Hello everyone. My name is Raissa and I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 8 years old. I am now 33.
When I became a teenager, I was obsessed with my weight and my body image. I began suffering from diabulimia as a teenager. At this point in my life, I was destroying my body from the inside out, killing myself to meet the high standards I held for my body.
I had been ignoring my problems, embarrassed by the way my body was holding me back from having a normal life. And I just wanted to live without having to worry about the complications my diabetes would undoubtedly cause.
I started developing several problems in my early 20s. And it took having these issues for me to realize I needed to begin taking care of myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t come to this realization until I began suffering from ritenography, neuropathy, and gastroparesis.
Having these problems scared me. And this was what motivated me to begin taking care of myself and my diabetes. However, I had already destroyed all of these organs and nerves from my own carelessness.
At 28, I decided to have a pancreas transplant in an effort to get rid of or “cure” my diabetes. The transplant worked… for 6 months.
During the 7th month, my body began developing too many antibodies, resulting in my body rejecting the organ. I had to take strong immunosuppressant drugs in an effort to keep the pancreas.
The drugs I had to take sped up the deterioration of my kidneys. And now I’m in kidney failure. I knew I would eventually have to deal with kidney disease. But the pancreas transplant fast-forwarded this process.
I have to get injections in my eyes every two months. And I go to dialysis to stay alive. I’m constantly putting forth an effort to live. But even with all that I’ve been through, I refuse to give up.
My life is being lived with a purpose. I now take care of my diabetes. I go to school, I raise awareness for diabetes with this organization, and I’m finally aware of the dedication I need to implement in my life to continue to fulfill it. And I want to share my struggle with others who find themselves forced to cope with their diabetes.
The purpose of these bracelets is to highlight the importance of taking care of your diabetes. Sure, they’re a fashion statement. But they’re more than that. These bracelets highlight how early on this can happen.
There’s a common misconception that diabetes is something that impacts your life later on in life. And I am a prime example of what can happen to someone who does not take care of their diabetes from the start.
We need to raise awareness to take care of our diabetes. And it is my hope that through this organization, we will raise awareness with the stunning aesthetic of these bracelets together.