamental step in fighting diabetes is forming a real team: friends, parents, partners, doctors, are all your teammates and will support you keeping an eye on your therapy and maintaining a positive mental attitude. This last aspect I think is the most important one for your success:

“Fly along with me, I can’t quite make it alone”

Here’s another tune you better stick to your thoughts. Think about this community: isn’t DMP a great chance to avoid making it alone? And what about discovering that there’s people with diabetes that really scored despite of that? Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens’ TE? T1D fellow. Bret Michaels from Poison? Diabuddy. Their history is personally a great push for me in the view of achieving my goals and not letting my disease keep me from it. These and many other people surely know how to react, but at the same time know how to attack. We are not just called to resist, we want to fight. Fighting means overcome the situation, achieve a goal and use your experience to feed your positive attitude and grow your self-confidence for when things get tougher. This is our third rule: you are your role model. Look back to what you achieved despite of your troubles and be proud of that. Not saying it’s easy, but neither impossible:

“What if I say I’m not like the others? What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays? You’re the pretender. What if I say that I’ll never surrender?”

That’s it.

This life is a continuous challenge and we can’t back down. Let’s go out and win the prize. We all can do that.

Federico Zoppetti
T1D since 2004, diagnosed at age 16. Mechanical Engineer. Guitarist for i Tegolini and for the biggest rock band on Earth: Rockin’1000. Italian buddy, with an addiction to the USA. Totally into the 80s/90s mood.

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