Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Interview with an adult type 1 diabetic

How were you diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? What symptoms did you have?
I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 13 years old. I had been very thirsty and drinking a lot of water, and was feeling pretty run down most of the time. I had symptoms for about 6 weeks. One night, I wet the bed, and my mom and I realized that I might have diabetes. I checked my blood sugar on a glucose meter at my mom’s work, and it was high. I went in to see a doctor and was diagnosed.

Does anyone in your family have type 1 diabetes?
I have one cousin who also has type 1 diabetes.

What has been the most challenging part of having diabetes?
The most challenging part of diabetes has been health care providers (though they have good intentions) telling me to constantly watch my weight. Even though I was never overweight, it was drilled into my head that insulin works better when people are not as heavy and to be aware of portion size. I was tired of hearing that I was in a higher percentile for weight than height (even though there was no problem with my weight), so I didn’t always eat when I was hungry. This led to problematic eating behaviors for me.

Have you been hospitalized related to diabetes since diagnosis?
I have not ever been hospitalized for diabetes.

What resources do you have that help you manage type 1 diabetes?
I am seen quarterly for diabetes. At each visit, I see a nurse and an endocrinologist, who make changes in my treatment based on what my A1c and blood sugar readings have been. I control my diabetes with an insulin pump and a glucose meter.

How could others help out or make diabetes easier for you?
I hope that if people have questions about my pump or diabetes that they ask. Everyone who brings it up seems to feel embarrassed, but I would much rather them learn about diabetes than not know!

Do you have any word of wisdom about living with diabetes?
Don’t limit your activities, or if your child has diabetes let him or her do everything friends would. It takes some education of the people around you to help your child in case anything goes wrong, but someone with diabetes can do anything that others can.