From the outside, I look just like any other 21 year old. I’m a college student who loves to hang out with friends and probably should spend a few more hours at the library each week. The one thing that sets me apart is that my pancreases doesn’t work as well as I’d like it to.
My name is Miranda Tubilla and when I was 6 years old I was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. It was the morning before my family had planned to leave for our Christmas vacation that year. I had a check up with my pediatrician and my mom had mentioned that I had been taking frequent trips to the bathroom (we went to the grocery store once and I went 5 times!). They knew this was abnormal so they checked my blood sugar and saw it was at 435! Fortunately, they sent me to an endocrinologist immediately. After many tubes of blood were taken, the results came back, life with type 1, here I went. The next two days were spent at the doctor’s office receiving out-patient care, visits with nutritionists, and even more doctors. Looking back now, I am very grateful to not have had to go to the hospital. As a 6 year old, my outlook on life and this new disease I was living with could have been very different.
While this change was a physical one for me, I was 6, I could barely do my homework without my parents triple checking. This diagnosis was a much harder on my parents. I remember the terrified look on my mom’s face when she told me just a few years ago about the first night after my diagnosis. Giving me my first shot at home, this was just the beginning. I’ve always told people that being diagnosed at such a young age has been a true blessing in disguise. I never had to make a huge lifestyle change because I don’t remember life without T1D.
Taking good care of myself has been a task I have had to learn how to do and love. At my diagnosis I started taking 4 shots per day and now am up to 10 most days. The many finger pricks per day have turned into injections. With a Dexcom g6 continuous glucose monitor, I no longer have to prick my fingers and get 24/7 access to my current blood sugar level. Shots are not fun, but they are what has kept me alive and healthy this long. In February of this year my hba1c was at 5.8 and I can honestly say in my 15 years with this disease, I have never been under an 8.5. Living with this disease means you ride a never-ending rollercoaster.
I want to end my intro with a word of advice for all T1Ds and those who love and care for someone with T1D.
For those with T1D: Keep your head up, what I said is true: we are riding a rollercoaster. IT goes up and down but it also goes back to the loading dock where it is slow and even. Try everything until you find what works best for you.
For those who love and care for someone with T1D: Support those you love in the way they need it, remember that everyone is different. You can’t make someone take better care of themselves, it has to be a personal decision. Stand next to them and hold their hand the entire ride.
Having type 1 diabetes had forced me to learn a lot about both myself and others. It has taught me how important it is to take care of your body, take care of your mental health, and how you truly can’t judge a book by its cover. No-one knows that I have type 1 diabetes until I tell them.