Type 1 Diabetes: Not Just for Kids

My insurance company called me about a program they have for people with type 1 diabeters  diabetes  diseases. The conversation went something like this:

Ins. lady: “Ms. Kerstetter, if your daughter were enrolled in this program you would automatically get your supplies from…”

Me: “It wouldn’t be my daughter, it would be me. I don’t have a daughter. I don’t have any children. I’m the one with type 1 diabetes.”

Ins. lady: “Oh… *pause* I’m sorry.”

I know that when the general public sees the words “type 1 diabetes” or “juvenile diabetes” (as I’m reasonably certain my insurance forms had to say) they think of children, probably even this photo:

Here’s where I got it, but I’ve seen it all over the internet

The unfortunate fact is that sweet, innocent faces raise more money for research. I’m reasonably fond of my face, but it’s not going on a poster web banner ad to raise awareness for type 1 diabetes anytime soon. The thing is, that kids with type 1 grow up to be adults with type 1. And there are kids who don’t have type 1 who grow up to become adults with type 1. I should know… I’m one of them. Continue reading

Serious Business

“I never realized your diagnosis was so dramatic.”

“It didn’t really hit me how sick you were until I saw you at your dad’s funeral. You looked so small.”

My offline friends have said those things to me when they realized how serious diabetes is.

When I say that in August of 2011 I nearly died, I’m being 100% serious.

My immune system attacked my pancreas and I basically experienced organ failure. The best part is… the symptoms were all there and we didn’t catch them. My doctor didn’t catch them! She’d already called in a prescription for nausea medication to the pharmacy while waiting on the results of the pregnancy test that ultimately saved my life.

When those test results came back and Dr. P walked back into the room with her face very serious and sat down next to me on the exam table, I knew something was wrong, but not how wrong. Before anything else she wanted to know if I was there alone. I wasn’t. They sent a nurse to the waiting room to get my mother-in-law, who also knew that there was something seriously wrong. When she and I were talking about it recently she said to me, “I’m surprised they even let me drive you to the hospital instead of sending you in an ambulance.”

I was hospitalized for three days, I was hooked up to monitors, tubes and tested regularly. But when people hear I was diagnosed with diabetes, they didn’t (and still don’t) realize how serious it was.

I’m lucky that I was diagnosed. I’m blessed to have a husband who made me call the doctor instead of letting me sleep. I’m grateful to be alive.

Diabetes is serious. Sometimes I joke about it or I try to make living with diabetes look easy, but I work harder to stay healthy while living with type 1 than I work on anything else in my life. Diabetes doesn’t give vacation time. Continue reading