The first day of junior year in high school, I had an annual check-up with my pediatrician. It was a normal Wednesday, I went to school and then got picked up by mom to go to my appointment. At the appointment, a nurse pricked my finger to check my blood sugar level and it was high. The pediatrician told my mom to take me to the ER immediately because the glucose test was higher than it should be. I got to the ER and there they pricked my finger again and the results came of 415 mg/dl, the normal range for a person without diabetes is 100 mg/dl. After sitting in the waiting room of the ER from 4pm-1am, I finally got admitted into a room where a group of doctors told me I had Type 1 Diabetes. On September 2, 2009 at the age of seventeen, my life changed forever.
What is diabetes? “A disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.” There are two well known types of diabetes: type one and type two, although there is also gestational diabetes. Why is insulin important? “Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).” I have type 1 diabetes which means that my pancreas does not produce the necessary insulin to breakdown carbohydrates and convert it into energy. Because my body does not make insulin, I must take insulin shots.
There are several ways of taking insulin, there are insulin vials and injections, insulin pens and needles, and there is an insulin pump. I use insulin pens because they are more convenient for me and after opening they can be kept at room temperature in my purse. I have a FreeStyle meter which I use to check my blood sugar levels and make sure they are in normal range. The blue pen is Humalog and is fast-acting insulin I take before each meal, and yes, that means I must take around 4-5 shots to cover meals and snacks. The gray pen is Lantus which is a long-acting insulin which works for 24 hours and is taken at bedtime. If I ever skip a dose of Humalog or do not take enough insulin, Lantus helps so my sugar levels do not rise. The purple box contains pen needles and those are tiny one time only needles screwed on to the insulin pens every time I must inject myself and thrown away afterwards.
I’ve had diabetes for eight years and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been admitted into the hospital several times but I will not give up. I have a great support system full of people who love and care about me. Without them I would not have been able to deal with this because there are days were I just want to stop trying and get down but I know that it will be okay. I have hope that one day there will be a cure and I will be able to pronounce those great words “I don’t have diabetes anymore”.