BIKE RIDE NOVEMBER 22, 2014!!!! I WILL BE RIDING 107 MILES!!!!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your donations! For those that have not please take a couple minutes to read my story and hopefully that will inspire you to provide me with a donation and support JDRF. I know I have reached my goal but will be continuing to raise as much money as I can!!!
Did you know T1D:
- Strikes both children and adults suddenly and is unrelated to diet and lifestyle.
- Occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is essential to turning food into energy.
- Requires constant carbohydrate counting, blood-glucose testing, and lifelong dependence on injected insulin.
JDRF is working every day to change this. And every dollar I raise helps them continue to bring life-changing therapies from the lab to the community until a cure is found.
Update: 3/8/14 My cousin, John Hendershot is riding 107 miles also. Please let me know if you would like to join us! I am very excited that he is joining me to help find a cure!
5/18/14 Today I rode 40 miles with my bike club. I did have to eat some cranberries while riding my bike (not an easy task...lol) to bring my sugar up when it went low and then I did have high sugars toward the end of my ride. The continuous glucose monitor really helped me today...
6/28/14 Biked 65 miles today. I am experimenting with changing my rates in my insulin pump to avoid low sugars. Not successful yet... I did crash on my bike but it was not blood sugar related. Bruised nicely but continued my ride! That is my life...diabetes will bring you down but you have to get right back up and take care of it.
How do I begin explaining my story of 24 years with Juvenile (Type 1) Diabetes?
On January 10, 1990 at the age of 12 I was diagnosed with a disease that would change my life forever. I became solely responsible for my life. Prior to being diagnosed I had frequent urination, falling asleep during school, a large amount of weight loss and vomiting. We just moved to Pennsylvania so my parents thought I was simply having a difficult time adjusting to my new school and environment. When I was told I had Type 1 Diabetes I was admitted to the hospital and within 5 minutes a nurse approached me and told me that I had to give myself a shot of insulin in my stomach. I looked at my mom and dad who were sitting in the hospital room and I will never forget how sad they looked due to their little girl now having to inject herself multiple times daily and knowing that life would never be the same for me.
I was in the hospital for 1 week with times of passing out, unable to get up from the hospital bed and going to diabetes classes to learn about how I needed to take care of myself. I had a diabetes team and without this team as well as support from my family I would not be where I am today. Then I was out of school for another week to learn how my body responded to food, constantly changing the amount of insulin I needed and closely monitoring my blood sugar. So, yes new to rural Pennsylvania and now out of school and diagnosed with a chronic illness at the age of 12.
When I returned to my new middle school now I had to take shots before school, eat lunch at a certain time, take blood sugars throughout the day, and take shots prior to dinner. Isn’t adjustment to a new school as a 7th grader enough? Everything can be done perfectly but with Type 1 Diabetes it doesn’t always matter. Things aren’t always in your control. So, while taking a state exam my blood sugar went low and the science teacher threw me over his shoulder and ran me to the nurses’ office. Not exactly the attention I was looking for as the new student.
During high school I wanted to be as “normal” as possible, playing sports, talking with boys, hanging out with friends, etc. But that wasn’t the only issue I was dealing with I also had to make sure my blood sugars were in range. Too high can’t exercise, too low can’t exercise. Too high you want to sleep, have to urinate frequently, constantly drinking water, etc. Too low you begin to sweat, shake, slur words, can be in a total state of confusion and either extremes can lead to death. Nothing like going on dates with boys, having to take shots while at dinner, taking blood sugars or getting a low sugar and beginning to sweat like a beast…Isn’t high school enough of a challenge without diabetes?
While on Christmas break in 1994, I was admitted to the hospital to get an insulin pump so it would give me a little more freedom without having to take daily multiple injections and eat at the same time every day. What 17 year old wants to be in the hospital during Christmas break? Then while at senior week down the shore I was wearing my insulin pump in a “waterproof” case that was big and bulky… A little girl walked up to me and asked me what it was and my friend said I was a robot and it was my battery pack. Thank God I had great self-esteem, wasn’t self-conscious and that I have the humor and personality I do because I was always able to laugh at this crazy disease.
After high school I went to college. I have NEVER let diabetes define me. I stuck myself over 9,000 times during college. Had periods of time struggling with highs and lows, which always leaves me feeling like I was run over by a Mack truck but never allowed it to stop me from pursuing my goals. Then after graduation with my social work degree I became part of the workforce. Insurance was one of the main attractions for a good job. Without insurance my pump supplies, blood sugar test strips, and insulin would cost $2,300/3 months. If my insulin pump broke that would cost me about $8,000. And if I ever ended up in the hospital I wouldn’t be able to afford it. After working for 2 years I decided start graduate school.
However, several days prior to graduate school I was at my parents and the paramedics had to be called. I was incoherent, unable to communicate and my blood sugar was 23. My dad was trying to give me sugar and orange juice but it was not working. I believe that much of it had to do with the anticipation of my move to Albany and busy with trying to get everything taken care of. The paramedics came and gave me an IV and I was able to communicate within 5-10 min. This alarmed my parents because I was moving to Albany, NY all by myself and what if I didn’t wake up one morning? No one would know. We did establish a plan with the paramedics.
So after my year of an accelerated master’s program I was so excited to graduate. I was proud of myself and that I never let Type 1 Diabetes stop me from achieving my goals and dreams. On graduation morning, my brother had to contact the paramedics because I was unresponsive. Can’t I just enjoy my accomplishments? Paramedics came and gave me glucose in an IV and then I headed to graduation even though I felt incredibly sick and dizzy and kept asking God to not allow me to pass out until after graduation (felt I was being fair by just asking him to postpone the pass out).
Then I became a kidney/pancreas transplant social worker. That was a dream come true for me. What an awesome job?! One day prior to leaving work I took my blood sugar and all was good. Then while walking across the street to the parking garage I did feel a little out of it. My sugar started going low (low sugars happen extremely fast). This was the day before my birthday and I began to walk around the parking garage completely confused. People were asking me if I needed help and I told people no. Then I did tell one person “yes” and paramedics arrived. Security came over from the hospital because they were watching me on their security cameras. I NEVER wanted diabetes to cross into my professional life. I felt as though the medical community would no longer value my expertise.
I am going to fast forward to the best day of a woman’s life…Wedding Day 5/18/12 in Barbados. The night of my wedding while eating dinner my insulin pump broke. I had to leave my dinner to get my syringe (only brought 2 on trip) and rapid acting bottle of insulin (lasts only 3 hours). Called the pump company who said the global team doesn’t work on the weekends. I became extremely frustrated and I was going to take off my wedding dress and go back to the restaurant in shorts. As I heard myself saying that to James I realized that if I did that then this no vacation, unforgiving, sleepless disease had won. I said I can’t do that I have always been against that. I was without the insulin pump for 12 days because the company failed to get it to me. I took 10-12 shots a day with only having 2 syringes (which become extremely dull and feel like a nail is going into your skin after reusing them) and took 12 blood sugars a day. Why couldn’t this disease not get in the way on my wedding day and on our honeymoon? Because Type 1 diabetes NEVER takes a minute off!
Every day is a struggle. Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. That is exactly what happens with Type 1 Diabetes. There are internal and external factors that play a huge role in managing this unforgiving disease. I am praying for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. Doing the JDRF Ride to Cure in Tucson, AZ will help me continue on my path of not letting diabetes stop me from anything but I am ready for this journey to be one without Type 1 Diabetes.
Thank you for your donation and support!
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Donn & Vicky Norton
Jaime and Tug
Jay & Barb Giltzow
Lucille and Jack Banias
Mr. Chris Koeck
Mr. Walter Urusky
Mrs. Laura Giltzow
Ms. Mary C Morrison
Ms. Tracy Drufovka
The Porter Family