It was spring break, April 2009, during my senior year of high school. I was in Orlando, FL and ready to celebrate my oh-so-close graduation with a few of my closest friends. We had gone to the beach that day and while it should have been one of the most carefree days of my life, I couldn't even begin to enjoy it.
Although it was four years ago, I remember the car ride to Clearwater Beach as if it had happened yesterday. I began to notice that the moisture in my mouth was disappearing, and soon, I would barely be able to talk because my tongue began to feel like sandpaper. I desperately swallowed what remained in my Gatorade bottle and continued to drink two more liters of the sugary liquid. My unquenchable thirst did not stop there. I proceeded to buy a total of six, yes SIX water bottles just to get me through a few hours at the beach. Instead of spending the afternoon tanning and laughing with my friends like I had planned, I spent it concentrating on finding the next vending machine, drinking fountain and bathroom. It was the only thing that had gotten me through the day.
Little did I know that just a week later, I would be diagnosed with Type One Diabetes- a diagnosis that would change my life forever.
The doctors tried to make it sound simple, "You can still eat whatever you want," they told me, "As long as you take the insulin for it." Unfortunately, controlling this incurable disease is not so easy and my journey with Type One has taught me so much about health and my body.
In order to live a normal life- a life I had taken for granted for eighteen years- I must prick my finger to draw blood four to six times a day (although that number is closer to 10x a day for me!), count the carbohydrates in everything I eat, and inject the proper amount of insulin into my body. All of this just to mimic what an ordinary pancreas does on its own. Along with testing and taking insulin, I must closely monitor the kinds of foods I eat and get regular exercise to stay under the best control possible.
Type one diabetes is an auto-immune disorder that occurs when the body's immune system attacks the beta cells in the pancreas. This causes the body to stop producing insulin, and without insulin, it is impossible to survive. Because there is no cure for type one diabetes, those who suffer from this disease must inject synthetic insulin into their bodies 3-5 times a day in order to live.
I am in no way asking for anyone to feel sorry for me, because, in fact, I am very blessed. Diabetes may be a burden at times, but with proper medication, diet and exercise, I can lead a very healthy and normal life. For that, I am thankful.
What I do ask of you is support. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is a wonderful organization, constantly striving to find a cure for type one diabetics across the world. It is the world?s largest charitable funder of diabetes research and I am proud to be walking to help fund that research. I greatly appreciate any donations.
My life depends on insulin and the CURE depends on EVERYONE! Thank you for helping me find a cure FAST!
Oh yeah, and...GO BRONCOS!
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