During the 60 years I’ve lived with diabetes, I’ve seen many changes in how diabetes is treated and how people live with diabetes.

When I was 11 years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. At that time, I had to sterilize a glass syringe and needle by boiling them before giving myself an insulin injection. Later, disposable syringes and needles became available, followed by insulin pens and then insulin pumps. 

Those of us who use insulin pens must give ourselves six-to-seven shots every day. Additionally, all Type 1 diabetics must also check their blood sugar levels by using a glucometer or wearing a CGM (Continuous Glucose Meter). 

We must take insulin for every snack or meal and dosages vary according to our glucose level and the amount of carbohydrates consumed. As you can imagine, it’s a lot of work to manage diabetes and we must do this every day for the rest of our lives. 

We “become” dietitians, mathematicians, physicians, and personal trainers in order to maintain good control with our disease.

I’ve had to overcome some very challenging obstacles along my life’s journey. Until I was 25 years old, I had 20/20 eyesight. Then I lost my sight due to secondary complications of diabetes. It saddens me that I’ve never seen our daughter’s beautiful face, born when I was 29, nor the cute little faces of our granddaughters. In December of 2019, I received a kidney transplant.

I’ve had friends who have experienced strokes, amputations, nerve damage (neuropathy),and blindness. I’ve known several who have died — two of hypoglycemia and 12 of secondary complications. Diabetes has robbed so many of us who live with diabetes.

Living with diabetes is like walking on a balance beam. High glucose levels can cause secondary complications. Low glucose levels can cause hypoglycemia, and possibly death. Just like walking on a balance beam, one must try to keep in the middle.

I continue to navigate through life with gratitude and joy. Modern technology has brought improvements in the treatment for diabetes which has greatly helped me and countless other diabetics. But we desperately need a cure. I continue to dream for that cure. I live with hope.

There has been good news. There is light at the end of our tunnel. We are now close to that cure and with the support of Lions and others, a cure for diabetes is within reach!

As a Lions member, and someone who lives with diabetes, I’m so thankful for the support Lions provide for diabetes research, as well as screening and education.