In 2012, during her junior year at Michigan State, Kelsea Solo started not feeling well. Trying to figure out what was wrong, she consulted WebMD with her symptoms – weight loss, excessive thirst, increased hunger, frequent urination. Her verdict: Type 1 diabetes (T1D).
To confirm her diagnosis, Kelsea visited an on-campus clinic, but staff scoffed at the results of her online research. She demanded a blood test, which revealed her blood sugar exceeded 700mg/dL. A stay at the hospital in her hometown and a variety of tests proved Kelsea’s suspicions. At age 20 and with no history of the disease, she joined the T1D club. She and her family were stunned.
“I thought it was odd. Like most people, I associated type one with kids, not adults, and I don’t have any relatives who have it. I don’t even have any close friends, or anyone I know, with T1D. It was overwhelming,” said Kelsea.
Always one to be prepared, Kelsea used her organization skills to tackle T1D head-on. She always planned ahead for the day’s activities – whether it was a day of classes, work or outings with friends – and carried supplies, snacks and glucose tablets with her wherever she went.
She explained her T1D to her roommates and friends, and they always knew where Kelsea’s supplies were in case she needed help. Her friends understood that Kelsea had to be even smarter about drinking and parties than your average college student.
Sleeping at night still worried Kelsea, so she woke up regularly to check her blood sugar. Within a year she received her continuous glucose monitor, and within two years, an insulin pump.
“At first I hated the idea of having something always connected to me day and night. It makes an invisible illness visible, which was difficult to deal with at first,” said Kelsea. “But very quickly I saw how much easier it made managing my T1D, and I didn’t care anymore. It helped get my highs and lows in control. I could sleep more through the night knowing I had these devices available to alert me.”
Kelsea will participate in One Walk for the first time this year with family and friends, as Team Kelsea at JDRF One Walk – Dexter on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at Hudson Mills Metropark.
“I still don’t really know anyone else with T1D, so I’m hoping to make some connections with others who share this experience,” she said.
If you haven’t already, sign up for JDRF One Walk today. Not only could you make new friends, like Kelsea, your participation will help turn Type One into Type None by funding important research for a treatment and cure.