November 26, 2019

In support of #TheDropSpotted campaign and Diabetes Awareness Month, I’d like to share my experience with type 1 diabetes.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes shortly after my 16th birthday. Even though my dad is a doctor and he told me how serious of disease diabetes is, I was young and felt pretty indestructible. I didn’t notice any major changes in the way I felt, so I wasn’t great about checking my blood sugar. After years of this lax approach without having any complications, loose blood sugar control finally caught up to me in my early 30’s when my diabetic retinopathy in my eyes got so bad that I started to get bleeds in my eyes from the fragile blood vessels that were growing irregularly in my retina. I eventually had to have two serious eye surgeries, a vitrectomy in each eye, which often leaves people with very impaired vision. I was lucky to recover most of my vision because I had an amazing surgeon, but diabetes is very serious. It’s something that I now monitor very seriously. I have an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitoring system, and I would advise anyone with the disease to think about the long term health consequences of not monitoring their blood sugar closely. The joke I make is, the problem with diabetes is if you give it an inch, it takes a foot! The threat of amputation from bad circulation caused by consistently high blood sugar is very real, so take it seriously and you can live a long and quality life with well-managed diabetes.

Beyond Type 1 is a nonprofit organization that provides solutions, programs and grants to improve the lives of those affected by type 1 and type 2 diabetes. To learn more about their work, please visit: https://beyondtype1.org/. Thanks for caring!

– Shepard