23 years ago on this day, I headed to the hospital after peeing on a stick in my dad’s office revealed that I had ketones in my urine. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what that means, ketones in the urine is a sign of extreme high blood sugar. Ketones are produced when one’s body burns fat instead of glucose for energy, and, if untreated, can cause diabetic coma and death.
Thankfully, my medically-trained parents knew that something was brewing and took me to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. From that day forward, I was to monitor my bloodsugar with a strict diet, multiple daily fingersticks and several shots of insulin. I don’t remember much about that trip to the hospital except a few stories my mom has told me over the years. One was about my brother, Mark’s, name game with my endocrinologist, Dr. Mark Kipnes, and another revolves around my wanting to get home so I could share some Hershey Kisses with my older sister. Clearly I had no idea what was in store for me when I actually did get home.
Since 1988, the care and treatment for my diabetes has changed in many ways. Back then, I was on a strict diet, I learned to take insulin via multiple daily injections, and I eventually started to self-administer the shots. Now, I use an insulin pump to deliver insulin to my body so I can eat whatever I want (as long as I bolus to cover it). Then, I relied on fingersticks to reveal what my bloodsugar was that hour. Now, though I still check my bloodsugar via fingersticks, I also sometimes wear a continuous glucose monitor, which allows me to see what my bloodsugar is doing at all hours of the day (instead of just when I test).
Me (on the left) at a JDF luncheon. I won that Pink Panther!
However, there are many things about my diabetes that haven’t changed. Mainly, it still exists. When I was diagnosed, my mom was told that “a cure is right around the corner!” with an estimated arrival time of sometime before the turn of the 21st century. Well, we’re still waiting on that cure. I still sometimes drop so low that I can’t think straight and have to take a 20 minute (or more) break to allow my bloodsugar to rise. I still have high’s that cause that awful thirst and racing heart. I still like to act like these things don’t bother me and don’t interfere with my daily life.
The truth is simple: diabetes sucks. Yes, I can live with it, but I sure as hell wouldn’t choose it. It’s a pain in the ass (sometimes literally!) and I wish it would go away.
“The Anaheim Hangover,” a.k.a. “the time diabetes tried to ruin our family trip to Disneyland.”
Luckily, there are some really smart people out there who are working on finding a cure! My mom was heavily involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation‘s South Central Chapter when I was younger. We’d raise money and walk at the Walk for the Cure on an annual basis. Sometime between high school and college, I stopped participating. I have been wanting to participate for the past several years, but just never made the effort. This year, I’m changing all that and I’m going to be participating in the Walk for the Cure in San Diego on November 12! I have a handful of friends who are joining me and I’d love it if you’d consider sponsoring our efforts.
I’d love it if some of you would please honor the 23 years I’ve been dealing with diabetes by donating $1 per year for a total of $23. Your $23 will make a huge difference in my world, though any amount is greatly appreciated!
To make a donation, head over to my personal page at http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk-CA/Chapter-SanDiego4053?px=1516210&pg=personal&fr_id=1553 or you may mail me a check, made out to JDRF.
Thank you in advance for your generosity!xoxo, Lauren