My story

By hreitsch Latest Reply 2017-06-25 12:12:40 -0500
Started 2011-11-29 13:27:17 -0600

My name is Hannah Reitsch and I am 13 years old and 12 days ago (November 18th 2011) I was diagnosed with type one diabetes and heres my story… It was the 18th of November, one of my best friends birthday and her mom pretended to have an appointment that day but she was actually setting up a surprise birthday party for my friend. And so we had to pick her up from school and then take me to my doctor appointment then take her home for her birthday party that we were also invited to. So we picked her up and went to the doctor office, my mom told them of how she could smell ketones in my bedroom and of how ive been getting up multiple times a night to go to the bathroom and my stomach aches and shortness of breath and all that good stuff and they gave me a physiological test thinking "its all in her head" and a couple weeks before we came for the same thing and they sent us home saying its all in my head (well obviously now they know it was not). My mom is a retired nurse so by now she knew it was diabetes and she kept insisting that they take my blood sugar and time after time they refused until my mom got really angry and made them have me take a urine test.They let me and i was spilling a massive amount of sugar and the doctor ran in and started franticly talking and apologizing to us and she told us that she already called an ambulance for me to get rushed to Mary bridge children's hospital because my blood sugar was 714!!! My mom was calling my dad and my friend was calling her mom to come pick her up from the doctor office because i was leaving in an ambulance. My mom got to ride with me in the ambulance and my dad and brothers were meeting us at Mary bridge. On the way there was so much traffic that we had to turn on the lights and sirens and speed down the busy road. We arrived there 2 hours before my dad and brothers! I was put in a room in the PICU and had two IVs in at the same time witch hurt a ton after about half an hour of being in the PICU almost my entire family knew what had happend to me and wanted to talk to me and visit me. I knew i wasnt going to die but everyone when they saw me all hooked up in the PICU, they started crying. My mom never left my side she slept on the pull out bed next to mine. Every night my sister would come at about 6 and stay till 11. I got many visitors every day and at one time every one got kicked out except for my mom because we had over 20 people in my room :)) After a few days in the PICU i went to the step down floor and that day was very hard because i had to start getting shots instead of an IV but i had to keep them in unhooked witch was very uncomfortable. But what really cheered me up that day is when my entire youth group walked in!!! they brought me books and toys and a bunch of fun stuff and my very best friend, Jennika layed in my bed with me :) they also brought me tons of cards from church and things that were prayed over at a retreat my youth leader went to.But i was really happy to be out of the PICU because i wasnt stuck in a bed any more so my mom and dad and i walked around the hospital everyday! I got lots of visitors out of the PICU too! and my sister brought me a pillow pet and a close family friend brought me a teddy bear that i put a diabetes bracelet on :). At first it wasn't real to me and i wouldn't accept it because i thought i still had a chance of it just going away but after a while in the hospital with my family,friends,nice nurses,mean nurses,nice doctors,and mean doctors, I knew that this was my fate and i had to accept it. And then, it was real and everything was going so fast i cried so much i dont know how i dident run out of tears. I had a talk with my nurses,mom,dad,and doctors about how its moving too fast and i dont know if i could do it. they said that they were so impressed and proud of me and that they will try to not go so fast and after that it really was better and i felt a million times better because i was in the 700s for so long i forget what it was like to be in the normal area and it sure felt great! We had so much to learn and the doctors said it looked like i wasn't going home in time for thanksgiving. What I was worried about was giving myself the insulin I thought i could NOT do it not ever and my grampa bought me a key chain and chatted with me about it because he is a pharmacist and we all prayed together that i could do it and i was almost constantly praying silently to my self and that next day i knew that with God's help i could do it and that day is the day i started giving the shots to my self!! and my mom and dad bought me a sock monkey from the gift shop as a prize I was soo proud of my self and so was everyone else. I got so many visitors here and there everyday and thats how i liked it. And did i mention that on the 18th i had breakfast and thats all i had for the entire time i was in the PICU?? I was STARVING i got to have dinner on the 21rst and i was so happy when i finaly got to eat. We had tons of learning to do so for two days all we did was have educator after educator come in and talk to us and i got a pink panther book on all the diabetes stuff i had to learn. The doctors told us that since i was doing so good we could probly get out the day before thanksgiving and my whole family and I were super happy. But that ment i had to work fast!! We had to talk to a diatition, a nutrition,a psychologist, some more educators, and lots of doctors and nurses. Theres alot of challenges i had to face with my new diabetes but i was VERY well supported by my friends and family and the staff of Mary Bridge. The day before i left, my mom dad and i wanted to do something fun: we "went out" to eat dinner! we went down to the hospital caffatiria and i got to have what ever i wanted but we still had to count carbs and give insulin. Finally, the day I leave but one more thing, im not immunized!! (My big brother had a bad reaction to immunizations when he was little and due to our religious beliefs my mom and dad decided not to get me immunized) this was not good for me since i have diabetes so on that last day i had to get 6 immunizations!!! 3 in each arm, OUCH!. But i was still very happy to go home. Its still a little new but i know i can do it!

49 replies

gallenp66 2017-06-25 12:12:40 -0500 Report

I was diagnosed with type one diabetes when I was 17 months old. It has been an incredible journey to say the least. One thing I noticed when I read your story, "this was my fate". Diabetes doesn't have to be your "fate". I am living proof of what a wonderful life you can lead while "living" with diabetes. I love coming in contact with younger people with diabetes so I can pass on my experiences and do what I can to better their lives. When I gave myself my first shot of insulin I did it because my dad told me he would give a $1 every time I did. So I was on it and he gave me a dollar. The next time I gave myself a shot I went to my dad to get my dollar and he wouldn't give it to me…he said "now that I know you can do it I don't have to bribe you any more"…LOL!!! My dad was kinda clever like that…or cheap!!!…Lol!!! Please ask me questions and I will do everything I can to help.

LRD 2015-11-15 22:34:49 -0600 Report

Wow! What a story. Glad it turned out well. You will find a lot of helpful people on this site. Many who have had the disease for many years and can tell you what to expect. For me I am just learning about Lada from a few good people that are going before me with the disease. So glad your mom is a nurse and can be a great help to you.

Yerachmiel 2015-07-22 09:38:12 -0500 Report

WOW. I've just completed 34 years pumping and in middle of 53rd year of diabetes.

Was diagnosed at age TWO back in the " 'good' old days when we used glass syringes (for a week) which my parents boiled between uses to sterilize (and dad sharpened somehow every so often)

rangerlina 2015-02-11 20:17:22 -0600 Report

You are an amazingly strong young woman, and I know God has been watching over you! You have a wonderful support system, and wonderful friends and family, it sounds! Great job - your story inspires me!

Happy to be here
Happy to be here 2014-11-29 09:22:17 -0600 Report

What an awesome example you are setting. It is great that you have so much support. Learn from your educators so you learn how important it is to take care of yourself. Thank you for sharing!

chrystalg2020 2014-08-08 19:31:20 -0500 Report

hi hannah thanks for your story your one beautiful smart young lady i am also a diabetic i am a type 2 got diagnosed in 2007. you give me hope in getting my numbers better keep up the good work.

Kats49 2014-07-24 18:28:36 -0500 Report are one brave and intelligent young lady!! When we adults complain about this disease, hearing from you balances our scales. I taught school for many many years…what I learned was that many of my students were diabetic. They were the strongest kids I knew. They didn't like to miss school, so it was up to us, the teachers, their parents and them to ALL work together to keep everyone healthy!! Sounds like you have a GREAT support system!!. I 'm not sure I would have handled having to get so many immunization shots in my arms…Yuck!! Keep writing you have a talent for detail. Maybe you could write a book for other newly diagnosed kids Journaling is a great way to start!! Thank you so much for sharing

Kalisiin 2015-06-27 07:56:27 -0500 Report

Indeed! Reading your story, Hannah…I am thankful that I lived nearly 44 years without diabetes first. And that mine got caught really early. Five months before my diagnosis I had high-normal sugars…and had been being monitored for this for quite some time, but I chose not to take it seriously enough. You seem to be stepping up and taking control, and this is a good thing.

You are facing this like a true champion!

Carolyn E
Carolyn E 2014-03-06 08:18:03 -0600 Report

Hi Hannah
Thanks for sharing your story. You will be fine because you have the love and support of your family.

PhillyChick 2014-03-05 09:45:44 -0600 Report

Hi Hannah.
I was diagnosed when I was 9 years old and here I am a few years beyond 40 and still doing well. Thank you for sharing your story! Your determination comes through in your words. It seems you have a great support network and that can make or break us. To explain, this disease is not always easy but with a great outlook (as you have) and a great-loving support network, the obstacles are easier to manage. I agree with "sugarfreesweetp" in that my teen years were the most difficult because you do want to be like everyone else, our body changes, our attitude changes, and sometimes we get frustrated. Keep God in your life and know He will get you through everything. If you ever need to talk - please, don't hesitate to reach out!
Best -

sugarfreesweetp 2014-01-18 09:25:31 -0600 Report

Hi Hanna!

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Being diagnosed with a lifelong problem like diabetes at a young age is shocking and confusing. I was diagnosed with type 1 when I was 9. I am now almost 28 (and healthier than ever). I am not sure that I ever fully wrapped my head around the weeks surrounding my diagnosis. I am glad to hear that your mom was looking out for you. I think one of the most important things for managing type 1 in the first couple of years is a strong support network, not being alone and making it a team effort. My mid-late teenage years were some of the hardest in terms of diabetes because of the hormonal changes in my body, cravings for sweets, and just teenage mentality of wanting to be carefree like "everyone else". If you ever need to talk, or are seeking advice for anything you are going through - shoot me an email, or keep posting here. This is a great place for that, and there are people here who have been through it too!

Rebelove 2013-12-18 18:11:05 -0600 Report

You inspire me, Hannah! :) I am so proud of you, and I hope you are successful in your fight against diabetes. Always remember…you have diabetes, but diabetes does not have you! Good luck, and please keep me posted! :)

Turtle 2013-06-08 01:41:21 -0500 Report

Hi Hannah, I just saw what you wrote. You are brave, strong, and smart. You can do this. I live near Mary Bridge Childrens Hosp. I am happy they took good care of you. Whats more, I am happy to hear your mom is a retired nurse. She can help you lots. I am T2 and have been D for about 10 yrs. I'm going to send you a friend request.

marz54 2013-04-20 16:09:16 -0500 Report

Hi Hannah, what a story you have told. I am a Type 2 diabetic and i never had to go through what you have gone through but it is really nice your reaching out to other diabetics.

zeitghost 2011-12-17 15:07:52 -0600 Report

Hi, Hannah, that's a pretty crazy story! I had something similar happen when I was diagnosed 7 years ago. You'll be tough and it's awesome to know that you're reaching out to other diabetics as resources!

dwilbur 2011-12-05 22:06:59 -0600 Report

Thats such a great story ! i'm 15 but i first found out when i was 2 so i had NO IDEA what it was when i first found out so here i am 13 years later :)

sloane 2011-12-03 07:36:08 -0600 Report

I loved your story and know you will do great; I have two sons with diabetes-diagnosed even younger than yourself and they have grown into wonderful young men..have a happy holiday season!!

LindseyLou993 2011-11-30 09:49:22 -0600 Report

Hi Hannah!

It can be SO scary at first. It was really hard for me to accept, too. I remember thinking "why me? What did i do to deserve this?" I didn't understand how I could be athletic, healthy, skinny, nice and friendly and still end up with something so terrible. Diabetes doesn't discriminate for sure!

Try and take it one day at a time. SOmedays you will be discouraged and that's OK. It is not a fun thing to have but within NO time it will be second nature. I've gotten to the point where I can just look at what I'm gonna eat and I just know how much insulin to take without being like " thirty two carbs and 32/10 is blah blah blah"

You'll be OK! Stay positive!

Set apart
Set apart 2011-12-01 13:24:19 -0600 Report

Hi Hannah, your story is beautiful and knowing that you have God on your side will be your biggest team player. I am a lot older than you and feel for you, but without God in my life and prayer from my family and friends I wouldn't be able to do this. You are on the right track and this website will be great for you. There's some fabulous people on this site going through all the same stuff we are. I am a T1 and new to this also. God Bless

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-30 09:38:27 -0600 Report

Oh my! What a story! I thank you so much for sharing this. I must say, you have handled this with such a level of maturity that i find remarkable. I'm very happy that you have such a wonderful support network of family, friends and church. That is a very big blessing. Having faith is so important. I could not do what I need to do in this life with out it! And thank God for you mother fighting for what she knew had to be done. She sounds like a wonderful person and I'm glad for you to have her!

I pray you continue your journey with all the wisdom you have shown us here, and i pray you stay apart of our community here and share your journey with us. You are an inspiration young one. God Bless you and your family!

Annie Banannie
Annie Banannie 2011-11-30 01:31:27 -0600 Report

Wow, what an incredible story! You are so blessed to have such wonderful parents, siblings and other members of your family & friends around you! I love it that everyone came to you during your time of need. I wish you the very best in life. It sounds to me that with the support of your parents, you will succeed at this "new diagnosis" You are an inspiration to all of us! (((((HUGS)))))

pixsidust 2011-11-30 00:06:42 -0600 Report

May you always hold life precious.
May you see who you are in the eyes of God
May you grow in wisdom and in spirit
Let Laughter be yours and a song in your heart
Wipe your tears when they come and feel the Love
that is yours and will be yours forever
Take care of yourself and
Grow Old Hannah, grow old.

Love, from someone whose almost old

hreitsch 2011-11-30 00:44:21 -0600 Report

wow thanks thats awsome coming from a stranger everyone is so nice here! thankyou so much for the support.

alanbossman 2011-11-29 16:38:09 -0600 Report

I liked your story great job well written my story is almost the same except that I was older than you. I was parking cars at our church fair back in June 2008, running to the bathroom every few minutes and very, very thirsty. A friend works as a nurse brought in a meter to test me and it read high, she told my wife to take me to a hospital now. So off I went, they check me out and told me I was staying. I was in ICU for 8 days my BS sugar was 716. So there I was all hookup to 2 Iv's. And no food.

roshy 2011-11-29 15:32:22 -0600 Report

your story is very well written and i cant thank you enough for posting it.
I was 3 years older then you when i went through the same thing and that was almost 8 years ago however i remember it like it was yesterday!
Your maturity is amazing, and ability to appriciate the support from your family, friends and all the medical staff who helped you is something adults fail to do all the time.
The most important advise i can give you is to always to remind yourself you are not alone when you have type one diabetes. If you sometimes feel like you are having trouble with sugars or insulin make sure to tell someone. The problem can get much bigger then it needs to be if you try takkling it by yourself.
Try to get involved in support groupa with other type ones!! i wish i done this when i was younger, i think it would have made me feel a little better knowing i wasnt the only type one; having a friend to relate to can be a really special help, espically at your age..
And as for the needles, i can relate to the fear and pressure you have when you start off, but once you get used to it it gets alot easier!!! well done for all the hard work you have done since your diagnosis!! you should be so proud of yourself!!
remember to keep learning about your diabetes and us this site to your great advantage!!

best of luck with your future


hreitsch 2011-11-29 16:14:47 -0600 Report

Thankyou. I know im not alone everyone on this site is sooo kind!! I also have a few new friends that also have type 1 :) thanks for the advise!!

Young1s 2011-11-29 14:22:50 -0600 Report

Oh My Goodness! 714? I thank God that your mom was so insistant in getting you checked. I know all of that was scary and overwhelming but you got through the rough part, and that's important. I know that I don't know you, but I am proud of you too. You seem to be handling this with such maturity and with your eyes wide open. You are extremely fortunate to have such a great support system. And as Gabby said, you really are an inspiration to us all. I pray that you stay this strong and determined. Thank you for sharing.

hreitsch 2011-11-29 14:50:36 -0600 Report

Yeah, isn't that wild?!? they said i was 1 cup cake away from a coma, think of were i would be if i went to that birthday party! yeah my mom is the best, most awesome carb countin' mama ever! It was scary it felt unreal but i had lots of help from my friends,family,and especially God! Thankyou!!

GabbyPA 2011-11-29 13:54:56 -0600 Report

This is an inspiration! You are fortunate that your mom knew the signs and that your friends were there for you. So many of us find out in the hospital, you were one of the first to really share the story in detail. I hope that you are able to share the things you learn from your team with us as well. Glad to have you here!

hreitsch 2011-11-29 13:58:39 -0600 Report

Thanks, thats what everyone has been saying about my mom. she IS a super great person and so are my friends! I wanted to post the story of how i was diagnosed because everyone says its so amazing i just felt like i should share.

MEGriff1950 2011-11-29 13:52:34 -0600 Report

Hello Hannah Welcome to DC and I wish to congratulate you on the adult manner you are handling your diabetes. As you travel over the site you will find that many of us spent a long time in denial. With the education and support you have and have received you are going to get control very quickly. God bless your mother for fighting for your health.
I am a type 2 so can't offer you much help but will pray for you :)
God bless you,