A Long, LONG, time ago I was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 7. It was 1984, and quite frankly the way to treat the condition was at the breaking edge of not being archaic. Friends, who have had it just a few years longer can recall boiling syringes, peeing into test tubes, and being given short life expectancies from their doctors… and kids… well you could forget about having children. Even with my diagnosis, I was not sent home with a glucose monitor because they were cutting edge technology. It wasn’t until months later that I got the joy of no longer having to collect my urine to know where my glucose was. Growing up in Park City Utah, and in an active family, my parents were determined to not let T1D stop me from doing everything the other kids my age were doing. They didn’t want me to feel “different”, so they didn’t treat me different. I never went to “diabetic camp”, at least not until middle school, and that was at the encouragement of my doctors, side note, this is where I learned you didn’t have to change your lancet every time… Game Changer… But I digress. I guess the point I’m trying to make is my family chose to not draw attention to my condition, yet to live life to the fullest and not let T1D stop me.
Fast forward years later, after college, I had moved to San Jose, CA to be closer to my boyfriend at the time (Later my husband). Sitting in an airport a lady had a “T1D Sighting in the wild”, which was me, as she noticed my pump tubing hanging out of my shirt. Anyhow, she told me about a group of ladies that meets monthly in Cupertino at the time, and everyone was T1D. Since my short camp in childhood, I had never really thought about getting together with other “T1Ds” and I was really intrigued. So that month, I went to my first gathering. The organizer worked for Medtronic but was a T1D herself and saw the need for this type of “support” group. We gathered around in her living room, all adult women of different ages, in different stages of our lives. We talked pumps and shots, we discussed our ups and downs, and it was during these group gatherings that I realized how important T1D comradery is. Later, moving to Sacramento, and really missing that connection, with the help from my friend Elizabeth we created a similar type group and called it Wine About Diabetes, and that is how we began.
T1D is an invisible disease. Unless you are having a high or low episode, taking a blood test/shot or pulling your pump out, no one would know. I have friends who keep their T1D a secret, who don’t feel comfortable sharing, as they are afraid of being treated different. I on the other hand have taken the “shout it from the mountain tops” approach. Not because I’m looking for attention… but because T1D is SOOO much of my daily life, It’s SOOO much to shoulder on my own, and there is SOOOOO much misinformation. By sharing my experiences my hope is that I can help educate the world around me, so that through our shared T1D experiences we can know that we are not living this T1D Life alone. We are strong, but stronger together! We have the power to change the way people think of diabetes and that is my goal. My “shout it from the mountain tops” will not stop. I will continue to learn, grow, thrive, educate, and feed my soul until there is a cure! I would love for you to join me on this journey and become a part of our community. Sign up here!