Community News
November 24, 2018 By Lumino Health
My initial reaction to my diabetes diagnosis? Fear

Lumino Health and Diabetes Canada have partnered to create awareness about diabetes during Diabetes Awareness Month. Lumino Health sat down with Oria James (pictured above), a student at the University of Toronto and a Diabetes Canada volunteer advocate who speaks to audiences about living with diabetes, to learn more about her experiences.

Tell us about your diagnosis
The day of my diagnosis, my dad came into my bedroom and said that I had type 1 diabetes. I was 10 years old, and all I heard was the word “die.”

It was the summer right before I started grade five. I came back from vacation with my family, and had blood tests done [because I wasn’t feeling well]. Almost immediately afterward, we got a call from the clinic asking my parents to take me to emergency. I spent the next few days in the pediatric intensive care unit.

I made several more visits to the hospital to learn about diet, and carbohydrates and fats and what they do to my body. But most importantly, I learned about how to manage diabetes: how to check my blood sugar, how to count carbohydrates and how to give myself insulin.

How can diabetes affect a person?
The impact of living with the disease is both physical and emotional. On the physical side, you experience some pain, especially if you need an insulin injection after checking your blood sugar. On the emotional side, you can feel isolated, misunderstood and frustrated. Diabetes is, in some ways, a very invisible illness. Without positive conversations and awareness about the disease, it can be very isolating, even for a very social person.

I wish that when I was diagnosed I had been told that everything was going to be OK, that I was going to find peace with myself, and that in the future, I'd consider myself strong again.

What advice do you have for others who are living with diabetes or who have just been diagnosed?
Put yourself first. Practising self-love and self-care are crucial to good diabetes management. Also, find people who support you.

Hear more from Oria in the video, Living with diabetes—Oria’s story.

Do you have a personal story of how your diabetes diagnosis has affected you or someone you know? Fill in our easy personal story submission form, and you and your story could appear in myDC community content.

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