Thursday, April 2, 2015

I heard the word Die....

When the doctor told me I had diabetes, I heard "die."  

Elias Antaya was 9 years old at the time.

Today he is a remarkable 17 year old.
Elias was our guest speaker at last night's regular meeting.  We had heard about Elias from Michelle Cassano at conference in November and finally got him on our agenda.  I don't know why we waited so long.

Elias told us his story.... how he noticed that he was all of a sudden thirsty and peeing more.  Most 9 year olds may not notice that this was not normal.  Tests showed he did, indeed, have Type 1 Diabetes.  What he learned was that he wasn't going to die.... he just wasn't going to grow up to be a professional ice cream tester!

He learned early on that he had to be his own advocate.  His life depended on it.  After all, you can't take a vacation from diabetes.  He carried candy with him at all times and a cell phone, which wasn't so common for a second grader to do.

Diabetes didn't change Elias.  He continued to play, to ski, hike, play the violin.  Just to name a few of his activities....

Family, friends and friends' parents learned to care for him when he was in their presence.  School nurses became part of his family.

Elias has attended Camp K twice now, when he was 11 and 12 years old.  He told of the remarkable experience he had being at a camp filled with other kids just like him.  He told how they sat around the camp fire eating "low carb smores" that tasted like cardboard, but he was with other kids just like him, experiencing the same things.  It was "different" being around others just like him.

Elias is an extremely healthy, well-adjusted, normal teenager.  I might add that he's at the top of that scale if not over it.  He carries a 3.75 GPA, is a violinist, is an entrepreneur (plays violin at events); he continues to ski, mountain bike, hike; he's a lifeguard for the City; he's a future college student. I wish I had a complete list of all of his accomplishments.

"Having diabetes does not stop me."  And we're glad of that, Elias.

We Serve!
Lion Nancy

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