My Journey With Diabetes
At age 46, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I went into the doctor’s office and I received an insulin pen, a prescription, and about 6 minutes with a nurse practitioner before being shown the door.
I was terrified. Confused. Angry. And feeling very alone.
Soon after I was diagnosed, I was about to go for a run. I took 3 units of insulin to correct for a snack I’d just eaten.
Rookie mistake. Riding in the elevator post-run, I had a severe hypoglycemic low. I not only blacked out, I knocked myself out when my head hit the marble floor.
I was out cold for over 45 minutes and could have died in that elevator. Luckily, the building management found me, revived me, got me a Coke, and I was back on my feet.
That’s when I decided: never again.
After throwing a pity party for myself, I went online to research this diabetes thing, thinking I could easily figure it out on my own. It was 2013. With the surge of biohackers, quantified-selfers, and big data health apps, surely there was some tech solution out there that would support me in powering my diabetes management.
Not a thing.
I searched for something — anything — that could take those daily calculations and numbers (the blood sugar checks, the medication logging, physical activity, food intake) and make sense of it all. But there was nothing.
So, after some soul-searching, I realized that I wanted to devote the rest of my life to empowering and transforming the lives of others with diabetes.
I created One Drop.
Since 2013, we have been working relentlessly to improve the lives of all people living with diabetes. And we will continue to do just that, for as long as it takes.
Let’s be clear, though. Diabetes is hard. It’s frustrating. It hurts. Having diabetes is a far more difficult endeavor than my doctor prepared me for, and continues to be a challenge to this day.
But there is another side to it.
I Am Grateful
Since being diagnosed and becoming part of this beautiful, powerful, heroic group of people, my diabetes perspective has evolved.
Instead of viewing diabetes as something that happened to me, something that negatively impacts my life, I look at it as something that empowers me, something that I make happen. It’s bionic. It’s my superpower.
It’s those times when I pull up my One Drop app during the day or check my blood sugar with my One Drop meter that I’m reminded of this. One Drop offers me a sharp reminder of my power to choose; the power I have, literally at my fingertips, to lead a healthier, more wonderful life, both for me and for my family.
Life happens quickly. Oftentimes, we’re overburdened with school, work, family, diabetes, a flurry of other conditions, and everything else. We often don’t take the time to breathe, to listen, to be aware, or to allow ourselves the opportunity to be thankful for what’s right in front of us.
But in having diabetes and engaging in it every single day, it reminds me to be present, mindful, humble, and grateful for all the blessings life has to offer.
This is an empowering perspective, one I never had until I was diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes has given me that glass-half-full outlook. With my diabetes, there’s always an opportunity for me to do better, to make better choices, and to live a better life. I’m now excited about making healthy choices for myself; at each juncture, I hold the power to make the best decision for myself because of the information I have in the palm of my hand.
Diabetes is awesomeness and badassery for me.
So, while I’ve lost a fully-working pancreas, I’ve gained clear accountability for taking charge of my own health. I’ve learned to think beyond the realms of disciplining my body and, instead, I choose to nourish it.
My Urge to You
Let’s make diabetes care happen — for ourselves.
We (and those before us) have come such a long way in diabetes advancements. But the current moment we’re in might just be the GOAT — the greatest of all time. We are absolutely on the brink of extraordinary possibility — we just have to figure out how to make it work for us.
We have a magnitude of potential right in front of us; there is a massive, untouched treasure trove of technology and information that we can use to our advantage.
Over half the world's population owns a smartphone, a number that is expected to rise to 70% by 2020, proving that many people already have 24/7 access to better health with a swipe of their finger. Compare that to the 1 in 11 adults worldwide who has diabetes, known or unknown. And that doesn’t include the children living with diabetes.
Clearly, there is a profound, global need for further advancements in diabetes care. And who better to lead the charge than us, the people living and breathing diabetes, every single day.
Let’s keep pushing — as a community, as a family — for change in the way we approach our health. We are already badass enough as it is; why not take it a step further? Why not empower even more people to take command of their health?
The innate possibilities for diabetes advancements (not to mention, other chronic conditions) in this untapped realm of tech are almost incomprehensible. But that’s just it — we’ve yet to realize the potential. Now, let’s do it.
We, people with diabetes, hold the key to transforming the power from ineffective, expensive, inaccessible healthcare. We can change the current dynamic, but we can only do it by joining forces, sharing ideas, raising our voices, working collaboratively, and doing it all, together.
Champions. Each and every one of us. And we'll get there, together.