April 24, 2009… diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes
October 21, 2011… first seizure as a result of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
January 26, 2012… second seizure as a result of hypoglycemia
March 31, 2018… Many of you have heard this story a million times. I have Type 1 diabetes (T1D). It’s an autoimmune disorder where I must inject myself with insulin on a daily basis to live. I’m lucky to be alive. I’m lucky this is something I can manage.
And yet part of the story you probably haven’t heard is how research and technology saved my life. In the span of four months back in 2011 and 2012, I experienced two seizures – one at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport and another at the Orlando International Airport (at least I’m consistent). I’m not only thankful for the TSA officials, EMTs and strangers who looked out for me on days when my troubles could have easily been dismissed, but I am thankful I had these experiences.
Because they led me to Gizmo.
That’s Gizmo, my first insulin pump. Thanks to Obamacare, in 2012, I could afford the advanced technology that would not only help me better manage my disease but would keep me alive. Without Gizmo, it’s possible I would have never experienced any of the following wonderful life happenings:
- Getting a Masters in Fine Arts and pursuing my love of creative writing full-time, including publishing a book on those early years living with diabetes
- Meeting some inspiring women, who also happen to be my best friends: Geneva, Dawn, Arielle and countless others
- Helping a mentor and friend self-publish a print edition of his first mystery novel at the age of 93 (and finding another mentor and friend, Patricia, in the process)
- Adopting Norm, my five-year-old black and brown tabby, a muse of joy
- Moving to Washington, DC, building my brand, connecting with others with T1D, and being a part of various advocacy efforts to make this world a better place
- Planning a family vacation at the age of 30 with my parents and brothers to one of my favorite childhood spots: Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains
It is now 2018 – my nine-year anniversary with T1D – and I have not experienced a seizure since that fateful day in 2012. I thank my own stubbornness and determination to keep myself alive, but I thank the research and the people who contributed to that life-saving technology (including those of you who donated to my JDRF One Walk campaign last year).
That is why this year I am not only walking to end Type 1 – I am walking for the research that saved my life. And over the next few months, I plan to carry Gizmo with me (I have since upgraded to a wireless insulin pump called Evie) and share all the wonderful moments I get to experience as a result of meeting Gizmo, including the JDRF One Walk in DC on June 3.
Show your support, register with Team Gizmo and keep raising awareness for Type 1. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the research. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.
— Tracy Gnadinger (@TracyGnadinger) March 30, 2018