In the summer of 1987, I was 6 years old, living in Kentucky. Typically during the summers, I ran around outside playing with my friends. However, in 1987, I didn't do quite as much running. I also wasn't eating much, and I lost a lot of weight. I was tall and skinny, and after my mom TRIED to get me to eat anything...even ice cream, and I wouldn't, she decided to take me in to the doctor on August 10, 1987. I don't remember getting my blood drawn, or even seeing a doctor. I just remember being in the hospital, and there was a nurse named Jennifer who I really liked.
At one point, a doctor came into my hospital room and talked with my parents and me. He told us that I had a disease, and that the disease was called "Diabetes". I began to cry when I heard this news, because in my 6-year-old-mind, I believed that a disease ment that you were going to die. I don't remember a whole lot of the medical details beyond that. What I do remember is that I missed about a week or two of first grade, and I had to do my homework in the hospital to keep up. Also, my classmates all made cards for me while I was there. My cousin, Josh, had a birthday while I was in the hospital and I was allowed out to go to his party. The party was a pool party and he had a chocolate chip cookie cake in place of a normal birthday cake. I think I may have been allowed to have a little bit of this, but probably not much. I wasn't allowed to have sugar again until much later - once I started wearing a pump in college.
Before leaving the hospital, my parents had to learn to give me insulin shots (pork insulin at that point) and test my blood sugar (twice per day), and I think I had to give myself one shot before they'd let me out.
It took a few years before I started injecting myself regularly, and even longer for me to test my bloodsugar more than twice a day. Now, I test my blood sugar 10-15 times per day and rather than avoiding sugar entirely, I now count carbohydrates and give insulin accordingly - enabling me to eat whatever I want.
Things have come a long way in 21 years, and I have a lot more freedom than I had with 2 shots per day, 2 blood tests per day, and my "no sugar" diet, but even with all of the gadgets and advances in technology we diabetics have now, we don't have a cure. If you agree that we need a cure and want to help, please donate to the JDRF or DRI and support research that hopefully will lead to a solution that is more than just "diabetes management".