I was diaganosed with type 1 diabetes on June 1, 1999.
It was the end of my junior year of college, and I was just finishing an intense quarter. In addition to taking a full load of classes, I also was campaigning for student government (I lost) and was getting ready to spend the summer in Paris. I had dreamed of traveling to France since I was in high school and finally had the opportunity. I got an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. I would be working during the day and exploring Paris at night and on the weekends. I couldn’t wait—the summer couldn’t arrive fast enough!
And then I got sick...
At first, I had an unquenchable thirst and found myself constantly in the bathroom. Then, I started losing weight and was having trouble concentrating. Every day I told myself this was temporary, and that the next day would be better.
Every day I felt worse. It was obvious there was something wrong with me and that I needed help. But I was terrified. If I was as sick as I felt, that meant my summer in Paris would be canceled, and I wasn’t ready to accept this possibility.
That first day of June was my breaking point. I remember walking to class but couldn’t make it up the hill. I knew I needed help, so I dragged myself over to student health. After sitting in the waiting room for what felt like forever—with frequent trips to the drinking fountain and the restroom—I finally was called to the exam room. When the doctor walked in, I told him my symptoms. Without missing a beat, he walked out of the room and returned with a blood glucose meter. He pricked my finger and after a minute-long wait…
The meter said HI—my blood sugar was over 600mg/dl.
The rest of that day was a blur. The student health center called an ambulance, and they rushed me to the emergency room. After several hours, the doctor came in and told me I had T1D, and then they sent me home with an appointment to see an endocrinologist the next day. The entire time I was at the hospital, my mind was racing as I tried to wrap my head around what this news meant for my summer plans. Being diagnosed with T1D was terrible news on its own, but the thought of having to cancel my trip to France was devastating.
Eighteen days after I was diagnosed with T1D, I boarded a plane and flew to Paris. I had the time of my life that summer in France. I can’t say it was easy, but I did it.
Life with diabetes hasn’t always been easy for me, and like you, I’ve had my share of challenges. I can remember many times when I wondered whether diabetes was going to hold me back. But I’ve always walked away from those challenging times with the confidence that I can handle it.
In the years following my diagnosis, I searched for information and tools to help me deal with the emotional roller coaster of life with T1D, and I always came up short. So, I decided to become a diabetes psychologist and create the resources and tools that would have been so helpful to me.