Diabetes: My Story
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was just 7 years old!
It was October 4, 1994, I was in 2nd grade, and it was just after lunch. My friends had just gotten to the playground for recess. Out of nowhere I collapsed to my knees and said, “I don’t feel well.” My friends asked me what was wrong and I just kept saying, “I don’t know. I just don’t feel well…”
The school called my mom, so she rushed over and picked me up. Luckily, I had an appointment scheduled that afternoon to get some blood work done, so we went to get a snack and then to the hospital for the blood draw. I drank a TON of Koolaid (I’m a ‘90s kid. 😎) with my snack because I was soooo thirsty.
We went home after the blood draw, and I was resting when the phone rang. My blood sugar was over 900 mg/dL. I heard my mom start crying – and she didn’t stop for the next 24 hours. She was an emergency room nurse at the time, and she’d seen what diabetes can do to people. Understandably, she was scared. My dad did his best to keep his cool and assured me that everything would be fine.
We went to the hospital and I stayed only one night before I was back home with my family, all of us learning how to handle this new feature of our lives.
Life With Diabetes in 1994
Luckily, I was diagnosed in 1994 – just one year after the seminal Diabetes Control and Complications Trial results were published. That trial showed that keeping blood sugar as close to normal as possible prevents complications.
DCCT and its follow-on studies proved that people with type 1 diabetes could live long, healthy lives if they were on intensive insulin regimens. I was also very lucky to have been assigned to a doctor who had type 1 diabetes herself and was very progressive in her approach to diabetes management.
In those early years before rapid acting insulins were available, I was put on an extremely strict diet (no sugar, minimal carbs) and I was taking Regular and Lente insulins. My whole life centered around avoiding lows and feeding my insulin as its effects peaked and waned throughout the day.
Those early years were so hard! But things rapidly got better in the late ‘90s as newer, faster, more stable insulins became available. Insulin pumps also became mainstream. And every time there was a new medication or device available, I was among the first to try it.
Life With Diabetes Today
And I still am! It’s part of why I love being at One Drop. Working in the diabetes space, I’m always aware of what’s coming next.
Today, I’m wearing an Eversense CGM (which I calibrate with my super sexy One Drop meter 😉) and I take Novolog, Tresiba, and Victoza to manage my blood sugar levels. Now, my life is centered around me and what I want to do, rather than avoiding low blood sugars.
The flexibility permitted by today’s medications means I can do so much more, without fear, and it’s such an incredible feeling. I’m so grateful for all the hard work and dedication of those who got us to this point, and I’m proud to be at One Drop working relentlessly to make things even better.
Diabetes Relationship Status: It's Complicated
Many people openly talk about being thankful or grateful for their diabetes diagnosis. But I am not thankful for diabetes.
I’m thankful to have been lucky enough to have had the support around me to ensure that I would live a full life despite diabetes. It never was a barrier I couldn’t overcome.
I'm also thankful for how diabetes gave me an objective example of how wonderful my family is. Everyone coming together to share the burden of diabetes with me is what enabled me to thrive, and I cannot thank them enough.
But, I am not thankful for diabetes. I can’t wait to be cured. I want to live in a world where no one is ever diagnosed with type 1 diabetes ever again. And if a cure isn’t possible, the next best thing is a system that takes the mental burden of managing diabetes off of me.
Managing diabetes is such a big part of my life, and I’m constantly thinking about it. I often wonder what I would do with all that mental energy if I didn’t have to spend it on blood sugars and insulin calculations.
This is another reason I’m excited about the work we are doing at One Drop. Through One Drop’s Predictive Insights feature, we are predicting blood glucose and delivering real-time advice, so we can all worry less.
If I can see how my blood sugar is trending for hours into the future, I can plan for it. And if One Drop tells me what to do to keep my blood sugars in range, even better! With that information, I can be proactive about diabetes, instead of just reacting to blood sugar excursions as they come.
Bottom line: If you can see the future, you can change the future.