My name is Raquel Baron and I have had type 1 for 17 years. This disease is incredibly difficult, but time has brought better numbers and a deeper understanding of how my body operates. Even though it has been a difficult journey, type 1 has taught me responsibility, persistence, and how to listen to my body. It is definitely a different rollercoaster for everyone, but we all start somewhere!
It all began around my 5th birthday, after I refused to eat cookies at my friend’s house. My mom knew something was wrong, because out of all people, I was not one to turn down sweets! A few days later, I just so happened to have my five-year-old check-up with my pediatrician. After running the normal tests, we were alerted that I had high blood sugar, but they showed no concern considering the birthday cake I had eaten the day before. They asked me to come in again the next morning after eating a sugary breakfast, and again the following day while fasting. After 3 long days of tests, the doctor officially told my mom that I had type 1 diabetes.
The next few days were spent in the hospital where I remember little glimpses of getting woken up for insulin shots, finger pricks, and many tears. I asked my mom the question that no mom should ever have to answer: “will I have to get shots every day for the rest of my life?”. The years following my diagnosis consisted of strict meal times and carb requirements, and again, lots of tears anytime a needle was coming my way. I promise though, it got better!
Sixteen years later, my life with type 1 is a whole different ball game. With time came so many learning experiences, knowledge, and new technology. I can truthfully say now that diabetes is not who I am, but I am me because of what type 1 has taught me. I am about to enter my senior year as a dance major at The University of Texas at Austin and have never felt more in control of my diabetes. It is not something that holds me back, but instead something I work with every day to fit into what I want my life to be. Yes it is hard, and I do have horrible days, but overall I control diabetes instead of letting it control me. It took me a long time to embrace having this disease, but through finding a type 1 community online and in college, I have become proud of how I deal with this disease and see no reason to hide it. I am excited to be co-presidents of Type Texas, the UT Austin chapter of the College Diabetes Network as well as working with Better Living Technologies this year in hopes of spreading awareness and better ways to live with t1d.
Let’s walk through this disease together.