Perspectives Blog

My little source of big strength

By Michelle Bertone

Senior Associate in Sample Operations at Novo Nordisk

April 18, 2019

Think about who you can count on for help when you’re sick.

Is it your doctor? A close friend? A parent?

For me, it’s my 10-year-old son Steven.

I was an unemployed, single mother of a toddler when I learned that I had type 2 diabetes. Not long after, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As you can imagine, it was daunting, but I knew I had to fight to be there for my son.

Steven was only four when I went through chemotherapy. Although he was young, he helped in his own special ways. When I was tired, he made sure I took time to rest. He always asked if I needed anything. We found strength in each other as I fought for my life.

I’m thankful to say I’m now a breast cancer survivor, but that battle took a toll on my diabetes. My weight went up and my A1Cs hit an all-time high. By working with a new doctor, we found a treatment that works for me. My A1C numbers are at the lowest they’ve been since I was diagnosed. I’ve also lost a significant amount of weight. 

Steven watches me give myself injections and take pills daily to manage this disease. The strength he’s shown, watching his mom beat cancer and continue the fight with diabetes, keeps me going. He’s cheered me on with each pound I’ve lost and says I give better hugs now because his arms can wrap around my waist. For me, there’s no better compliment.