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Nearly everyone on the staff at T1D Exchange is directly affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D) — living with it themselves or supporting a family member, friend, or partner with the disease.
Here are just a handful of the diagnosis stories from our team at T1D Exchange:
“I was starting the second semester of graduate business school in Philadelphia and began displaying all the common symptoms of T1D. I knew these symptoms from a work project two years prior, but at 24 years old, people I told (including physicians in my healthcare management major) said I was too old to have type 1 diabetes and too young for type 2.
When my vision became so blurry the next day that I couldn’t read the presentation in class, I immediately went to student health and told them, ‘I think I have type 1 diabetes’. My blood sugar was almost 600 mg/dL.”
- David Walton, 27 years with T1D
- CEO of T1D Exchange
“I was diagnosed five years ago at 21 years old during my senior year at UMASS Amherst. I was losing weight, extremely thirsty, and exhausted.
I went to a CVS Minute Clinic which gave me a glucose test — it was 609 mg/dL. I was rushed to the hospital for further testing.
After getting stabilized with intravenous fluids and insulin, and education sessions at Joslin Diabetes Center, I was ready to take on my new life as a T1D! I love working within the T1D community and advocating for those living with T1D.”
- Sam Robinson, 5 years with T1D
- Community & Partner Manager
“I diagnosed myself at 13 years old during our 7th-grade health fair! My classmate did his project on ‘diabetes’, and I had nearly all the symptoms on his poster board. Extremely thirsty, peeing all the time, 10+ pounds of weight loss in less than a month, sudden blurry vision, no energy, and smelly breath.
When I told my parents I thought I had diabetes, they said, ‘No — only old people get that.’
But a week later, I stayed home sick (because I felt so lousy) and I burst into tears when my mom asked how I was doing. She took me to the hospital that afternoon. My blood sugar was over 500 mg/dL. Voila! Type 1 diabetes!”
- Ginger Vieira, 25 years with T1D
- Assoc. Director of Communications
“I was diagnosed the week before my 4th birthday. I had been sick for weeks, but my doctors brushed off my mom’s concerns. It wasn’t until we were in Orlando for my mom to attend a conference that I was finally diagnosed.
I was rushed from a doctor’s office to the emergency room only to find out my blood sugar was over 1200 mg/dL. After a week of monitoring, intravenous fluids, and education in the hospital, I finally was able to celebrate my birthday.
Twenty-two years later, I’m still advocating and living my best life despite having T1D.”
- Holly Hardison, 21 years with T1D
- Coordinator, Quality Improvement
“I was diagnosed with T1D in May 2013 — almost 10 years ago! I just finished my sophomore year of college, and I spent my entire Spring semester too exhausted to make it through the day.
I was unable to perform in school despite my best efforts, causing me to fail out of music school.
A few weeks after the semester ended, my friend’s mom (who has T1D) took one look at me and said, ‘Can I check your blood sugar?’ From that moment on, I’ve dedicated my career to T1D research!”
- Sarah Howard, 10 years with T1D
- Senior Marketing Manager
What’s your diagnosis story? Share with us in the comments!
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Diagnosed at age 6 at the end of first grade in 1973. I am a 50 year thriver on insulin. Thanks to a Tandem Insulin pump and a CGM, I am able to do my dream job as a baker for a restaurant which is funny. I make everything a diabetic should not eat and I am pretty darn good at it. Growing up in the 70’s, things were archaic compared to the technology today but only very slight neuropathy in one toe is my only serious complication.
I was diagnosed in March 1963. I would during 2 and 3 12 ounce bottles of Pepsi at a time. I kept getting sicker and sicker as time went on. Mom took me to our family doctor who told Mom to get me to the hospital as quickly as possible. I do not remember much as I was almost in a coma. I spent one month in the hospital on iv drugs. They could not get me regulated but I eventually went home. I have been type one for 60+ years and only hospitalized 4 times in the early years. I am using the Medtronic 770g and cgm right now, soon to get upgrade to the. 780g.
I had just returned from 2 yrs in West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer and was working as a teaching assistant when I acknowledged symptoms I couldn’t ignore: extreme thirst, frequent peeing, blurred vision. That was 48 years ago and I was 25 yrs old.
I called my dear mom who suspected diabetes since my older brother was also diagnosed in his mid-twenties. A visit to the university clinic confirmed it. As I recall, they didn’t do any other testing, just started me on shots. I’ll never forget my first syringe shot into an orange. Then when I boldly injected a needle into my stomach, the doctor reassured me I’d do just fine.
Life has improved since those days, thanks in large part to insulin pumps and CGMs. I have no complications.
I was diagnosed at the age of 8 in 1955. During the first semester of third grade I was constantly sick with chickenpox followed by bronchitis then measles and a constant sinus infection. I missed so much school my mom waited until Spring break to take me to the pediatrician. Fortunately he was also a family friend who knew my grandfather had been diagnosed with diabetes as a young man. He tested my urine sample in his office and told mom to take me directly to the hospital. I was in the hospital a full month. During that time teams of doctors examined me and what seemed like every 5 minutes I was asked for a urine sample. The doctors only spoke with my parents, never answered any of my questions nor gave me any information about diabetes. The morning after I was released from the hospital I was surprised and afraid when my mother greeted me with a syringe that had a 9 foot needle, or so it seemed at the time. Now, 68 years later, I’m still here and very grateful to be enjoying life.
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I was diagnosed in July of 1964 at the age of 2 1/2 years. My family had been on vacation at the shore. My mom says she noticed I wasn’t eating much. She said I was thirsty all the time and acted like a “pee and wet doll” – – I’d drink and I’d pee, drink and pee… She told my family that we had to go home so she could take me to the doctor.
When we got home, she took me, and told the doctor, “I think she has diabetes.” The doctor looked at me and listened to what Mom had noticed and said, “I think you’re right! Take her over to Children’s Hospital. I’ll call to tell them you’re on your way.”
Growing up, I had one uncle with T1D, my mom’s older brother (no wonder she knew!). My diagnosis made my family get involved with the ADA and JDRF. I remember going to conferences as a kid, when allowed. In high school I volunteered at the JDRF office answering phones and mailing information requests. I did so well there that they asked me to mentor newly diagnosed people, which I readily did. I have also served on panels speaking about my life with diabetes and/or answering questions about diabetes and how I stay in control. I am still involved with JDRF and love helping newly diagnosed families!