I fell into diabetes research completely by accident. But I ended up loving my job and my co-workers, and it was a great place to be while I navigated the steps of young adulthood – getting married, buying a house, and starting a family. My daughter was born in 2008, and my son in 2012. My daughter was screened for TEDDY, but didn’t have the high risk markers so she was not eligible to participate in the follow-up part of the TEDDY Study.
A big part of my job as a TEDDY Study Clinical Coordinator is educating families about the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes. So when my almost-5 year old daughter was suddenly peeing like crazy, drinking like crazy, and super cranky, I thought I was imagining things (like the way they say med students end up thinking they have each condition as they learn about it). But over the course of a weekend, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so on Monday, I brought a glucometer home from work. When I checked her blood sugar that night, she was 400. Diabetes.
We hopped in the car, and went down to Seattle Children’s Hospital. We caught it very early, and she was relatively healthy at diagnosis. We completed our diabetes education over the next few days. Having the background of working at the TEDDY Study for 8 years was such a blessing. To understand the auto-immune processes at play, and to know that environmental triggers are yet to be found removed much of the shock and guilt that seems to sometimes accompany a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. We hit the ground running.
Today, Greta is a healthy, happy 9 ½ year old. She manages her diabetes with a pump and continuous glucose monitor. Diabetes is exhausting. The constancy of needing to manage it, day in and day out, is draining. But I have faith that technologies will get better and better, making management easier and easier. In the mean time, we live by one of our favorite expressions from Type 1 Diabetes Camp: “Type 1 may be along for the ride, but it DOESN’T get to drive!”
Follow-up Q&A coming in the next issue. Do you have a question you’d like to ask this mom? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org