Thursday, November 7, 2013

How waiting for a DAD saved my life

Meet Emmalyn G.*

Diagnosed at 9, it's been 24yrs of pricks and injections, totaling over 150,000 needles in her lifetime.

Emmalyn grew up with separated parents, in a time when diabetes was not on the forefront of anyone's mind, let alone hers. She almost died at diagnosis, with a blood sugar over 1860.

Her local elementary did not a have a school nurse, and she independently checked levels in the office by peeing on a stick at first, and months later the meter came out (hundreds of dollars out of pocket.) It took a couple minutes for each finger prick. One day, in sixth grade, when low and needing to eat right away, Emmalyn was directed to eat her lunch with Kindergartners.

She kept her disease a secret from most friends and told only those who needed to know. Boyfriends, employers, etc. Emmalyn successfully married, attended college, and had two children. One day at work she couldn't understand a customer. This was abnormal for Emmalyn. She had never experienced this problem before and was unusually confused and disoriented. At that point her boss (who knew of her Type 1 diabetes) had her check her blood sugar level which was mid-30's.

A year later at home after another frightening low of 24 without warning or anticipation/signs she learned of diabetic alert dogs and finally decided to begin researching and applying to various organizations.

It wasn't until she was invited to meet up with families from "SD's for T1D's"* that her life began to change. She saw parents and kids acting normal.

"They were unashamed to be themselves. And weren't concerned about what people thought about them, she says. Their confidence was inspiring."

Emmalyn began opening up about her Type 1 diabetes. She began checking her blood sugar without being sneaky about it or waiting until getting in the car or at home to take insulin. Emmalyn observed how carefree and easy-going these children were, and though her waiting time for her DAD is longer than most but average to some, this perspective from her DAD family is priceless. And she has been forever changed.

*editor's note names and photos have been altered by request though this story is true!

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