“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” –Michael J. Fox
Hello. Just to give you a quick background my name is Nicole Gabriela Scola and I am 19 years old. I am from Rhode Island (fun fact: it is the smallest state and has the longest name). I am currently a sophomore at Quinnipiac University where I play Division 1 Women’s golf and am pursuing a Finance degree in the School of Businesses 3+1 MBA program. Some of my favorite hobbies are golf, swimming, hiking, anything adventurous, goofy or fun, and hanging out with friends. Oh and I have type 1 diabetes.
This blog entry has been, I guess, six years in the making, which is about the same amount of time that I have had diabetes. Honestly I delayed writing because I still haven’t figured out how diabetes works in my life, it just appeared one day and I’ve been finding ways to deal with it ever since.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu
I was diagnosed during a golf tournament when I was 13 years old. I remember sitting with my babysitter at the doctor’s office when my doctor came out and told me that the tests showed I have diabetes. The first year with diabetes was the worst I have experienced. I withdrew from friends, family, and activities that I enjoyed. I began to feel like an outcast and was labeled as the “sick kid” in school because of my daily trips to the nurse’s office. I began to resent diabetes, and constantly asked myself “Why me?”
“Instead of asking the question why me, ask yourself instead why NOT me?” – Dad
When I got my first A1C tested and it came back at a 13 my doctor decided it was time for me to get my priorities in check. She scared me so much that I began checking my blood sugars 6-8 times a day, made anyone I came in contact with aware that I had this disease, and began living my life again.
Beginning high school was nerve wracking because it was the first time I was going to such a big school, with kids that could potentially bully me about my disease. I was pleasantly surprised with the amazing group of friends, faculty members, and nursing staff that surrounded me. Everyone was really accepting and treated me like a normal kid.
Going into the spring I decided to join the men’s golf team. I made it through try-outs and started playing as the number one spot on the team, from the boy’s tees. Boy did some of those guys get jealous! Again I worried about dealing with lows, or ketones, or insulin failure while being on the course. Again I was amazed with the community of people who surrounded and supported me. I created a routine of checking my blood sugar on course, always had tons of snacks (which made me popular with my playing partners), and drank plenty of water. I had not only a great experience on the golf team, but I played varsity all four years, was made captain by my sophomore year, and won girls states four years in a row. With a diligent work ethic to constantly make my health a priority, as well as alerting my parents or coaches if I needed anything, I was very easily able to adjust to the demands of high school.
“One thing about championship teams is that they’re resilient. No matter what is thrown at them, no matter how deep the hole is, they find a way to bounce back and overcome adversity”- Nick Saban
Going off to college to play a Division 1 sport also faced its own challenges. A new environment, being away from home and parents, with different living and working schedules all posed their own unique challenges. And honestly freshman year I struggled to keep it all together. As I began playing for the team my game was probably the best it had ever been. I broke school records and was named the conference rookie of the year. At the same time I also had gained twenty pounds, was struggling to keep up with the nineteen credits I was taking, and wasn’t taking care of my diabetes. I constantly felt that wherever I succeeded in my life, there was another part of my life struggling to stay afloat.
I began seeing a therapist to help cope with all of the demands I was under. Working with her has changed my outlook on the obstacles that have formed in my life, and what outlook I should have on them. This year as a sophomore I have learned from my mistakes as a freshman. Shockingly, we cannot do it all! It is not possible to be superhuman! Some of the best advice I was given is that it is not necessary to be better than everyone else, but it is important to be YOUR best. This summer I dropped the weight I had gained. I now have all A’s. My golf game is going well, but will always be a work in progress-just like me! Importantly, my diabetes is back under control. It is amazing when I began to redirect my focus on the things that matter (health, happiness and school) how much better I felt.
“Everyone is handed adversity in life. No one’s journey is easy. It’s how they handle it that makes people unique”- Kevin Conroy