For 10 years, I have been living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Diabetes isn’t always a visible disease; its hidden in purses while checking blood sugar, or crawling out of bed by yourself to chug milk at 3 am. Through all these moments, I have become accustomed to the solitude of my disease and relying on myself to get through the issues and struggles of having T1D. This had been my life for 10 years, letting a few people in throughout the years, but keeping my true life and feelings towards diabetes to myself. I thought this would be my life, but then I moved to college and everything began to change.
When I came to Northeastern University in Spring of 2016, I knew that I wanted to join a sorority. I wanted to have that bond and experience the sisterhood I had seen in so many Hollywood movies. I became a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon (DPhiE) sorority shortly after arriving to campus. When I joined, I was nervous to speak about my diabetes because it wasn’t my favorite fun fact and I worried that people would think I was weird. However, once I did say that one phrase that I always had dreaded to a few sisters, and then a few more, they didn’t run away rather they stayed by my side.
Being a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon has given me the greatest gift of my life by showing me that even with diabetes, I could still live the life I had pictured for myself. For the past few months, I have been suffering from diabetes burnout and realizing that while I may have had diabetes for 10 years, I had always kept it separate from who I truly was a person. When I joined DPhiE, I met so many inspiring sisters who all had their own stories to tell and I wanted to be proud of my story as well. In the past two years, I have gone from being someone who barely spoke about my diagnosis, to now being a co-president and founding member of a CDN Chapter at Northeastern. The women who surround and encourage me have made me more willing to accept diabetes into my life, and that is something that I will always be thankful for.
Through being in a sorority, I have found a sister who cares enough about me to check my Dexcom for me to make sure that everything is okay, and if not, she makes sure that I will be. I have found a sister who wanted to get involved and joined the executive board for the CDN Chapter at Northeastern with me. I have found a sister who understands that life isn’t always okay, but you can still find something to laugh about. I have a sister who will always listen to my issues with diabetes and not just respond, “I’m sorry, diabetes sounds awful.” I have found a sister who will encourage me to keep going with diabetes. I have found a sister who will come to a “diabirthday” to celebrate living with diabetes even though the party sounded crazy. I have found a sister who will always support me and listen when the bad days come and then celebrate when there is a good day.
The love and support that I have found through DPhiE was not in any of the Hollywood movies that I thought showed all of Greek life, but I am grateful for it every day. The sorority has given me more than just a way to meet more people and take on leadership roles: it has given me the hope to believe in myself and that I can live the life I want with type 1 diabetes.
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