At 7 years old, a time when homework tends to be the most significant responsibility in a child’s life, I was battling serious health issues. I was sick, extremely dehydrated, and consistently falling due to being lightheaded and dizzy. Finally, my doctor tested my blood sugar and I received a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. I had to grow up faster than most kids as I learned more about my illness and how to manage it. Luckily, I had the support of my parents who were extremely hands on with my care. My mom helped me with all of my insulin shots and my dad joined the board of the JDRF.
Outside of JDRF, I didn’t know many people with diabetes until I was in high school and college. Meeting people that talked like me, talked about diabetes, testing, and the ups and downs of living with a challenging illness, was like a breath of fresh air—these were my people!
In high school, I transitioned to an insulin pump. I was wary to go on the insulin pump because you have to rely on it so much. For a while, it worked well for me, but my A1C was super high. Recently, my doctor and I agreed that going back to injections would help me better manage my diabetes.
I began having issues with my vision while in my 20s. One evening that I will never forget, I went to bed at night and woke up the next morning completely blind. I was diagnosed with a common complication of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, right before my 27th birthday and at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following several surgeries, I regained vision in my left eye but not my right eye.
I am grateful for the support of my friends, my family, and my diabetes care team who have all helped me to better prioritize and manage my diabetes and eye health. While my journey with diabetes has been extremely challenging at times over the years, I have learned through this experience just how capable I truly am.
If there is one thing I would say to those struggling with their diabetes and eye health, it would be this: Diabetes can be scary, but you don’t have to let it control you. Take care of yourself and show the world that you are more than your diabetes!