Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.
People are generally becoming more aware of diabetes as it becomes more common in the U.S. However, many people only know about type 2 diabetes and have no idea there are other forms. That lack of awareness for type 1 means too many people miss warning signs of the condition — a sometimes deadly mistake.
Untreated, type 1 diabetes can cause serious complications, or even death. But, because people aren't aware of its symptoms, even doctors can mistake it as other illnesses until it's too late.
I may have been in a similar scary situation to the young women in this story had my mother not been aware of what diabetes was when I was a child. I was diagnosed at age 11 and was very lucky to not have needed to be hospitalized for symptoms unlike many other children who are diagnosed young. My cousin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes shortly before I was, so my mother was aware of the symptoms and had done some research on the disease. When I started acting strangely she took me to the doctor and demanded I be checked for type 1 diabetes. I spent the next several days in the hospital learning about diabetes and trying to get my blood sugar under control. But I was fortunate not to be extremely sick yet from the untreated symptoms.
Having type 1 diabetes can mean a long and difficult journey, but once diagnosed correctly, one can start insulin treatment and with a few other lifestyle adjustments, can live a very healthy and fulfilling life if they choose to stay dedicated to controlling their diabetes. It is not to be treated lightly and its basics should be taught in school health classes, along with type 2 diabetes, so that coming generations can become more aware. Who knows, it may save someone’s life someday.