Video link: https://youtu.be/b5kQ9AD_sw4
Hannah Grace Levins
Imagine being 7 years old, in chronic pain, using the restroom on yourself, and throwing up 24/7. Your mother is frantic and crying. You have to be hospitalized for weeks trying to figure out what is wrong. Family members visit you and bring flowers. There are many doctors and tests.
This was the reality for Cincinnati native, Stephen Curtis, 20, who has Type 1 Diabetes.
“I remember being diagnosed,” he said. “I felt like it was life-threatening, which it is, but I thought I was dying soon. I felt fine, but my mom’s reaction was loud and tear-filled, which frightened me the most. It was terrifying for me. I had no idea what diabetes was. I had no clue that I would have to learn a whole new lifestyle that many people do not.”
In the past 13 years since his diagnosis, Curtis has learned many things other swill never have to. The care for his diabetes is intense. He has to do insulin therapy, check his blood pressure daily, diet, and exercise. He usually changes his insulin every four days and does the rest every day.
He also endured bullying because of his illness. Curtis can remember, from a young age, being calling names and pushed around.
In high school, he said the bullying became worse. Curtis got into fights and screaming arguments to stand up for himself. It got so bad, his parents moved him to another high school. He began playing hockey there to cope with anger and found success and peace in his life and in the sport.
After high school, he choose to attend the University of Mississippi because it was his dream from a young age. It was one thing he remembers thinking he could never achieve because of his diabetes, but he pushed for it and has bloomed here.