Featured Reader's Letter
Growing up with Type 1 DiabetesTacy Surrett
In July, I traveled to Washington, D.C. to be with 150 other kids with Type 1 Diabetes – this time I was among the many, not the few, with T1D – I always feel alone with this disease but not this time.
I had a chance to share my story with the Maryland delegation and tell them about the importance of the Special Diabetes Program. While I grew up in West River and will always be from Maryland, I am currently stationed in Ankara, Turkey with my family. Managing diabetes is not fun or easy, but doing it in another country is even more difficult!
I have had T1D since I was seven years old. Every single day for the last six years I have had to check my blood sugar and give myself insulin injections, while measuring everything I eat and drink. Some days are easier than others, but there is never a day off from managing my disease. I do what I can to stay positive about living with T1D because I have the support of my family and friends. However, it’s not easy at all. One of the unique things about me is that I have an older with brother with T1D as well. It is a blessing to have someone who can fully understand the hardships and tough times of this disease. When you live with diabetes, every single day is a learning experience.
My parents worry about complications from this disease, like kidney failure, vision problems like blindness, and heart disease. Day to day, I am afraid of high blood sugars causing me to go into a coma or low blood sugars causing a seizure. One of the scariest things that has ever happened to me was when my brother had a seizure. He has actually had eight of them. I hope that a cure is found so other 13 year olds don’t have to keep worrying and so that others don’t have to live with this disease!
Even though Type I diabetes is a hard disease to live with, I have been able to do a lot with it. I am proud that I can go to sleepovers, to camp, that I can hike, and bike, and mountain climb and do all the fun things a normal teenager can do! (Except drink regular soda, but that’s okay.) I have been able to travel the world and spend time with my friends and family while living with this disease. I would like to continue to do so.
Thankfully, the SDP, or Special Diabetes Program, is leading to better treatments and life-changing technologies, like the artificial pancreas, so that I’ll be healthy when a cure is found.
When I was on Capitol Hill, I asked our Members of Congress to renew the SDP. November is National Diabetes Awareness month, so I am happy to celebrate that Senator Mikulski, Senator Cardin, and Congressman Hoyer support the SDP so I can stay healthy and safe until a cure is found.
Thank you so much!