At the end of fourth grade, I was drinking a lot of everything, more than most my age would, and I had no idea why. I didn’t see it as a problem–I got to drink a bunch of chocolate milk–but when I approached my science teacher with the issue, she mentioned the possibility of Type 1 Diabetes. Little did I realize that she was foreshadowing something major, regardless of my insistence that I did NOT have diabetes.
On July 15, 2009, I woke up early with major stomach and side pains, and even more concerning, unable to breathe. I quickly woke my dad up and notified him that I felt, in short, like death. Thankfully, I was blessed with empathetic parents who took my pain seriously, and my dad rushed me to our local emergency room. This hospital, I should note, was not equipped to handle juvenile diabetes, not even adults with diabetes, really, and we did not have a local endocrinologist until years later who could serve the needs of the local diabetics (both types one and two). As a result, they assumed my pains were due to a ruptured appendix. They had me drink the CAT scan fluid, and I remember being so thirsty–my voracious thirst had returned with a vengeance–that it tasted like Gatorade to me; I quickly sucked it down and asked for more.
At this point, my doctor came in and (essentially) told my parents, nurses, and I, “shut up and listen, this girl has diabetes.” I was shortly life-flighted to Texas Children’s Hospital, where they determined that I was deeply in a state of ketoacidosis, and that I was a confirmed type one.
I spent six days in that hospital, lucky enough to be taken care of by some of the best medical staff a child could ask for. The same endocrinologist who diagnosed me 10 years ago is still my endocrinologist. The past 10 years have been a long, arduous journey for me; they included learning how to give myself injections, a great deal of internalized ableism, learning how 504 plans and accommodations worked, realizing that few people know or care to learn about the specifics of type one, teaching 2-year-olds about diabetes, and finally, after 9.5 years, achieving my lowest ever A1c of 6.6%.
I now use both the Dexcom G6 and the Omnipod to manage my diabetes. Living with this condition is always a learning progress, but one I am glad to continue learning and teaching others about.
Until next time, and with a blood sugar of 69,