By: Sarah Logan
Photo provided by Sarah Logan
Type 1 diabetes is a condition that affects many individuals in the United States and around the world. It is a scary disease that threatens the lives of people young and old, one of those people is me. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was eleven, an age when I was barely capable of taking care of myself. With the knowledge that I would not only have to take care of myself, but also an autoimmune disease, it was clear that my life would surely change.
November is National Diabetes Awareness month, the month where this disease is recognized as the serious and fatal condition it is. During the year, and especially during the latter portion of October, the non-profit organization Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation organizes walks to fundraise for a cure. This past October, I attended one of JDRF’s walks on Long Island at Heckscher State Park.
I look forward to this walk every year, when my friends and family come out to support me. I get to catch up with some of my family members and I get to laugh and be with some of my most supportive friends. People of all kinds come out in the frigid cold to support their loved ones. There is so much excitement and anticipation exuding from every soul there, whether they are a diabetic or not. I have been attending walks ever since October of 2012, so it has slowly become a tradition for my family, friends, and me.
Speaking from experience, I know that this disease can be frustrating, scary, and painful. I must prick my finger multiple times per day, inject myself with needles every few days, and manage my blood glucose to the best of my ability. Not only is there physical pain, but emotional and mental pain also. There is always a voice in the back of my mind telling me I should check my blood sugar and that something is wrong. I am constantly aware of how I am feeling; if I lose that awareness, there could be serious consequences. I could pass out from a low blood sugar or go into a coma if my blood sugar raises too high.
Thankfully, in August of 2017, I was given a CGM, or a continuous glucose monitor, with much resistance from my insurance company. Because of this valuable feat of technology, I am always aware of my blood sugar, day and night. I don’t wake up with a pounding headache from high blood glucose in the morning. If I feel hungry, I don’t have to rush out of classes worrying if my blood sugar is low.
Because of JDRF, I was able to find a solution to most of my problems. Sure, my disease has by no means vanished, but it is significantly easier to manage because of my CGM. Within the first few months, my A1C – an average blood glucose range for the prior three months – dropped from 8.1% to 7.2% – the normal range is 6.0%. JDRF is funding pharmaceutical researchers to find a cure and make living with type 1 diabetes easier. They have made major progress within the last one hundred years with new CGMs like mine that act like an external pancreas.
So, I urge you to consider funding JDRF’s mission to cure type 1 diabetes for National Diabetes Awareness month. With the progress that is currently being made, I have no doubts that there will finally be a cure for type 1 diabetes during my lifetime.