As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) on July 9, 2001. I have lived over 50% of my life pricking my fingers 5-10 times a day, taking 5 shots of insulin daily, chugging coke to help cure my low blood sugars, and I would love for these activities to become something of the past. My mom, Karen Case, has been very involved with my Diabetes since day 1, and has been very active with JDRF since probably day 2. JDRF's mission is to fund research to prevent, treat and cure T1D. My mom has set the bar high--in 2013, she completed the 100 mile JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, raising over $39,000 to help cure me. She has inspired me to get on the bike, and ride for a cure myself.
For those of you less familiar with my day to day routine, everything I eat or drink, I have to calculate the number of carbohydrates, and then calculate just the right amount of insulin to take. I wake up and check my blood sugar. If it is too high, I must take a shot of insulin to bring my blood sugar down. When it's low (which happens a lot in the middle of the night), I have to eat. For lunch, dinner and snacks, I follow the same routine. However, it is hardly a routine, a lot of times calculating your insulin dose perfectly does not yield a perfect result. Throughout the course of the day, I am constantly checking my sugar to make sure I will not pass out from low blood sugar, or cause permanent organ damage from high blood sugar. As you can imagine, these thoughts are very consuming, and it is challenging to balance my diabetes with my career and personal life. Diabetes makes everyday activities that much harder. When I go to the gym, I have to make sure my blood sugar is high enough that I will not get low and pass out, but I have to be sure it isn't too high where I start to feel sluggish. Finding this happy medium is something all Type 1 Diabetics struggle with and can relate to.
For the past few years, I have taken advantage of technology to help me manage my T1D. Instead of injections, I now have an insulin pump, which distributes insulin to me by the minute. My pump is wireless, and I change it every 3 days to a new site, usually on my arm, leg or abdomen. In conjunction with my pump, I now use a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) which is another device I wear on my body, and change it once a week. The CGM takes my blood sugar every 5 minutes and reduces the need to continously prick my finger to test my blood. The pump and the CGM have helped me greatly improve the quality of my life living with T1D, but these devices are not a cure.
I am riding 100 miles in August to find a cure. I want to throw away my pump, and my CGM, and my glucose tablets for good. I don't want to keep counting carbs. I don't want to keep worrying about my eyesight, my blood circulation, and other long term effects caused by T1D. I don't want my family and friends to continue to worry about my health and safety. Diabetes does not just affect me, it affects everyone around me, so while I am riding to cure myself of T1D, I am riding for everyone affected by Diabetes.
T1D strikes both children and adults suddenly, and contrary to popular belief, it is unrelated to diet and lifestyle. JDRF is working everyday to change this, and every dollar I raise helps them continue to bring life changing therapies to people like me until a cure is found. I will spend the next few months training and fundraising, and your donation brings me that much closer. Please donate and help me live in a world without Type 1 Diabetes. Thank you!