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Diabetes vs determination: Memories of my first insulin shot

By Chanda Copple |  Published February 20 2018

Chanda Copple is a type 1 diabetes patient, a registered nurse, and certified diabetes educator with Novo Nordisk’s Education Program. She’s passionate about helping others feel empowered to manage their diabetes and live healthy lives.

Inspired by a recent episode of the TV show Black-ish, in which Dre, the character played by Novo Nordisk Inc. spokesperson Anthony Anderson, learns how to manage his diabetes, Chanda volunteered to talk about her first experience taking an insulin shot.

In the 26 years, 7 months and 28 days since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I’ve injected myself with insulin approximately 38,892 times. That’s a lot of shots! But even after all those injections, I clearly recall every detail of my very first one.   

My first insulin shot was an overwhelming rollercoaster ride of fear, anger, nervousness, sadness, and determination. As a 15 year-old the hospital was the last place I wanted to be, but they wouldn’t discharge me until I proved to the nurse that I could inject myself. For 30 minutes I paid careful attention to every detail, preparing the shot before injecting it into my right thigh.  It hurt, but my determination helped in that I was able to inject myself and subsequently leave the hospital. I decided then that I wasn’t going to let diabetes define me.  

The many injections that followed aren’t as notable. Some hurt, some didn’t.  It’s not always easy, and I do have moments when I wish T1D never happened to me. But, I keep going.

I often reflect on the determination I felt at the time of my first injection and tell myself, “I’ve got this!” Today, taking my insulin shots is a powerful reminder that I am able to manage my diabetes. It DOES NOT manage me!

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