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22nd diaversary!

Today is my 22nd Diabetes anniversary. Though this isn’t how I would normally spend my Diaversary, I’m grateful for it.

I was diagnosed at 8 years old on the island of Kauai, HI. We didn’t have much in the way of endocrinologists at the time, so my parents and I had to work hard to make sure I had the best tools to care for myself. It was a lot of trial and error. No one knew how to take care of a type 1 kid. I remember my mom fighting with doctors to get the best therapy, most of them thinking that I was “too young” for this or that.

When I was ten, my mom and I went to a #TCOYD conference in Oahu, where I was first introduced to insulin pump therapy. The presentation was given by a Physician Assistant and fellow #type1 named John Walsh, author of #pumpinginsulin, #usinginsulin, and many diabetes resources. After his talk, my mom introduced us. He was SO kind and I think he could see that we were desperate for help. He and his wife Ruth flew to Kauai, came to my science fair, had dinner with our family, and spoke with us about what the rest of my life would or could look like. For my parents, he was a wealth of information on diabetes management. For me, he was the first person I’d ever met with diabetes who not only turned it into a strength but used it to help people. I remember thinking to myself, “I could do that” and that night, I went from wanting to be a tight rope walker in the circus, to wanting to be a Physician Assistant…just like John.

John and I lost touch, but when I finally got into PA school, I found his email online and emailed him asking him to preceptor me. It was a shot in the dark, but he remembered me, and he said YES! I flew to San Diego and began work with so many amazing clinicians and patients at Advanced Metabolic Care + Research, including John. I loved it and (thankfully) they loved me! They offered me a job and I now get to work with John every Friday. I have learned so much from him and all the other clinicians at AMCR.

I’ve waited a long time to be in the position that I am now. Though I still have a lot to learn, I am finally in a place where I can help other PWD understand that life can be GOOD. I get to help people just like me every day and I hope that some day someone will think of me in the same way that I think of John. I am so grateful.

Happy Diabetes Anniversary to me! I am grateful to everyone who has been on my team along the way. My parents, who taught me that I can still do ANYTHING that I set my mind to. My friends who worked to make sure I never felt left out. My volleyball teammates and coaches who never held it against me when I needed to sit out of practice for a low. My teachers, who understood when I was too high to take a test. My husband, who puts up with my moody highs and keeps my juice box stash stocked, always. And to all the others. Whatever role you’ve played big or small, thank you!

Cheers to many more years!

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