On June 4, 2017, I’ll be taking part in the JDRF One Walk to change the future for myself and everyone affected by Type 1 diabetes (T1D).
When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 8 years ago, I didn’t have a family history. No one really knows why my pancreas stopped working. But it did. And it has greatly affected my life. When I was admitted to the hospital with a blood sugar of 690 on April 24, 2009, I shouldn’t have been alive much less standing. I like to think my body is fighting for me even if it is ultimately the one that failed me. But I can’t win this fight alone.
Join me on June 4 or donate to my Sugarcoated team. Help me turn Type 1 into Type none.
What Exactly Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.
(I also love how they note insulin is not a cure.)
People told me there would be a cure in my lifetime. But there hadn’t been in a cure in 2,000+ years. I was less optimistic. But in the eight years I’ve had Type 1 diabetes, I have gone from injecting my insulin with a vial and syringe to an insulin pump (aka Gizmo) and then recently to a pod (aka Evie). I used to prick my finger 10-12 times a day to check my blood sugar, and now I use a continuous glucose monitoring system (aka Cosmo) to monitor those levels 24/7… from my phone.
Yet in those same eight years, I experienced two life-threatening seizures as a result of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) – often a result of overestimating an insulin dose and not recognizing my blood sugar was dropping so fast. So a few weeks ago when I turned 30, I celebrated the fact I was still alive with this disease.
I hope to be alive for a long time. But it’s not easy.
I Have No Days Off From T1D
Just a few months ago, I called my mom late at night balling my eyes out. My blood sugar had been all over the place that day – from severe highs to intense lows. And not only did my body feel like shit, but I felt like shit for not being able to control it, for not understanding why—it seemed—my body had failed me.
My mom, being the good mother she is, didn’t reprimand me. She didn’t even reprimand my disease. She empathized, acknowledging that not every day with this disease is easy but I was doing the best that I could, and that was okay.
It is okay, but it could be better.
What Will T1D Look Like in 2050?
Here are some numbers for you (courtesy of JDRF):
- 25 million Americans are living with T1D including about 200,000 youth (less than 20 years old) and over a million adults (20 years old and older)
- 40,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
- 5 million people in the U.S. are expected to have T1D by 2050, including nearly 600,000 youth.
I never get a day off from Type 1 diabetes. There is no cure. But JDRF is working to change that. I invite you to join me. Help us turn Type 1 into Type none. As much as I love Gizmo and Evie, help me raise funds so that one day children will not have to have a Gizmo or Evie to live.
Visit my fundraising page and donate today!
If you’re interested in walking with me on June 4, join my Sugarcoated team!
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out in the comments section below. Thank you, as always, for your support.