Age: 27 Year Diagnosed: 1994 Location: Los Angeles, Ca

“From cooking and carb-counting to bolusing and balancing, my mom had always done everything for me. On my first day of middle school, she even took the day off work to drive me to school so that she could give me my lunchtime injection. The school nurse was livid. She insisted that I must do this on my own, and asked my mom if she planned to take every day off work to do this for me. Embarrassed, we both stared at her, knowing that she was right, but neither of us was ready to take the next step. Nonetheless, Nurse Sue grabbed the syringe from my mom's hand and forced it into mine. My heart raced, and I started to sweat--I had never felt so anxious, helpless, and nervous altogether. But I also knew that Nurse Sue would not relent, and I was getting hungry. So I took a deep breath--or five--and gave myself my first injection ever. As I withdrew the syringe from my arm, I heard my mom's deep sigh of relief and Nurse Sue exclaim, "See?! That was easy." Even though I was so intimidated by--and mad at--Nurse Sue in that moment, I came to realize that that was a major turning point in my life. It was the start of me managing my health on my own. More importantly, it was my first taste of empowerment when it came to diabetes.

There is so much I want to share for advice, but I'll narrow it down to a couple of things: 1. When I was much younger, I used to think that nobody would want to date me because they wouldn't want to deal with the blood, the insulin, the needles... But the fact that I have T1D has not scared anybody away! People will care and help more than you think, and if they don't, then they probably aren't worth dating anyway. 2. Community is crucial. It can be easy to feel alone in our T1D management because we aren't necessarily surrounded by other diabetics daily. But there is such a large community out there (especially here on Instagram), and it's so wonderful to reach out to and meet others who not only support you through your struggle, but also really understand it.”