I’m a 30-something guy in Southern California who’s been living with Type 1 Diabetes for almost 20 years. Welcome to my Beta Cell-Deficient life.
I was diagnosed with T1D as a freshman in college. I’ve been through all manner of trials and tribulations. I lived without health insurance for a good number of years, surviving on over-the-counter insulins (R and NPH), re-using syringes, testing infrequently, and doing all of the things that they tell diabetics NOT to do.
Over the past 5 years, however, I’ve gotten my act back together. The Affordable Care Act made it possible for people like me (contractors/consultants and the self-employed) to have access to insurance. The tools that change gave me access to- insulin analogs, pumps, enough testing supplies to be able to afford to test regularly, and most recently, a Dexcom G5 CGM have been truly life-changing.
I’ve also come to realize that even with the best tools, in order to live life with diabetes, the patient needs to have an understanding of the disease and how to manage it. You can’t call your doctor every time your blood sugar is high or low and ask for advice. The day-to-day management and dosing decisions fall on the patient. In many ways, people living with diabetes need to be their own doctors. Endocrinologists and CDEs may be the experts on “Diabetes”, but it is up to the person living with the disease on a daily basis to become the true expert on “My Diabetes.”
In case you’re wondering, the image at the top is a mouse islet cell visualised using immunofluorescent microscopy. Colours: red = insulin antibody, blue = DAPI = nuclei, green unspecific anti-mouse secondary antibody (stains mostly intercellular matrix) Dimension: real width 326µm Generated in the Solimena lab, Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden. Photo by Jakob Suckale.