I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on March 17, 1997, while in 2nd grade. I was pretty confused by what the disease was – I actually thought I was contagious.
At school, there was an episode on my first day back. I bought a cinnamon roll in the lunch room, and a teacher snatched it away in a very animated fashion. I spent that entire first year having food taken from me and getting into trouble for not checking my blood glucose, taking insulin, or doing ketone checks. I remember being confused and angry because I still didn’t know what the disease was, and why people who once treated me like my classmates were now treating me like I was fragile. When I looked in the mirror I still saw normal Carl, but the way people talked to me, you’d think I was turning green and clutching my stomach – daily. I was genuinely sad. Not aloud, but internally.
Then, on a doctor’s visit to Children’s Hospital, my favorite doctor in the world, Dr. Joy Atchison, talked to my mother a little longer than usual. They came over and presented me with this idea of going away to some camp. Their biggest selling point was that it had horseback riding. I was a little reluctant, but I don’t think I ever fought against it. I mean, it was horses.
I had such a great time at camp. My first counselor and CIT were Chris and Tavaris, and my first camp shirt had the Raisin Bran man’s brother on it. From that point forward, I found myself wanting to learn more about my disease. I read It’s Time to Learn About Diabetes several times that year, and when it came time to teach my fiancé about my disease, I gave it to her. It still works.
Camp Seale Harris didn’t save my life, it gave me one. I met new people and gained new passions, and it even influenced the selection of my major in college. After counting carbs for so many years, it was only natural to go into the field of nutrition.
Thank you to the Camp Seale Harris family old and new, and thank you to Dr. Taylor Caffey for putting me on Lantus. You may have bought me an extra 150 years of life. To do camp stuff, of course.
To read more CSH Stories, click here.