To most, I am just a typical 22 year old college grad living in Austin, Texas. I love vodka, chocolate, and McDonald’s hamburgers. Oh, and I am a type 1 diabetic. I was diagnosed on August 1, 2002 at the age of 9. Diabetes is a disease that cannot be seen, but that does not mean it is easy to accept.
“Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. The far more common type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin.
Despite active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. But it can be managed. With proper treatment, people with type 1 diabetes can expect to live longer, healthier lives than people with type 1 diabetes in the past”.
Having diabetes has been a huge obstacle in my life and has caused my family and me so much heartache. Being diagnosed at a young age was difficult because my whole world turned upside down without any warning and I was extremely angry about it. I began to ignore the disease and ended up in the hospital many times due to my carelessness. I stopped checking my blood sugar and stopped taking my insulin injections. I was turned away from doctors because of my own neglect. I remember one of my doctors’ telling me if I kept up my ways, I wouldn’t live past the age of 30. I had nowhere to turn… and no one to turn to. My parents tried so hard to help me, but I had built such a high wall around myself that no one could save me. I slipped into a deep depression in my early teenage years. I began to see a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with clinical depression and prescribed me anti-depressants which I still take to this day.
When I went away to college, I made a promise to my mom. I promised her that I would take care of my health so that she didn’t have to worry about me slipping into a diabetic coma alone in my apartment. I had already put my parents through so much; I couldn’t let them down again… I wouldn’t allow myself to hurt the people who loved me the most. I wanted to prove to everyone that I could be in control of this disease. Well I am happy to say that I graduated college in four years and I am still alive to talk about it.
Here are a few misconceptions about type 1 diabetes:
- You can’t eat sugar.
Alex’s Advice- You CAN eat sugar, you just have to take your insulin. I wouldn’t advise eating it every day, but hey… get that Sonic Oreo Blast if you’re having a bad day.
- You got diabetes because you ate too much sugar.
Alex’s Advice- BYE.
- You can’t drink alcohol.
Alex’s Advice- Vodka has no carbohydrates 😉 Actually, I try to stay away from sugary drinks (margaritas, cherry vodka sours, etc.) Try vodka soda with a lime or vodka Diet Coke. You can’t go wrong! For beer drinkers, you always have Michelob Ultra.
So why does this matter? I am here to write my memoir and hope that others can read about my experiences and find a common ground. When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I had no one to guide me through that difficult time. I so badly wish I had a role model that knew what I was going through. (That gives me an idea for a diabetic Barbie). I am living proof that you can do anything you put your mind to. DON’T EVER let anyone tell you different… yes I am talking to you Dr. White!
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL…insulin pumps, bruises and all.
I hope you will follow me on my journey<3
“Type 1 Diabetes.” – Mayo Clinic. N.p., 2 Aug. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2015.