Living with Diabetes
through the use of Community Advocacy, Social Media, & BLUE Flamingos!
Blake's Diagnosis Story:
July 2, 2009…the day insulin saved my life.
It's been just a little more than two years since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Twenty-four months--that's at least 6,000 finger pricks to test his blood sugar levels--since the doctor identified my weight loss and constant thirst as classic symptoms of that disease.
Our family usually spends one week at Sunriver Resort in central Oregon. We love swimming, biking, hiking, and exploring the area. Summer of 2009 was no different, except for the fact that I couldn’t go more than half an hour without having to go to the bathroom, I didn’t have any energy, and I just felt bad. We were trying to enjoy our vacation, but mom insisted that she take me to the urgent care in Bend. When we got there, she described my symptoms to the doctor. He checked my blood, and said that I was in severe diabetic ketoacidosis. We had no idea what that meant, and it sure made my mom cry, but we went directly to the emergency room at St. Charles Memorial Hospital in Bend, Oregon. The doctors put a giant needle in my arm. By that time, my dad had arrived. He said he could hear me screaming from the entrance. It was not good.
My family and I spent five days after the diagnosis at the hospital. The four of us learned how food affects blood sugar, how mood swings can indicate sugar highs and lows, and the many kinds of insulin and how to mix them. We were scared and overwhelmed.
Slowly, type 1 diabetes has become part of our lives. I try to explain to my friends and classmates that diabetes is not contagious. When I was first diagnosed, I was telling one of my good friends that I had diabetes. He said, “I think I had that one time after I ate something that made me sick.” I had to tell him, “No, it doesn’t mean I have diarrhea.”
Lot of people ask me “How are you doing?” Most days, I’m fine. But I can never go more than a few hours without thinking about my disease, and that gets old. I know that almost every night my mom will come into my room and poke my finger to make sure I am ok. I don’t like it, and I know she doesn’t either…but I sure appreciate it.
When I was diagnosed, one of the doctors predicted that my family and I would be very different people in a year's time. Amazingly, we are. We have refocused the energy we spent worrying to promoting awareness about diabetes and raising funds for research we believe will lead to better ways of managing the disease and, eventually, a cure.