Jenni, from Lincoln, Nebraska, lives with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and is committed to advocating for others. This is her story:
At age 53 I decided it was time to get healthy.
I started a walking regiment every day and changed my eating habits. I was a full-time teacher and my colleagues were runners. At age 53, I started running. I had done several 5k's and was losing weight. I went to the doctor for my physical and my blood sugar was very high. I had lost nearly 70 pounds, was in the best shape I had been in for many years and they diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes.
I continued to work out and run. One week I got the stomach flu. I went to the doctor after several days because I could not seem to kick the fatigue. He said it was just a virus that was hanging on. I had a trip planned to Las Vegas for work and also a 5k while we were there.
I was getting so weak that my friends ended up pushing me around in a wheelchair.
We flew to Phoenix and I was so sick that we decided I should not fly without getting checked out. I went to the hospital in Phoenix and within a couple hours I was in the ICU. I was in critical diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). It was a rough few days.
I flew home and immediately saw an endocrinologist. The test came back and my life changed: type 1 diabetes. I am now 57 years old. I have a omnipod and dexcom. My A1C has gone from 13 to 7. I unfortunately have gained the weight back but I am otherwise doing well.
The fear of COVID is nearly all-consuming but I am being extremely diligent and practicing all safety procedures.
I am an activist for education, medical reform and pharmaceutical accountability. I worked to get the teacher's health insurance to cap the cost of insulin. I still pay nearly $400 out of pocket per month for supplies and insulin. It is vital we educate and lobby for reform.
I am fortunate I have good coverage and income. We need a voice for those who do not.
I am a T1D who is dedicated to education for all.
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