Hello! This year, I'll be taking part in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes, along with one-half million other walkers across the country, as we try to reach our goal of raising $89 million.
Type 1, or juvenile diabetes, is a devastating disease that affects millions of people, a large and growing percentage of them children.
At aged 18, I was attending Flinders University in South Australia and was struggling early on. From what I can remember, I had become incredibly tired and unbelievably anxious. From that point, depression started creeping in and I was skipping classes. Eventually I dropped out and drove back up to my family in Alice Springs.
By my 19th birthday, I had noticed I was gaining weight and just associated it with the depression, and after a snide comment made to me by my brother about my being a failure, I decided it was time to get over that crap. It had been a dream of mine to join the Navy like my dad and see the world whilst defending my country. From July, I was working through the process, including eating right, exercising, studying, and mentally preparing myself for the biggest change of my life.
Little did I know that that door would be slammed - quite hard - in my face. One day in October, it clicked in my mind that there was something strange going on. At that point I had been told I'd had a yeast infection, I was still really quite fatigued, and I was drinking water like there was no tomorrow. I was in the kitchen on that day when I asked my mum if she had ever experienced a day where she was so unbelievably thirsty that no amount of water could quench. She gave me a grim look and apologized. I did not need to ask why because I already knew.
I called the doctor and managed to get an appointment that day. When my doctor asked why I was there, I told her of my symptoms and explained that I might have diabetes. Although she did not believe me, she tested my blood anyway. The countdown seemed to last a lifetime. All I could think about was my dream of being in the Navy and how that number was most likely going to determine my future. My heart was racing, my stomach was churning...
17.8 mmol/l (320 mg/dl). My heart sank. I could not believe that I had allowed myself to get to this point. After dealing with my doctor, I returned home and my mum must have seen the look on my face because she burst into tears. A few nights later, I made a call to my recruiter in the US, and once I told him, he told me that I cannot be recruited and hung up on me. For the next few month after that, I was beyond depressed. I ruined my life.
By New Years, I had started to accept that I was a type II diabetic. I took my Metformin and tried to manage my diabetes the best I could for lack of education I had, until: I wound up in the hospital.
Apparently, I was not a type II diabetic, but rather a type I. This explained the issues I had been having with getting my blood glucose levels under control and why I had (literally) been growing scales on my belly. I was lacking insulin.
After my night in the hospital, my new NEW life had begun. Since then it has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs and that is what I will be bringing to this blog. I have learned a lot about type I diabetes and control. For almost 2 years I was using insulin injections but since March of last year I have been using pump therapy. I have learned more about how insulin works in the body, along with how food affects the body; I have learned how to count carbohydrates and have learned how to exercise.
In the past 2 years I have: gotten fit, ran my first 5k (Torrance Turkey Trot) with my aunt, become a mentor for newly diagnosed teens for the JDRF, run another 5k, started pump therapy, ran another 5k, got pregnant, lost my pregnancy, lost control of my diabetes and health, gained weight, tried to get through school, and now, with the new year, I will try to get my life back together again.
There is some good news, though. JDRF is our best hope for finding a cure. It funds more type 1 diabetes research than any other charity worldwide and it's making progress along many promising paths toward better treatments and a cure.
Now, more than ever, you can make a crucial difference. Won't you please give to JDRF as generously as possible? Together, we can make the cure a reality!