I was diagnosed with Type 1 on November 20, 2015. I had been losing weight and had other symptoms too, but I didn’t have any family history of T1D, so finding high blood sugar (BG) levels in routine bloodwork was a real surprise.
The truth is, there’s never an ideal time to be diagnosed, but November 20th was already a tough day. My grandfather had passed away the day before. When we got off the plane to attend the funeral, my mom had a voicemail from my doctor. She returned the call and my doctor made it official; I had the antibodies.
That first year was incredibly difficult; I was terrified of needles, and I hated MDI. When I first got a pump, I refused to put it on my stomach (which is now my favorite site) because I was worried it would hurt more than other places. I missed the last 10 minutes of every class before lunch so I could go to the nurse’s office to dose for my meal…and I missed a lot of math in the process (fractions, yuck!).
Now, six years later, Type 1 is just another part of my life. I’ve learned all the tricks, and I can guesstimate the carbs of almost anything. Does it sometimes cause some irritating issues (like having a pump failure and high BG right before a test)? Of course. But I know how to manage it (temp basals are friends!). My continuous glucose monitor (CGM) alerts are set to notify me so I can manage a high or low before it becomes a problem. I’ve got a bag packed with my “gear” so I can just grab it without thinking about what I need every time I walk out the door, lots of clothes with pockets so I always have my PDM and phone handy, and my BG readings on my laptop and smartwatch for easy access.
My mom started listening obsessively to a TID podcast and constantly shares the host’s pearls of wisdom. Annoying as that can be, we’ve learned a lot and now my A1C is down and my variability is much more even (but it can always be better).
When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t know any other diabetics who could reassure me. I’m hoping I can help others by being a JDRF Youth Ambassador and representing the T1D community. I’m really looking forward to my involvement with the JDRF community to support the vision of a world without T1D. I also want to tell you something I wish another Type 1 diabetic had had told me when I was first diagnosed: it will all be okay. Change is scary and not exactly fun, but you’ll learn what works for you. Type 1 can’t stop you. As Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor (who is also a Type 1 diabetic) said, “difficulty can tap unexpected strengths.”
Your dreams are waiting. Go chase them (but maybe strap on a fanny pack full of essentials first)!
Serving as a Youth Ambassador is an incredible opportunity for those who want to use their voice to make a difference in the local communities. Join Eve and the many others who will represent the Greater NYC Chapter in 2022. Applications must be submitted by December 3, 2021. If you have any questions, please reach out to Betsy Paffmann, Sr. Manager, Community Engagement.