Age: 33 Year Diagnosed: 2000 Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
"When I was diagnosed two days after my 17th birthday I was no longer a kid and by no means an adult. I couldn't have foreseen what I'd endure until many years after diabetes started to slowly take a toll on my body. I really didn't have much support from family, not because they didn't love me but I really acted like everything was fine, so they thought everything was okay with me. I struggled with anxiety of low blood sugars, and ultimately burn-out. I took minimal amounts of insulin to stay alive, rarely checked my sugar, and acted as though I was not a diabetic. I ate whatever I wanted and ran dangerously high blood sugars. My denial was one of the biggest battles I have ever faced. I was diagnosed with severe diabetic macular edema in December 2015 and have had many injections and laser procedures to save my vision. I was also diagnosed with osteopenia (bone loss) and chronic kidney disease this year. I guess I snapped out of it. I decided my will to live is stronger than my denial. I told the doctors I wasn't going to go blind, that is not an option for me. I started fighting. I brought my A1C down to 7.2%, I got dexcom which has literally been the best thing I've ever done, I got honest with friends and family about what I had been doing all these years and I started reaching out to other type one diabetics so I didn't have to do this alone any more. I don't tell my story because I need pity. I tell it because this disease is serious and people often don't talk about the scary things that might happen if we aren't careful. Find support where ever you can and find comfort knowing you are not alone. These days I am happy, feeling much better, and always teaching and advocating for the T1D community."