17…No it’s not the title of the next Taylor Swift song. Today, March 9th, marks the 17th year I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes. 17 years. Even as I type this, the thought that 17 years has gone by is hard to process. I remember that day so clearly and I am amazed at how technology and care have changed over the course of this time!
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease where your body attacks itself and destroys the beta cells that produce insulin. So essentially my pancreas just takes up space in my bod, and no I’m not sporting my high school beeper on my hip. That hunk of plastic is my lifeline. My insulin pump. One of my most valued possessions, and also the biggest nuisance in my life. 😉
Now, generally I poke fun of my being pancreatically challenged, and try to stay positive about it all (minus the obscenities that spew from my mouth when needing to change a site, or there is a random error). But I’m going to get REAL here…. It is F*ing tiresome! T1D is 24/7! A full time job that you do not get paid for, but this full time job is required for you to live! I look forward to the day where I can shut my brain off and not be consumed with thoughts of: what physical activity I just did or will do, what food I ate, will eat (or forgot to bolus for), counting carbs (and of course whether there is protein and fat), carrying extra supplies, concerns of complications, oh wait – am I feeling funny? let me double check that. To be honest I’m not really sure what is like to just feel “normal” for a day. That is just a glimpse as to what goes on in this noggin – not to mention the trials and tribulations of cost, insurance coverage, and the ever comical dealing with fashion, insulin pumps and the paraphernalia that goes with it! 😉
As I look back on the last 17 years, I do have a sense of hope. A special thanks to JDRF for the research they do! While en route to a cure they are also making huge strides in increasing the quality of life in T1Ds for the better! The medical technology and innovation never ceases to amaze me! Here is a quick look at how some of my care has changed:
First Diagnosis: Injections and Finger Sticks
Pre-insulin pump. Eating calculated amounts of food at scheduled times (regardless of whether or not I was hungry). Multiple injections per day (mixing two insulins – one fast acting and one slow) and this number of injections was to increase. Reluctant at first, was then convinced to try a newer device : the Insulin Pump!
Photo: This Inject Ease made it easier to give myself shots. FACT: I still to this day have a very difficult time with inserting/injecting anything: syringes, pump site changes, CGM changes – I LOATHE it. It does not matter how long I have been doing this, that fact will never change. Despite the feelings of hatred, I do always end with a sense of surprise and pride once I complete the task! 🙂
My First Insulin Pump:
This contraption opened up a whole new world! Less injecting (though still finger pricking), a more flexible schedule, and being able to eat different foods and amounts of carbs! Oh the taste of freedom, while being tethered to something 24/7! Ironic no? PHOTO: A loyal Medtronic Minimed Pump user – this is my current insulin pump, it has evolved in features over the years – again technology is amazing, and the changes are all for the better!
TODAY: Insulin Pump and Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)
Yes, people things are getting Bionic! I wear a pump that supplies my insulin and now I wear a separate gadget that reads my blood sugar throughout the day! Although I still have to use a glucometer – the CGM lets me know if my blood sugar is dropping, going high or just staying steady! It has truly changed my life! Thank you DEXCOM!
Next stop (with continued research) will be the Artificial Pancreas!
WOW. We really have come a long way! As I reflect on these thoughts, of myself and the millions of others who suffer from T1D, I am reminded of how we are some truly INCREDIBLE, STRONG DIA-BADASSES, who fight everyday and most people don’t even know!
Help me me turn Type One to Type None: HERE
Stay Fit Stay Fly!