Three Words that Changed My Life Forever…Type 1 Diabetes

National Tell a Story Day

I will never forget April 30, 2003, the day my life changed forever. My mom picked me up from school and asked, “How many times did you pee today, Hannah?” It’s a question she’s been asking frequently. I thought I might get in trouble if I told her the truth, so I said only twice.

We drove away and suddenly I could tell we were driving in the direction of my pediatrician’s office, not home. When I noticed my dad’s car in the parking lot, I knew it was not a routine visit, something was off. I was rushed inside, weight taken, vitals checked and then the dreaded blood test.

After some time passed, the doctor came in and told us to sit down. He started speaking to my parents about how all the signs; my drastic weight loss, the number of times I went to the bathroom and the amount of liquids I consumed daily confirmed what my parents already thought, I have type 1 diabetes (T1D).

I was diagnosed with T1D 17 years ago at the age of 7. My childhood was spent counting carbs, making sure I had all my supplies every time I left the house, worrying about ketoacidosis, low blood sugar and having to go to the hospital.

After my diagnosis, life was hard. I was not allowed to go on field trips, kids teased me and said I had “cooties” (the simple term for contagious) and I could not enjoy food or life the same way I did before. It was not until that summer that things started getting better.

My dad found a camp for kids with T1D and booked a weekend family trip. The first thing I did when I got there was learn how to give myself insulin shots. I wasn’t scared; I was excited to gain some control back. My parents found other parents who were worried about this new predicament as well and talked about tips for management and how to cope.

I never really had hope growing up that there would be a cure during my lifetime…until now!

As the Development Assistant at the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC), I see first-hand the innovative research being funded and it gives me hope.

Now, I have hope that this disease WILL be eliminated, and I WILL be alive when the cure is discovered.

~ Written by Hannah Gebauer

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