Get to Know a Type 1 Diabetic
Posted: October 06, 2022 | Author: Callie Randel, Yorkshire Academy Program Development Assistant
Hi there! I’m Callie Randel. I’m your friendly Type 1 diabetic here at Yorkshire. I work on the administrative team and occasionally I substitute teach in the classroom. Often when I’m in the classroom, kiddos will ask me “what’s that on your arm? What is that thing on the side of your pants? Why do you have a tube coming out of you?” Honestly, I love their questions because it provides an opportunity to educate them about diabetes. Your child may have come home to tell you their substitute is part robot which is true, at least for me anyway. I wear a continuous glucose monitor on my arm to provide my blood sugar information and I wear an insulin pump to deliver insulin since my pancreas no longer functions. I hope you find this blog post informative and educational!
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when an individual’s pancreas stops producing insulin (the hormone that controls blood-sugar levels). Type 1 develops when the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. Currently, there is no known cause for why this happens. Type 1 can affect anyone at any age, but many times it is diagnosed in childhood. I was diagnosed when I was 26 years old, so as you can imagine, it was quite a shock when I found out. When I was diagnosed, I had many of the major symptoms but at the time, I did not realize I was struggling so much. My husband pointed out many of these symptoms prior to my diagnosis but it took a lab draw and a trip to the ER for a few days for me to realize what was going on. Here are the warning signs of T1D:
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Fruity odor on the breath
- Increased appetite or insatiable appetite
- Heavy or labored breathing
- Sudden weight loss
- Sudden vision changes
- Sugar in the urine
- Stupor or unconsciousness
So, as I previously mentioned, I am part robot. What does that even mean? Every day I wear a continuous glucose monitor to carefully monitor my blood sugar level. If my blood sugar is low, I immediately find something to eat or drink. Before I had my CGM, I used a finger stick test about eight time a day to monitor my blood sugar. If my blood sugar is higher than 120, I utilize my insulin pump to deliver insulin to my body. Insulin brings my blood sugar down to a “normal” level. Sometimes you may see a person with T1D deliver insulin via an injection which they would need to do multiple times a day. While insulin does manage to keep me alive and healthy, it is not a cure for Type 1 nor does it prevent the possibility of T1D’s serious effects.
Although T1D is challenging and a serious disease, I find that life can be just as enjoyable and fun as it was prior to being diagnosed. There are constant challenges in regard to diabetes but I have been fortunate enough to have a great team of doctors to guide me and I heavily rely on the support of my family and friends when facing difficult times. I have never allowed diabetes to stand in the way of my goals and I am proud to live a healthy life. I have two beautiful children and my husband has been a constant support throughout my medical journey. If you suspect you or anyone in your family has diabetes, please seek medical attention right away. Serious complications can arise from untreated diabetes.
There is a wealth of knowledge and support on websites such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) or American Diabetes Association. I would love to be a resource if you have questions about Type 1 diabetes or if you’d like to know more about my history of Type 1 so please reach out!