Posted on: April 2, 2023 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Isabelle Deane, JRN 111 student

Elizabeth Scott has a laugh that is contagious and a personality that uplifts anyone who interacts with her. Friends adore her spontaneous adventures to get ice cream or to go out on a weekday. Everything she does is with a smile, even if she doesn’t feel her best. 

At just 13, Scott was diagnosed with diabetes. The diagnosis was overwhelming for her, as she had never experienced any health issues before.

She had to learn at a young age to be cautious and closely monitor her blood sugar levels.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Scott

“I was a little shocked,” she said. “It was a lot for a 13-year-old. But I knew what it was because my mom had a friend whose son had diabetes since he was 2. It wasn’t anything new to me, but dealing with it myself, it was new.”

In her first week after her diagnosis, she experienced her first big challenge.

“I was blind for a week when I was first diagnosed,” she said. “My blood sugar was so high that the insulin coming back into my body made my vision become so blurry and dull.

“That was an interesting time. At 2 a.m. every night, I had to check my blood sugar and it was a lot. I had a journal to track what I was eating too.”  

Despite the challenges she faces with her diabetes, Scott has not let it hinder her accomplishments. She graduated from Moraine Valley in the summer of 2021 with an associate’s degree in multimedia design.

 “I don’t think I ever knew anyone at Moraine who had diabetes like me,” she said.

Now 23, she is studying graphic design at Arizona State University. Her experience at Moraine has made her realize that talking to others about her condition could help her mental health. 

Living with diabetes means Scott has to be mindful of what she eats since high and low blood sugar levels can have side effects such as headaches, fatigue, and confusion.

She often finds herself answering questions and clearing up misconceptions about her condition, such as “You can’t eat that, can you?” and “But you’re not fat. How do you have diabetes?”

The comments are frustrating, as people often do not understand the complexity of living with diabetes.

“In a social setting, it’s hard because people notice me checking my blood sugar and I still continuously get asked questions about it. ‘You can’t eat that’ is the biggest comment I have an issue with when I’m in public.” 

Not only did she have hardships with her diagnosis, but her parents had to adapt to new financial problems as well. Her mom, Judy Scott said one of the challenges was finding where to get her insulin. 

“She is allergic to the generic version of insulin which is cheaper, but since that issue, we have been ordering her insulin from Canada,” Judy Scott said. “It is cheaper, but there are still issues with price and insurance as well. Sometimes I just wish health care would be free for everyone.” 

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Scott
Sarah, Elizabeth, Judy, Craig and Matt Scott pose in a family photo.

Both Judy and Elizabeth have to jump through hoops to make sure orders and prescriptions are in so they get her supplies in time. If she didn’t have her insulin pods in time, then she had to prick her finger all day long to make sure her blood sugar was normal, which has happened a few too many times. 

Despite the challenges she faces, Scott says “there are more good days than bad ones.” Even if she does not believe it entirely, she wants others to follow that. She has found support in Facebook and Snapchat groups where she and other diabetics express their thoughts and feelings.

Most recently she has been more open with her doctors about her condition. Her parents and brother have also been helpful throughout her journey with diabetes, and she is grateful for their support.

“My family is always there, and I can really count on them even if I feel I can’t go to them at times. No matter what they will always be there for me.” 

Living with diabetes is a constant battle, but Elizabeth Scott is determined not to let it hold her back. She encourages others who may be struggling with health issues to ask for help and talk to someone about their experiences and how they are really feeling.