Meet the One Drop Team: Rachel

One Droppers: Meet Rachel - One Drop

In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month, we're spotlighting some of the One Drop team members who live with diabetes.

Diabetes: My Story

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was just seven years old.

It was October 4th, 1994. I was in second grade and it was just after lunch. My friends and I had just gotten to the playground for recess and, 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, who rushed over and picked me up. Luckily, I already had an appointment scheduled that afternoon to get some blood work done. On the way, I had a snack and drank a ton of Kool-Aid (I'm a 90s kid) because I was so thirsty. 

The doctor called soon after we got home from the blood draw. My blood sugar was over 900 mg/dL. I heard my mom start crying. She didn’t stop for the next 24 hours. She was an emergency room nurse at the time and had 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. 

After spending one night in the hospital, I returned home. Then we, as a family, started learning how to handle this new feature of our lives.

Life With Diabetes in 1994

Luckily, I was diagnosed just one year after the seminal Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) results were published. The trial showed that keeping blood sugar as close to normal as possible prevents complications.

DCCT and its follow-up 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 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 was taking Regular and Lente insulins. My whole life centered around avoiding blood sugar 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 and insulin pumps became mainstream.

Every time there was a new medication or device available, I was among the first to try it.

Life With Diabetes Today

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And I still am! It’s part of why I love being at One Drop. As someone working in the diabetes space, I’m always aware of what’s coming next.

Currently, I’m wearing an Eversense CGM (which I calibrate with my One Drop meter) and I take Novolog, Tresiba, and Victoza to manage my blood sugar levels.

Today's medications allow me to live without fear and do so much more. It’s an incredible feeling. Unlike in the past, my life is now centered around me and what I want to do, rather than avoiding low blood sugars. I’m so grateful for all the hard work and dedication of those who got us to this point. I’m also 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 was never 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 came together and allowed me to thrive by sharing the burden of diabetes. 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 lowers—if not removes—the mental burden of managing diabetes.

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Managing diabetes is such a big part of my life. 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. Take One Drop’s Predictive Insights feature, which provides real-time blood glucose predictions and 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. Predictive Insights even tells me what to do to keep my blood sugars in range. 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.

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Rachel Sanchez-Madhur
Nov 07, 2019

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