Think type 1 diabetes is just for kids? Think again.
Because it was thought to only strike children and teens, type 1 was known as juvenile diabetes for a long time. The truth is a growing number of adults are being diagnosed with it in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond.
All week long, we will present stories from adults who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, describing the emotions and frustrations that came with their experiences. Each person defines success in different ways, but they all celebrate the triumphs that have helped them reach their goal of living well with diabetes.
I was 38 when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
In November 2008, I went camping at the Grand Canyon. Afterward, I developed a red rash on my arms and back. I thought I had contracted something in the woods and just waited for it to resolve on its own. But the rash persisted for about six months, so I went to see a dermatologist, who diagnosed it as granuloma annulare. She said the condition was common in people with diabetes and she didn’t understand why I would have it. At 6 feet and 127 pounds, and as someone who exercised several days a week, I wasn’t a likely candidate for type 2 diabetes. Type 1 never entered anyone’s mind.
Fast-forward to 2009. I was under a lot of stress and started developing debilitating fatigue. I went to a doctor, who basically blew it off and didn’t conduct any blood work. For some strange reason, I went directly to a pharmacy and purchased a 10-dollar glucometer. I thought I was being a hypochondriac, but much to my amazement, my blood glucose was 297 mg/dl! I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March 2010.
That was over three years ago. Since then, I have had more emotional than physical struggles with this nasty disease. My A1C hovers around 6 percent, which is great, but I really miss eating liberally!
I have decided that a victim’s attitude doesn’t serve anyone, so I have put a lot of my energy into fundraising and awareness. I try to compete in one charitable event every year. Last January I even completed my first half-marathon, to raise money to Stop Diabetes®! Next year I have my eyes set on the American Diabetes Association’s 65-mile Tour de Cure® in Jacksonville!