A day or two in the life of a Type 1 diabetic.

A day or two in the life of a Type 1 diabetic.

Bryn Smith, Internal Medicine Resident Coordinator at Northeastern Health System, was was diagnosed with non-familial Type 1 diabetes when she was eight years old. In recognition of November as Diabetes Awareness Month, Smith has offered her story to help create awareness of a disease held by millions of Americans. “I was diagnosed with non-familial Type 1 diabetes when I was eight, in my home state of California,” said Smith. “I remember getting sick, vomiting for a few days. Then, as I recovered, I remember having the most uncharacteristically ravenous appetite ever, eating anything and everything I could get my hands on, while becoming thinner by the day. I was extremely thirsty as well, and began bruising for no apparent reason. My parents, despite being highly educated, preferred to keep things natural, living without most medications and choosing not to seek assistance from physicians.” Smith’s parents changed their minds when she failed to improve. She was taken to a local pediatrician who immediately admitted her to the hospital. “I was also placed in the custody of the state, while my parents were, ‘counseled,’ to appropriately parent a child with diabetes,” remembered Smith. From the moment of hospitalization, life changed dramatically for Smith. At the time of diagnosis, management of diabetes was largely guesswork. There were no finger-stick blood tests available to determine blood glucose. Instead, all urine had to be collected, measured, tested, and recorded. “My dad had to perform strange calculations to determine an approximation of my blood glucose levels,” said Smith. During this time, insulin was different. It was derived from animals and poorly concentrated resulting in allergic...