On Friday 13th, 1992 at the age of 13 I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
It was also a historic flood in my town and looking back on the pictures from it, I could clearly see how sick I was. I had all the classics symptoms: thirst, urination, significant weight loss, fatigue and looked gaunt like a ghost. My blood sugar was around 1000, which at that point I had no idea what a dangerous situation I was facing.
Little did I know how much my life would truly change that day due to my diagnosis. Many people would think it would be devastating and this would be a negative thing, but this diagnosis made me who I am today. Don’t get me wrong there have been some high’s and low’s, literally and figuratively, but I always had the thought process that there are two paths you go with this disease. You either let it control you or you control it! I chose to control it and let this be a diagnosis that I would do my absolute best to not let define me.
I just hit my 25 year anniversary living with diabetes and that is something I am extremely proud of. I even got my Eli Lilly 25 year medal! I decided to go into the nursing field after finding out at a young age all the mis-information that was out there, even among medical professionals surrounding diabetes. Then, of course, my next step was to become a Certified Diabetes Educator. After college I became the Nursing Coordinator at Joslin Diabetes camps and then transitioned to a Pediatric Diabetes Nurse educator there as well. I always loved working with children and their families since I felt I truly could relate to what they were all going through. I really think having them see someone that had been living with this disease for so long and was healthy without complications was a really motivating and positive thing for many of them.
After starting a family or my own (6 year old son and 8 year old daughter), I continued as a diabetes educator, but now work with adults and pregnancy patients along with being a lifestyle health and fitness coach.
I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Bionic Pancreas trial in 2015-2016, which gave me such hope for the future for myself and my patients and friends living with this disease. I was told when I was diagnosed that there would be a cure in 10 years and obviously that didn’t happen, so having a device that could make life a little easier and more manageable with diabetes would be outstanding! Living without the constant fear of hyperglycemia, having to count every single carbohydrate you eat, being able to exercise without fear of hypoglycemia would be a true dream come true. Dare I say it….make me feel a little more “normal”.