On Juggling College, Diabetes, and Losing Your InPen

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Grant Sechler's Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis Story

I started off my sophomore year of college at the University of Texas and things were going great. But I had progressively been losing weight and was mildly struggling in school. Academics that used to come easily were more of a struggle.

I wasn't trying to lose weight at the time. I’ll admit, I’d put on the Freshman 15 (or more) the year before, but thought maybe it came off like it came on; I was perfectly fine. All the girls would come up to me and would say “OMG, Grant you have lost so much weight!”

I felt normal. As the year went on, my family and many others told me the same. It was July of 2017 that I decided I should go see my doctor for a routine check up. I immediately told my doctor I had lost weight without trying. He weighed me and said "Grant, you have lost 45 pounds in one year."

I freaked. The next day, on August 15, 2017, my old middle school girlfriend (who has type 1 diabetes) added me on Snapchat; one hour later my, doctor called and said "Grant, you have type 1 diabetes."

I remember dropping to the ground, crying, and thinking, “I have a disease, and this will change the rest of my life.

My family and I were in shock. No one in my family has type 1 diabetes. We knew nothing! As scared as I was, I wasn’t sure exactly what it was I was scared of....

Living and Learning With Type 1 Diabetes 

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes one week before the start of my junior year of college. At first, it was incredibly hard to adapt to my new life. Not to mention, I was living in a fraternity house: not an ideal living environment for someone with type 1.

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My first semester at school was challenging. But the support from family and friends was AMAZING! I have a great support system! And even in my lowest and most difficult days, they were there.

I had to learn fast, and not without many mistakes along the way. But eventually, I got the hang of it. My dietitian helped a lot. I was quickly educated on sugars, carbohydrates, and insulin dosing. I am grateful for all the new technology and research that makes type 1 diabetes more manageable now than ever before.

Every day is a different day with diabetes. It really is a FULL TIME JOB. My keys to my living with diabetes are a balanced diet, working out, and monitoring my body throughout the day. I’ve now been a diabetic for three years and am able to keep my sugar levels fairly balanced.

The Craziest Part of It All

This past October, the diabetes world exposed its magic to me. 

I'm a new user of the InPen, an easy-to-use bluetooth insulin pen that not only helps calculate your doses, but also keeps track of those insulin doses on your phone.

I was in New York City visiting my girlfriend (who, I’d like to mention, is such an amazing support and blessing in my life). I had taken an Uber, and later realized I lost my InPen. I was terribly disappointed and not even sure where I’d lost it. I’d only been using it for 2 months and loved how easy and smart it was for me, and how much simpler it made my life.  

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My mom (being the awesome mom she is) made me put a label on the pen in case I ever lost it. I was walking around New York City with my girlfriend when a New York phone number called me. I answered, thinking it was a restaurant calling about a reservation.

Instead, I heard, "Hi, yes, I have your InPen.” 

I responded, thinking this was a soliciting phone call, with, "No, I already have an InPen, I don’t need another."

The person on the other line responded, "No, I found your InPen. My name is Jeff Dachis, and I am holding your InPen in the Uber I’m in right now."

I knew exactly who Jeff was: he is a legend in the diabetes community. Being the millennial I am, I had researched his technology before. When he said it was him, I thought: there is no way this is actually Jeff Dachis.

He kept going: "I found your phone number on your InPen and want to get it back to you."

I was shocked. Jeff Dachis, Founder & CEO of One Drop, has my InPen in his hands right now and wants to give it back to me!

I explained how I would love to get it from him, but was heading back to Texas the next day. He asked where I lived; when I told him Austin he said, "I actually have an office in Austin. Would you mind if I gave it to someone in my office there?"

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Of course!,” I said, “That would be great!” I called my mom that instant. I knew it was a God moment and wanted to share it with her. And of course, I thanked her for the label.

A few weeks later my InPen was back in Austin. I still cannot get over the fate.

The Silver Lining of Diabetes 

I truly believe that anyone with type 1 diabetes can fight the fight. Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can. I wasn’t living at home when I was diagnosed and really had to learn on my own. Sure, it’s a tough fight to manage.

But I’m lucky to have the support of family and friends, and thankful for all of the innovations.

And to be totally honest, until writing this I hadn’t told my story. It’s been cathartic. I’ve been inspired the last 3 years, reading the stories from fellow people with type 1 diabetes. I hope my story can inspire now, too.

And thank you, Jeff, for finding my InPen and creating this serendipitous opportunity.

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Mary Elizabeth Adams
Dec 14, 2019

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