Best friends Shea (L) and Bemi (R)
Shea Wixson has been my best friend for almost seven years. We both have type 1 diabetes. I met her because my doctor introduced us when I was diagnosed at age 10, and she has been part of my life ever since. Although diabetes is no fun, I never would have met my best friend if I had not had gotten it, so for that I am grateful.
My pediatrician introduced my family to the Wixson family so they could help us get adjusted to living with diabetes. The first time my family and I went to Shea’s home, my mom talked to her mom about having a child with diabetes, and I got to met Shea. While both of us were painfully shy at first, we definitely ended up hitting it off.
We live 30 minutes apart from each other, but we try to get together at least once a month. And once we finally do see one another we are glued at the hip.
When I first started looking into getting an insulin pump, I was really against having a tube connected to me. But Shea had a pump and she told me how much she loved having it, how it helped her manage her diabetes better. My second year with diabetes I ended up getting a pink Animas pump, just like hers!
I also learned about the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Camps through Shea. She had gone a couple years in a row before she met me and tried really hard to convince me to go. At first, I was really nervous about being away from home for a week and about going too high or low at camp. My sixth grade year was my first year at Camp Carolina Trails in King, N.C. It was one of the best weeks of my life!
When I first got to camp I was really shy to meet new people, but everyone there is super-friendly. Plus, having Shea there really helped me not to be as nervous. By the first meal I had made friends who are still part of my life today. I had no need to feel worried about my blood glucose because there was always someone to help me. And the days are packed with activities, so there is not much time for getting homesick.
Without having met Shea, I may not have gotten a pump as quickly as I did, and I may never have gone to Diabetes Camp. And if I hadn’t been diagnosed with diabetes, I would have never met my best friend. She is always there for me and having a friend who also lives with diabetes is truly life-changing.
So even though counting carbs, testing my blood glucose and remembering to bolus can be annoying at times, there sometimes is good that comes out of the bad!
Bemi Wayland, age 17, is from Raleigh, N.C. She has lived with type 1 diabetes for seven years and is working to raise awareness of the disease. She and her father ride each year in their local Tour de Cure.