When I was in 7th grade, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I remember very clearly that my fasting blood sugar was 357 and after breakfast it shot up to 682! I was in the hospital the next day, put on insulin, and had to eliminate any kind of sugar from my diet. I thought it was the end of the world.
After two years, I was up to six insulin shots a day. I told my doctor I no longer wanted this disease. Fortunately for me, he was a very progressive doctor who also had diabetes. He wore an insulin pump, and when he suggested that I try one, it changed my life.
Instead of giving myself all of those shots, I wore a pump that gave me insulin throughout the day. I still had to check my blood sugar, but I was able to get back to the activities I loved: running cross country, playing in the band, going to movies, and just being a kid.
Now, almost 30 years later, I’m working with Dr. Rajamani and the team at the Unity Diabetes Center. I’m so lucky that I’ve had doctors who are not afraid to try new approaches, and to keep trying until we find something that works. For example, I’m now using sensor technology because I don’t feel my lows as well as I used to. The sensor constantly monitors my glucose level and – along with the pump – helps me to keep my insulin levels steady.
I’ve been able to control my diabetes and keep my A1C at or around 6.0, and I’ve had no serious complications. It’s great to have such a supportive team of providers and family members to help me deal and live with this disease.
I check my sugar three to nine times daily, depending on how I’m feeling, and I try to eat right. I won’t lie: some days are harder than others, but overall, this is a manageable disease and I don’t let it define me or who I am.
I’ve also noticed how common diabetes is becoming. There used to be more of a stigma associated with this condition, which made you feel like you were different. But today, people talk about it. I think it’s important to get support from people who are going through the same thing as you. That’s why I’m active in the Unity Diabetes Online Community. I check the site a couple times a week, and I participate in the forums and chats.
If you’re considering going on an insulin pump or want to discuss creative ways to curb sweets cravings, I’d be happy to chat with you. Click here to send me an email. Just know that you are not alone!