Skip to main content

#happydiabeticchallenge - Diagnosis

Well this is a little embarrassing - I'm coming up on 10 years of blogging about my adventures with Type 1 Diabetes and all things space but haven't ever formally shared my diagnosis story. Sheesh.

Continuing with Leah's (@the.insulin.type) MAY you be a #happydiabeticchallenge today - day 2 is all about #throwback to diagnosis.

Stop rolling your eyes, of course I was an astronaut for Halloween (for like 6 Halloweens - pretty much every year this jumpsuit fit). 

Honestly, there isn't anything particularly unique about my diagnosis story, but maybe that's precisely why I should share it. The more people who know the signs and symptoms, the better.

What we all thought was just your standard run-of-the-mill December cold morphed into some odd symptoms. I was 11 years old and my grandparents were in town just like every Christmas. Normally we would stay up late playing cards and eating chocolates, but not this year. All I wanted to do was go to bed and then, once I was there I had to get up to pee 8-10 times. I was incessantly thirsty and just plain miserable.

My mom (bless her heart), thought I may be suffering from a urinary tract infection and like the good 'ol-wive' she is offered cranberry juice as a homeopathic remedy. Unbeknownst to her, this was the opposite of what my body needed. We started going to the pediatrician - and I say "started" because it felt like 5 days of going to the pediatrician, peeing in a cup and getting a blood test before they finally diagnosed me with Type 1 Diabetes.

I didn't need cranberry juice - I needed insulin.

To say the diagnosis was 'out of the blue' would be an understatement. I had never heard of Type 1 Diabetes and my parents seemed clouded by a fog of fear. We had no idea what the disease would entail, how our lives would change or what caused it to hit that Christmas break. And even now, 20 years later, I still don't have concrete answers to those questions. I am very much a work-in-progress-diabetic.

And her? That girl up there in the astronaut costume blissfully unaware of a rogue gene mutation that will change her life in just a couple months? I wouldn't change her a bit, or warn her it's coming, or burden her with even a single thought of diabetes. There will be a lifetime for all that later.

PS - I would love for you to hop on Instagram and give @nerdyapril a "follow"!


  1. Everybody knows that the cranberry juice is no good against diabetes. We all know that takes the ink form three jelly fish, the rust of 14 nails, grass clippings,maple tree bark and cumin (lots and lots of cumin).

    My mom was T1 so we knew almost instantly what the issue was and what had to be done. We also knew we were at Disney world and my mom and dad had saved for the trip. So we decided to stay. Mom being my mom decided that a few days would not matter much and lots of pancakes, ice cream and a few times to throw up was a good way to manage diabetes for two weeks.

    As she said, hey you wont die and lets face it you may never come to FL again. LOL. I laugh about the cranberry juice or the stay tow weeks in FL based on how we do things today. But as my mom used to say, hey a few weeks wont matter and you probably wont die. :)

  2. Wow, wow, wow!!! This is an amazing story! Sometimes we look back on the past and say "thank goodness we didn't die because we didn't use seatbelts" but this, THIS, is something else! So glad you made it through that Disney vacation!!


Post a Comment

Who has two thumbs and loves comments? Nerdy April!!! Type one out and hit publish!

Popular posts from this blog

The road to curing Type 1 Diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, the road is rough, the learning curve is steep and the stakes are literally life or death. The map is less-than-helpful - paths originating from virtually every corner, coalescing at a center point (aka "diagnosis") and bursting back outwards - some paths cross and wrap around each other but others are isolated. And even with all of these roads, most of the territory is uncharted - how did we all get here and how will we all exit? Where are the obstacles we haven't found yet? Which passage holds the key to unlocking the solution?

On any given day I feel pretty isolated with this disease - I'm the only T1D in my group at work, the only one in mission control, the only one in my family. I go through the logistics of calling insurance companies, ordering supplies, changing sites and troubleshooting malfunctions mostly on my own. Even those pesky carbs really only get counted in my brain, no group think for a meal bolus here. But there is b…


Last week I had the chance to mentor a newly certified ADCO trainee - the NASA process is called "Hot On-The-Job-Training", or Hot OJT. What makes it "hot" you ask? Well, essentially I am hands off - he is sitting at the console, working all the plan reviews and updates, making calls to other flight controllers and to the flight director, reacting to anomalies and preparing material for the shift handover. My job is to act as the fault tolerance - a backup ADCO of sorts.

Tuesday was his last official day and by Wednesday morning he was in the backroom sending commands to ISS in preparation for the docking of a three-person Soyuz.

The beauty of this system is the gradual buildup in responsibility. There is a subtle shift from student, to subject matter expert, to fresh operations trainee to advanced trainee and finally to certification and real-time operations flight controller - the process takes two years on average and is considered by many to be enough specializ…


Healthcare is such a tricky subject. Ironically, it seems the conversation has shifted away from health CARE in favor of divisive politics with a healthy side of cash. But I'm here to tell you there are real people dealing with real diseases behind all those numbers. And with a laser focus on the rising cost of insulin lately and advocacy groups like #insulin4all making waves, it prompted me to take a look at my own T1D cost breakdown.

**Please keep in mind I have (pretty good!) private insurance through my husband's employer and our income allows us to absorb these costs without pinching too many pennies. We have also been graced with good health (diabetes notwithstanding) and rarely order any prescriptions outside of those for my T1D. But its clear only a slight shift in this delicate equation can make for a dire situation.

Here's what my out-of-pocket looks like to cover type 1 diabetes annually:

The numbers above reflect simply the "baseline operating costs"…
01 09 10