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A Life With Diabetes

Diagnosed on April 10, 1985, thirteen years of my life have now been spent living, coping, and dealing with insulin-dependent diabetes.

It wears on me. It does harm to my body. It is always with me.

All I can think is how different my life would be if I did not have diabetes. For no diabetes would mean a life free of testing, site changes, and carb counting. Reactions would not occur. There would be little worry of a problem pregnancy. Complications would not be a factor.

Instead, all I can do is have the best management I can. This does not come easy nor does it come without a price. It requires a diligence in care, a regimen to uphold, and ranges to reach.

So, what happens when I am out of range? If I am low I act drunk, I am completely out of it, and I am in need of glucose. If I am high, I do not feel great, I am irritable, and I am in need of insulin.

What gets me is when my bloodsugar level does not make sense. It is the most infuriating thing. Especially when I am trying and have not done anything wrong.

The DCCT applauds tight control. Though the real question is, do people really understand what it means to have this tight control? All I know is that it is not easy. It is demanding, challenging, and difficult.

All I want is for someone to hold me, to comfort me, and say: "Denise, it will be okay." Unfortunately, no one can do this as my future and the role diabetes will have in it is uncertain. I can hope for a payoff for tight control, but there is no guarantee.

What do I want?

A life without diabetes.

Denise Kay Gordon
April 5, 1998

Denise was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes at the age of eleven. After spending five days in a hospital learning how to test her bloodsugar and take shots she returned home to her parents who made a point to provide her with the best care possible. She attended Camp Midicha (MI) for two sessions and then worked as a counselor at Camp Challenge (NM) for four sessions and also Gales Creek Camp (OR). On September 30, 1997, Denise started using a MiniMed 507 insulin pump which has made her diabetes easier to manage. She is also enjoying being in the trial for the Accu-Chek Complete meter. Denise earned her bachelors degree in psychology from Colorado College where she wrote her thesis on "The Role of Attitudes in the Management of Diabetes in Children" which was published in the NCUR Journal (1995). While in college she spent a semester on a program called Semester at Sea in which she sailed around the world and spent brief periods of time in 11 countries. One of her many goals is to become a member of the Joslin Club which signifies having lived 50 years with diabetes and being free of complications. Her career plans include pursuing a doctorate in psychology so she can counsel people with diabetes and other chronic diseases in addition to doing research, lecturing, and continuing to write.

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