My name is Emily, and I am 20 years old. I have had diabetes since I was 9, and this Easter will be my 11th year of having type 1 diabetes.
I didnít know what diabetes was when I got it, but I knew I was very sick. I lost so much weight, and only weighed 45 pounds in the 4th grade. I was very dehydrated and could not concentrate in school. My parents and teachers knew something was wrong, and when I was diagnosed everything made a lot more sense.
At first I was put on a very strict diet plan with only a certain amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack. This didnít work out so well for me, so eventually I moved onto a pen and having my own basal/bolus rate. I always wanted a pump instead of needing to stick myself, but my endocrinologist wouldnít let me until I could prove to her that I was responsible enough to take care of it. Throughout my entire childhood, I ignored my Diabetes. I didnít want to be left out with the other kids and my peers didnít even know I had diabetes. I was also embarrassed, and I didnít want to let diabetes stop me from doing anything I wanted to do. As I matured on, I realized that I needed to take care of myself, or very bad things were going to happen. When I was 16, I was also diagnosed as Celiac, which is complete gluten intolerance. This made my life very stressful, but I knew from then on out I needed to go on the diet. When I was 17, I finally got to switch to my Animas pump, and it has completely changed my life for the better.
Iím now a Junior at the University of South Carolina, studying Public Health. The reason I chose this major was in a large part to my diabetes. Ever since I have been here, my a1c levels have dropped, and I have become a much healthier and happier person with my diabetes. Iíve learned so much about the disease and its complications that it has steered me in the right direction to take even better care of myself. I have realized that this is a lifetime condition, and I need to make the best of it. Having diabetes has led me to want to pursue a career with that, and/or something in the medical field. I would love to someday work with diabetic pharmaceuticals, but more importantly I want to be able to contribute my passion to the world to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes.
Published February 20, 2013
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