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 a 21-year-old college senior when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on Nov. 25, 2008. My whole life changed instantly—and forever.
I experienced all the textbook symptoms two weeks leading up to my diagnosis: excessive thirst, constantly tiredness, frequent urination. I didn’t think anything of it, just thought I was catching a cold. All of a sudden my vision started to get blurry. I had trouble reading my textbooks and the board in my lecture hall.
My family doctor suggested I get blood work drawn. I went in on the 24th and was told I wouldn’t hear my results until later in the week because of Thanksgiving. That night, my parents received a phone call from my doctor saying my blood glucose was over 800mg/dL and they needed to get me to the hospital as soon as possible. My parents picked me up from college and took me there.
The next morning an endocrinologist came in to my hospital room and told us that I have type 1 diabetes. Based on the results of my blood tests, there was no doubt about the type of diabetes.
People sometimes ask if diabetes runs in my family, but the truth is I don’t know. I was adopted at 4 months old and do not know any of my family medical history.
Even being diagnosed as an adult, I was able to change my lifestyle. I educated myself about the disease by reading books and information provided by my endocrinologist. I learned and became proactive about testing my blood glucose, injecting myself with insulin, carbohydrate counting and staying physically active.
It amazed me how quickly I adapted to my new lifestyle while trying to enjoy my senior year of college at the same time. I have become more disciplined, responsible and self-aware of my body and health. And I’m happy!
I don’t let diabetes stop me. I continue to be the outgoing, hardworking woman that I have always been. I’m open about my diabetes and I want others to be more aware about the disease. I can’t believe I just passed my six-year mark!