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Never Give Up!

When I was 6 years old, my family and I went on a cruise. At the time, we lived in Armenia. During the cruise, I started drinking lots of water, and I stopped eating. I was losing lots of weight, and my parents were worried. When we got back from the cruise, my mom took me to see a doctor. They tested my blood sugar many times, but I didn’t know what was going on. My mom decided to take me to a diabetes doctor. When the doctor told us I had diabetes, my parents were very sad and depressed, my mom even started crying. I lived in Armenia for about one year before I moved to USA. Diabetes is a lot easier and the doctors are so much better in USA. When I first got here, I used a syringe to get insulin. Then I used a pen, and now, I have a pump. Before I got the pump, I met with my idol, Dr. Francine Kaufman. After I met her, I started doing research about her, and saw all of her achievements. She inspires me to be just like her, and that is my life goal. Now, I've had my pump for a little more than one and a half years, and I really like it. It enables me to have a more convenient lifestyle that I enjoy a lot more than when I didn't have the pump. Diabetes has inspired me to be a whole new person. Even though I was very young when I got diagnosed, I still remember the days without diabetes. And even though I had more freedom back then, I'm actually glad to have diabetes, because it opens my eyes to a whole new universe that I didn't know existed. My parents are the reason I have such great control over my diabetes, because they help me in so many ways, and I can't thank them enough. Diabetes has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, it makes me who I am, and I can't imagine living without it.

Lusin Yengibaryan
Glendale, CA

"I'm not diabetic!"

I was 41 years old and starting a new, part time job. As part of employee health, they ran routine blood work and when I went back to talk to the nurse, she asked me how long I had been diabetic. I told her in no uncertain terms, "I'm not diabetic!" I told her she had the wrong chart...it wasn't me! Turns out she didn't...and I was. My sugar was over 400 and I went to my doctor the next week. On August 3, 2001, I was officially diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic. (I am now a 1.5.)

I lost a lot of weight in the beginning. Was so afraid to eat anything. After a while, I got the hang of things and found my own routine. In the beginning, did pretty good managing with the medicine. After several years, the pills weren't working any more. On July 2, 2011, after much debate, I started insulin shots. The roller coaster of highs and lows was awful. I felt so bad so often so I was willing for the insulin. I felt like such a failure. I had tried so hard to keep it under control and couldn't. I found a fabulous doctor who assured me I wasn't a failure and helped me through. It's all good now and I'm on it everyday! I stick my finger and take my shots diligently. I am never without my meter or my insulin. I am compliant. I have such wonderful support from my children and family and friends. I am so blessed with their understanding and love. I educate anyone who will listen. Others may not can "see" diabetes, but I sure can feel it!

This is a picture of my dog, Dolly, and me as we walked in my local ADA fundraiser walk last year. I made her bandana! We will walk again this year. I'm looking forward to the cure...but until then, I have it for it certainly doesn't have me!

Cindy Fullerton
Spartanburg, SC

Competing for the Crown

I was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic on February 22, 2012, after taking myself to the ER and spending a couple days in ICU with a blood sugar of 710 mg/dl, I was in DKA, with muscle spasms, and a irregular heartbeat. Just a few years before this I was also diagnosed with having Ehlers Danlos, a rare genetic disease that causes hyper mobility in joints and tissues.

This October 2014, I am representing Little Rock (the state's capital) and competing to become the next Miss Arkansas USA for the year of 2015. I realized after my diagnosis that as a Type 1 I can not live without insulin. If this was the year 1920 then February 22, would have been on my death certificate. So, I consider insulin therapy as a chance that allows me to have a second shot at life, and with that life I intend to live it to the fullest and go after all of my dreams & aspirations. I'm engaged to an amazing man, I have 3 semesters left before receiving my bachelors in psychology with pre-med, and a minor in criminal justice. AND this T1D is taking it to the stage in October!

If I could tell the entire D community one thing it would be DO NOT LET anyone tell you there is something you can not do because of this disease. I encourage you to go after all the things you want in this life while managing your diabetes! Do not let your diagnosis of diabetes be your end all; rather, let it be the beginning to a new life.

Little Rock, AR

Addison's Story

When my daughter Addison was 3.5 years old she began to have an insatiable appetite and thirst, was using the bathroom frequently and wetting the bed multiple times a night. We immediately knew something was wrong. We took her to her pediatrician to be checked out knowing she was exhibiting symptoms of Diabetes. Addison was tested and her blood sugar was 685. Immediately we were on our way to Hasbro Children's Hospital! When Addison was admitted she wasn't sick, had no Ketones and was in good spirits. She amazed the Doctor's and Nurses and they kept telling us how lucky we were to have realized something wasn't right so quickly. There is no history of diabetes in our family, this was all new to us. Addison spent one night in the hospital and then we received out patient Diabetes education.

Once we understood the disease we made the choice to move her care to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, MA. There we have become well educated and cared for. This diagnosis has made a profound impact on our whole family. Learning about diabetes, understanding this disease, meeting other families living with it has changed all of us. I have recently returned to school to earn a nursing degree so I can become a Diabetes Educator to help other diabetics and their families and to always be able to provide the best quality of life for my daughter. Addison overcomes and conquers obstacles each day. She is learning how important taking care of herself, eating well and being active is. Addison began pumping 2 years after diagnosis and is using and Omni Pod pump. Today she is an active, healthy 7 year old who does not let her diabetes get in the way of fulfilling her dreams! Her biggest dream is to one day have a cure for this disease!!!

Jessica Boulris
Cumberland, RI

A Miracle to be Alive

My name is Bonnie, I've had diabetes for 12 years. I was diagnosed December 2004 when I was 8 years old.

I started to feel ill, which turned into a few days, which turned into a week. My mother knew something wasn't right so, she took me to the doctors. The doctors ran test and told us that I had the flu. Once again my mother knew something wasn't right as my condition grew worse as it turned into another week. I became nauseous, lost my appetite completely, was dehydrated, wetting the bed nightly, as I became weaker day by day. I remember my mother coming into my room nightly multiple times to check on me, waking me up holding up her fingers saying, "How many fingers am I holding up?" at this point I was seeing double. Though, my vision was soon lost.

One night, my mother came back into my room and I didn't awake. I woke up after a two week coma in the Children's Hospital. The doctors were surprised I awoke as soon as I did and were surprised I was still alive. Soon, I found my blood sugars were recorded to be over 1,100 and I was Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve. I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas wish.

Months later, I didn't want to accept the fact that I was living with this 'disease', I refused to take my insulin, refused to test, and didn't take care of myself, my blood sugars ranged from 300 too 500 daily going into ketoacidosis twice in one year, with an A1c of 17.5. I was told that I wouldn't live past 14 if I didn't get my act together. When I was 13, I was scared into taking care of myself, after my father lost his leg due to not taking care of his diabetes.

Today, I am 19 and have my diabetes under control. my numbers now range from 130 to 200 with an A1c of 7.5. It's a miracle to be alive today.

Bonnie Jones
Westminster, CO

A story of a survivor.

My name's Jaimi and this is my story.

It was 2 weeks before my 11th birthday in 2009 when I found out I had type 1 diabetes. (Great birthday present, right?) The symptoms had been there for a while, but weren't acknowledged until my diabetic father had decided to check my blood sugar after a long night of talking. With my sugar being unreadable to the meter, we were off to the hospital.

Now at 16, I have learned to take care of myself to the best of my abilities. I have had some slip-ups on the way though. As a newly diabetic, I would make sure to take extra care when giving my injections. At 11, almost 12, I grabbed the wrong insulin one night though, and didn't realize it until my blood sugar dropped to 28. At 13, I decided not to be a diabetic anymore. I had stopped taking my insulin for 2 weeks before I showed all known signs of DKA. (Diabetic Ketoacidosis.) After being rushed to the hospital and surrounded by a million doctors, I was settled in ICU until being transferred to a regular room. Turns out, my blood sugar was 1,032. I was also recorded for nursing training while in ICU at Main Campus Children's. They had said that my blood sugar was the highest they have seen coming into the ICU. If you say that in an excited tone, it sounds awesome! But it was not, and I have not done it again. I've suffered with depression, so I've almost gone into DKA, but I've realized what I was doing, and with the help of my family, I've gotten through everything diabetes has thrown at me. Though diabetes is a part of who I am, I would like to see a cure.

Morrow, OH

Easy Breezy

Hey y'all, my name is Breanna but my close friends and family call me Breezy. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 8 years old...roughly 13 years ago.

After my diagnosis, I learned to take my diabetes in stride and let everything just be easy breezy. I had the support of my mom and sister, and that support has never wavered.

Throughout my ups and downs with my diabetes, my doctors, dietitians and immediate family have always supported my decisions, gave me solid advice for my diabetes, and enabled me to ultimately accept my disease. Despite the constant responsibilities and worries that come with diabetes, I have learned to not let my diabetes define me in a negative light. But rather, in a positive light.

Diabetes has taught me time-management, self-preservation and the ability to speak up for myself. I learned to fight for what I need and what with my disease, and manage my blood sugar levels and insulin injections in a mature manner all the while juggling the rest of my responsibilities in life.

My diabetes has allowed me to strengthen my faith in God, in the power of love and in myself. I continually hope for a miracle in finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes one day.

Breanna Larsen
Spring, TX

From the age of four.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of four in 1999.

I can't remember life before it, its always been a constant in my life and I've always found it difficult to control because I've felt excluded for having to eat differently than other children. However in 2002 I took a bad and had a sever hypo while in school, it was then that my friends started to realise how bad it could be.

Now that I'm almost I can say that not to much has changed, however I need to consider my future, I'm studying sports and need a healthy body, when I was first diagnosed I lost a lot of body weight at a young age and I have always found it hard to put any back on, I love nothing more than a good workout but due to my control there isn't much benefit.

I see what a lack of glucose control can do through my gran and I'm looking forward to getting everything back on track. A healthy lifestyle can help with the control I am finding so far, and i am starting to feel more of the benefits.

Peter Dymond
John O' Groats, United Kingdom

Proving Everyone Wrong!

Summer 2012, I was living on the island of Trinidad (Caribbean) - blogging (Learning Patience on FB), running and loving life. One day, I jumped in a pool and I accidentally sat on my right foot, big toe touching heel on the bottom of the pool. An aircast was slapped on for the next 8 weeks. While visiting my parents in the US, I was given the go ahead to finally start running again. I was happy but I felt horrible. My eyes were bone dry and I had severe heartburn. I just knew something was wrong. My family teased me for going to the ER the next morning. The nurse told me I had jetlag & to go home, but I refused. Minutes later, she returned saying she'd made a mistake. I had Type 2 diabetes. My BS was 945. She gave me Metformin, told me to eat better and sent me home. At 5'9, 130lbs and a vegetarian my whole life, I couldn't understand how I got Type2. I took the meds and the next morning went running at 5am. On my third step, I collapsed and I couldn't breathe. My dad found me, called the pharmacy was told I was given the wrong medicine. I wasn't a T2, I was a T1 and the Metformin was killing me. I made it to the ER, barely. Turns out, I should've never been released and now I was minutes from slipping into a coma. Every organ in my body was failing and my keytones were at 99. 7 days later, I was released with an A1C of 13.5. Three months later, my A1C was down to 6 and I was running again! Unfortunately, foot surgery was needed and 12 pieces of titanium later I was side-lined for 4mnths and was told I would never run again. 7mnths post cast, in Oct 2013, I finished my comeback half marathon with a PB time of 1:58. This week marked my 2yr diagnosis anniversary and I'm running faster than EVER before...

I REFUSE to let this horrible disease get in my way!

Corey melke Hinz
London, United Kingdom

Diabetes didn't win

I found out I had diabetes at the age of 13 and thought things would never be the same again. I started feeling sluggish and had lots of trips to the restroom. Oddly our family is no stranger to this disease, my older sister was diagnosed at the age of 13 as well. My mom knew from the signs something was wrong. She cried the day we found out, it was something she couldn't fix. I started out on the pills and within a week was on 4 insulin shots a day. People automatically put limits on you due to the disease. That is more frustrating than the disease. This isn't something that you can take a few pills and fix, there is no cure currently. Insulin keeps us alive to go another day. We have a different diet than most and do have our limits on certain things. Diabetes can be managed but does take discipline. I choose to live and not let this disease defeat me! My mom and dad both now have type 2 diabetes and have had uncles die from this disease. This makes me more determined to help those who need it. I started on an insulin pump 12 years ago and have found it to manage the diabetes better. There are others out there just like you, don't feel like you are alone to fight this. I have lived with the disease for 30 years and still going. I refuse to let Diabetes win.

Mary Cramer
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