Talking Type 1: Hannah Crone

This week, we are sharing personal stories of what it’s like to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult. Today we’ll meet Hannah, whose college career was interrupted, but not derailed, by type 1.

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Name: Hannah Crone

Age: 21 (diagnosed at age 19)

Location: Port Lavaca, Texas

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on Feb. 11, 2011. It was a complete and total shock to me. I knew that something was wrong, but I would have never guessed diabetes. I had lost about 10 pounds in six months and had the classic symptoms of thirst, frequent urination, hunger and weakness. I was a sophomore in college, and looking back now, I can see how even my grades were suffering as a result of my undiagnosed disease. For every class, I would take notes, pay attention, study hard and walk away from a test thinking I aced it—then the grade would come back an F.

When I went to the doctor, my blood glucose was around 300 mg/dl (normal range is about 80 to 140, depending on the time of day or when you have last eaten). She told me how blessed I was to have caught it so early.

Still, I don’t think anything can prepare you for that diagnosis. I was devastated and cried a lot that day. I remember the first thing I said was, “That’s the bad one, isn’t it?” I knew I was going to have to give myself shots, and I kept thinking about Valentine’s Day coming up and how I wouldn’t be able to have any chocolate.

I had taken anatomy in college, so I knew of type 1 but didn’t really know type 1. I was one of those people who heard the word “diabetes” and thought of some old, overweight person who had to eat a healthy diet and take a morning pill.

I live in a small town with only a small emergency hospital and clinic. I had no way of getting insulin right away because I was diagnosed on a Friday, and I couldn’t get in to see an endocrinologist until the following Monday. I didn’t know what to do and didn’t know what to eat. I spent all of my time online trying to find answers and was overwhelmed.

But once Monday came around and I was finally able to see the doctor, everything got better. My A1C (a measure of a person’s average blood glucose level over the past two to three months) was around 10, and I learned how to check my glucose and give myself insulin shots. I was still scared, but I was coming to terms with my disease. I think that’s one of the things that type 1s do so well usually—coming to terms with their diabetes.

I am now 21 years old. My most recent A1C was a 6, and I’m on a pump. I love my pump. It’s made my life a lot easier, even though it’s still a challenge. I’m still new to this disease, but I think I’m learning pretty well.

My family has been really great about my diabetes. They’ve tried their best to learn with me, and while they don’t quite understand everything yet, they’re getting better. Friendships can be hard in college, but I’m thankful for the good friends I have who don’t mind when I pull out my insulin pen to give myself a shot in the middle of lunch. It’s really just about finding the true friends who will accept you and your diabetes.

I’m definitely looking forward to the day when all of us are cured.

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25 Responses to Talking Type 1: Hannah Crone

  1. humera says:

    Hi Hannah,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am a Diabetic myself since, I was 12. Good that you have your family support, unfortunately in Pakistan diabetes is considered killer disease. Actually ist a body deficiency just like eyes being weak. No one takes that as an abnormal ailment. I had a very depressed and anxiety in my life which further complicated my sugar imbalance. But still i am alive and fighting it.. Thanks again for a wonderful story of your courage 🙂 … Keep sharing u never know who may get inspired .

    • Hannah Crone says:

      Humera,

      I’m so sorry about your depression and anxiety. I understand those feelings and I wish you the best. God bless you!

      • humera says:

        Thanks for your wishes ..I wish you health and happiness too…Just keep inspiring people with your courage 🙂 ..Take care

    • ubaid says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I am a Diabetic myself since the age of 4 yrs. i am a post graduate science student undergoing the treatment of AIIMS, NEW DELHI.

  2. Stacie says:

    Hannah – Thanks for sharing your story. My Mom was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 40, which was a complete shock to us! I certainly had the same idea of diabetics, as either children – or overweight adults – that you did. My Mom was then (and is now) a fit woman who had always been conscious of her diet and exercised. I’m so happy that you have a supportive family and friends and feel comfortable sharing with others. My Mom struggled a lot with telling others about her diabetes at first, I think because of her worry that she’d be a burden to others. Now she is more open about it and my Dad helps her keep a close watch on her sugar level at all times. She is now in her 60s, and I do worry about her future health but also see that she is managing great. She doesn’t have the pump and I wonder if she would consider it or be a good candidate for it? Thanks again for speaking out and I too hope for the day diabetes is cured. Stacie

    • Barb says:

      Stacie, I was also diagnosed at 40 and very similar to your mom. I went on the pump almost 4 years ago and it changed my life. I’m 47 now and going strong. Barb

      Hannah, Great story !

    • Hannah Crone says:

      Stacie,

      God bless you and your family. I absolutely encourage you to research the pump. There are all different types and brands. I have a Medtronic minimed. I have been impressed by Medtronic and their time and attention to my well being. I wish you the best in whatever you choose.

  3. Patti Logas says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Hannah. I know that having diabetes is very challenging and some days are definitely better than others. Many, many people do not understand the needs of a diabetic ~ they THINK they do, but they really don’t. I am not diabetic, but my husband is. He was diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 38; he is 56 now. My mother and my maternal grandfather both had Type 2 beginning around the age of 75. My husband and I worry about our 2 young adult sons. Knowing that diabetes can run in families and knowing that it is a life changing diagnosis, we hope that they never have to deal with it on a personal level. I salute your courage and your willingness to do what you have to do to stay healthy. So many people live in denial ~ it’s a struggle, to be sure ~ but acceptance and a strong will to survive are key. Take care and thank you, again, for your willingness to share.

  4. Zach Wissen says:

    Hi Hannah,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I actually have a very similar story to yours as well. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 19 during the first week of sophomore year of college. I still haven’t tried out a pump yet but I know it would make my life a little easier. I use the novolog insulin pen. When I was diagnosed I had a blood sugar of 258 and I thought my life was over as a normal person was over. Nowadays I embrace it as a reason to get in shape and do more new things everyday and push myself to succeed in everything I do.

    • Hannah Crone says:

      Zach,

      I am glad that neither of us let our diabetes stop us from living our “normal” lives. The pump is definitely something to look into. I can’t say it’s for everyone because there are times even now when I just want to take it off and throw it against the nearest wall. However, it has made my diabetes management much easier.
      God bless you!

  5. Heather says:

    Hi Hannah,

    I had a very similar experience; I was a junior in college when I was diagnosed and am now 23 and work in marketing. It was hard being diagnosed at 20 not only because life doesn’t stop to let you adjust to your new situation, but also because the “Juvenile” tag leads many people to assume we are type 2. It can be exhausting explaning the different types of diabetes and the “we’re not really sure how I got this disease” story. Hearing “well if you just excercise and diet maybe it will go away” is something I still hear on a regular basis; needless to say that is probably the hardest (and most annoying!) part of this disease for me.

    I appreciate you sharing your story! It’s nice to know that someone out there really knows how I felt when I was diagnosed 🙂

  6. Erin says:

    Hi Hannah. Thanks for sharing your story. I to, was diagnosed as an adult at age 19. I was in between my 1st and 2nd year of college and had the exact same symptoms as you did. Unfortantely, i caught mine a lot later than you did and found myself so dehydrated that the nurses struggled just to get an IV in me to start fluids. I lost 30 lbs in a little over a month and thought i was going to die of thirst. I woke up one more so sick I couldnt even keep water down. Thats when I visited the dr, then the emergancy room, and off to the hospital for some time in ICU hooked up to every machine you could think of. I was blessed enough to catch it in time before my body went into acoma. My blood sugar was over 600 and had been high for sometime. I am now 27, and after many years of denial and struggles to get the supplies I need I am now on the right track. I also have the pump and its been so helpful! I’ve been having regular meetings with a diaticin getting myself on a meal/exercise plan and getting my A1C low enough so my husband and I can start a family. Its now at 7.1 so not much further to go. It feels great to hear your story and to know Im not the only one that has struggled with this disease. I wish you the best of luck! 🙂

  7. Debra Ogdin says:

    I was diagnosed Type 1, March 13, 2001 @ 34 yrs. of age. Blood glucose was nearing 900 andI lost 45lbs rapidly. I had severe sores, thirst, fatigue and confusion until my sister came to NY from Virginia to take me to the dr. I told her I felt like I was dying and she was @ my home within less than 15hrs. Doctor said I would’ve died in 3 to 4 days if I did not get to hospital. I had Ketoacidosis. Don’t wait if you have these symptoms. Get your glucose checked.

  8. Justin says:

    It’s quite a shock when you’re diagnosed, even after you’ve suspected that you have Type 1 but still not quite believing it until your endocrinologist pricks your finger, reads the meter and proclaims, “Yup; you have diabetes.” That happened to me when I was 34, after having been in solid physical shape all my life. Now 40, I’ve adjusted to giving myself shots, taking readings several times a day and doing what I can to stay within “normal” ranges. I mean, what else are you going to do? You have to do what is necessary to stay healthy, for yourself and for your family, and if that is what you have to do, you do it.

    At this point, after A1c readings in the 6s or low 7s, I’m not pushing to get the pump, but I do pay attention to the latest articles about studies covering stem cells and the effect on “kick-starting” the pancreas of those with Type 1, and hope for advances in that area, but it doesn’t rule my life, other than having to remember to bring backups and check whether I have enough insulin before I travel. 😉 Remember, you HAVE diabetes, but you don’t have to label yourself as a DIABETIC. There’s a difference. 😉

  9. Brittany Miller says:

    Hi Hannah…..normally I don’t respond to many things, but I had to respond to yours. Though I am 16 years older than you, I was also diagnosed in college at the age of 21, and our stories are very similiar. I admire you for being able to share yours and reach out to other diabetics. You are completely correct in finding those supportive friends who accept and encourage you throughout your daily life with diabetes. I had very supportive friends and family who even went to classes with me so they could learn all they could about this disease.
    I was on shots for just over a year, and then I went on an insulin pump. I am so happy that I did!! I have had 2 successful pregnancies (one of them TWINS) and fortunately my A1C never went over 6.2. I am extremely blessed to have wonderful doctors who have helped me so much, and especially blessed to have 3 healthy children.
    I am happy that you are doing so well in coming to terms with your diabetes. That was hard for me at first, but now it is like second nature. Of course, everyone has their “ups and downs”, but just keep hanging in there. Like you, I cannot wait until the day that there is a cure. God Bless!!

  10. bonjour ,
    je suis solidaire avec toi , et je te souhaite bon courage , je sais que c est difficile mais sois courageuse 🙂
    adil de Paris .
    🙂

  11. Lora says:

    Hi Stacie,
    I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic at the she of 9. I Was a healthy child, active, and not over-weight. I was on multiple daily injectiions until I was 28. I came to a point ın life when I could’ve not stand the thought of injecting one more syringe filled with insulin into my bruised skin even one more time. I went onto an insulin pump a week later, after meeting with my doctor. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. One year later, I went into a CGM and that made life SO much easier! I now am aware of my glucose levels all day long. I am 35 years old and doing well. Consider going with your mom to her doctor to discuss options for her to go on a pump with a CGM (continuous glucose monitor). It real does make life easier. Best of luck!

  12. kerry says:

    Hi Hannah,
    Thanks for sharing your experince with coming to terms with your Diabetes. I myself was diagnosed almost a year and half ago.I am 25 years old extremley healthy and active so having the diagnoses of Type 1 crushed me. The emotional rollacoaster was tough, but at the end of the day Diabetes can not control your life only you can. I have my good days and bad, however the more I learn and hearing of other people like yourself insipre me.

  13. Fatima says:

    Hi Hannah! Thank you for sharing your story, I can’t imagine being diagnosed in college.I’m currently a senior in college too and I keep a very busy schedule that’s why I can’t imagine being diagnosed on top of that. I have type 1 and I was diagnosed when I was 10. You’re really strong for handling it when I bet there was so much going on!!

    I too wish so, so much there was a cure for all of us.

    Keep taking care of yourself 🙂

  14. Steve Sawyer says:

    Hi Hannah,
    Today I’m “celebrating” my 67th birthday, but I was diagnosed as a diabetic when I took a physical for a summer job at the end of my first year of law school.. I was 26 at the time. I can totally identify with your feelings of shock and devestation. I went through much of the same. At that ime I weighed 240 pounds and my doctor, believing I had to be a type 2, assured me that if I lost weight, he could take me off insulin. I lost 70 ponds, to a weight 10 pounds less than I wrestled at in high school. Of course, I never did get off insulin. Instead, over time, I learned all I could about my condition and how I could live a full life while accommodating it….. and I have. Diabetes is an integral part of my life, it has to be, but it doesn’t dominate it. I have some doubt that a “cure” will come in time for me but am almost certain that it will for you. In the meantime with the many advances made in treatment, you can lead a full lif, do virtually anything you wish and hopefully avoid or minimize any side effects. Good luck!

  15. Gary Crone says:

    Hi Hannah, we are so proud of you and all that you have accomplished during this time. This just shows how strong someone can be when something try to get in their way. We love you very much and will be here for anything you need. Keep up the good work!!

    Your brother

  16. Sher says:

    I was diagnosed at age 60 with Type 1, I am now 66 and have never been in control — I do everything right, I’ve never had a A1C below 9; my insurance company will not work with me for a pump because they say I am not in good enough control. My 2 older children died from this horrible disease before their 30th birthdays. I have trouble keeping weight on, I am 5′ 6 1/4 and weigh around 112lbs. My depression is severe and my will to keep on trying is almost gone. I also COPD and have been in the hospital 6 times in 1 year and the first thing they see on my record is severe depression and I feel like by Diabetes is often over-looked because of my depression.

  17. Alexander Turanov says:

    Hi Hannah! My name’s Alexander. I’m from Russia. I have diabetes type 1. During my life with diabetes i went through all those challenges you wrote about. but i believe in God and trust Him all my life and circumstences. He only can make me strong enough to overcome all bad things that are inevitable with diabetes. He also prevent my life from those negative diabetes-related сonsequences that may happen in the future as specialists predict .
    Do you believe in God?
    I completely agree with you that sometimes as a proveb says – Friends are learnt in a trouble!
    i would like to be one of your friends! i’m on Facebook!

  18. Katerina says:

    Hi Hannah, my name is Katerina I am a diabetic too and I am from Greece where I live also. I am 18 years old and I have diabetes for 5 years. Your story is similar with mine, I also have my family’s support and I want to become a doctor so I will help and protect many people,especially children from diabetes.One day I want to come in U.S.A many kisses from Greece. At the end I want to express something that I have realised,that diabetes is something friendly when you are gentle with him but really disastrous when you do not cure him!!!!!

  19. stephen says:

    I have had type 1 for over 40 years. All I can say it is a miserable way to go through life.
    I was and am always worried about something going on with this disease. I I have spent my life trying to be positive . Al I can say is it it a bad hand to be dealt and it sucks. Maybe in the next life we might be luckier.

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