Checking your blood sugar, finger pricks, changing lancets, delivering insulin, drawing up syringes, changing pump sites. Managing type 1 diabetes may seem repetitive at first, but as you realize that the disease is constantly evolving, you learn that you consistently grow along with it. Obviously, when I was diagnosed at 6 years old, my family cared for just about everything concerning my health. Diabetes was too new and I was too young to handle everything myself. However, it wasn't long before I began to develop my independence regarding my health. Slowly, I started doing things myself.
At day camp, only a few months after being diagnosed, I did not want anyone other my mom to give me shots, but since she couldn't come every time I needed an injection, I learned how to give them to myself in my thigh. Eventually, I learned how to draw up the syringe as well. Then, only 6 months after my diagnosis, I switched from injections to an insulin pump, which I was immediately determined to learn how to operate completely by myself. Now, I would say I know the pump inside and out, backwards and forwards, better than anyone else in my family. However, it took me a long time to learn and understand everything myself. Still, I could not seem to check my blood sugar myself! It took my school nurse, family, and friends to finally convince me that I was able to do it myself! Finally when I did, I felt empowered that I could do anything.
Years later when I decided to go to sleep away camp, my mom told me that I was not allowed to go unless I learned how to put my own pump site in and be totally independent, since she wouldn't be there. Putting my own pump site in was the only major thing that I did not know how to do by myself. I remember that my mom had been slowly teaching me for a few months, when my site came out when I was home alone one day, almost like a test. I called my mom in a panic, and she calmly told me to put my site in. It was the first time I would be doing it by myself, but she stayed on the phone with me, and with this motivation, I did it.
Since being diagnosed almost 10 years ago, my family and I went from knowing absolutely nothing about type 1 diabetes and it's management, to it becoming a typical part of our daily lives. I grew up quickly, but I was determined to be independant. When you can take care of yourself it's easier to go to new places, meet new people, and try new things, because you know you can handle any situation you encounter along the way. With each new thing I learn about diabetes, I learn something new about myself and how much I can accomplish. It's during the times when feel like you can't overcome the challenge in your way that you learn even more about yourself. Learning new things and being able to care for myself was, and always is, one of the most empowering feelings.
The world of diabetes is always developing and changing. With advancements such as the artificial pancreas, new glucometers, new pumps, and more, there is always more to learn and adjust to. However, I know that with the support of my family and friends, I will be able to handle anything that is thrown my way.
Hello everyone! I'm Hannah! I'm 16 years old and have been living a normal life with type 1 diabetes for 10 years! I'm so excited to share the journey of Penpals United with you through our blog!