When You're Diagnosed As A Young Adult: Adventures in T1D

Madi Lambert, Simmons College '19

Editor's note: this blog was originally published in 2017. Did you know CDN is turning 10 this year? We are going to highlighting some our favorites blogs from the last ten years and raising money we can keep going strong for another 10 years. Please help us celebrate by donating $10 for 10 years!

Almost three weeks before I was supposed to move to Boston for my first-year of school at Simmons College, my entire life was flipped in a completely unexpected direction. At 18 years-old, on August 6th, 2015 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) during a routine check-up at my pediatrician’s office. My doctor discovered that I had lost 10 pounds since the year before, even though I was not trying to lose weight. She immediately began to investigate, and when they took my blood sugar, it was over 600. At the time, I did not realize I was showing some of the classic symptoms of T1D – I was painfully thirsty, but I blamed it on the hot weather. I was always tired, but I blamed it on my long work hours and having to get up early. I was always hungry and ate snacks and meals all-day, but I always have had a big appetite. I never suspected anything was wrong because I was absolutely unaware and ignorant of what T1D even was.

Both my parents and I (mostly them) were already on edge and worried about my transition to Boston, but diabetes made the transition even more difficult. Being diagnosed at 18, no one knew if I should be admitted to pediatric care or adult care; I ended up staying 3-days in adult care. I left that stay both confused and uneducated about T1D and what it meant for my future. Both of my parents were concerned about the rapidly approaching move-in date and suggested that I wait a semester before leaving. I insisted on going to Boston when we had originally planned, which left little time for me to adjust to life with T1D. Luckily, I had a handful of close friends that I met at orientation who cared about my new diagnosis and were willing to learn about my diabetes with me.

Soon after arriving to campus for my first year, I was fortunate to meet three other Simmons students with diabetes. We were all eager to try to start a diabetes club, and the College Diabetes Network (CDN) was the perfect resource that enabled us to have a foundation. From there, we established a CDN chapter and became an official organization on campus. We also began making more and more connections with T1D students and students that have a personal connection to T1D at Simmons. Our CDN Chapter is still a new organization on campus, but we continue to work to be a resource for incoming and current students with T1D and to educate our fellow peers through tabling and other events.

Being diagnosed with T1D at a later age proved to have its challenges and difficulties. But with my diagnosis came invaluable and irreplaceable connections with other type 1 folks and with other students that are eager to learn, educate, and advocate for people with diabetes. I have found while facing the challenges that come with T1D, they can feel much smaller and reduce the feeling of loneliness when I have diabesties to learn from and grow with.

I learned valuable T1D lessons from the CDN and my new diabesties, and gained useful tips and tricks early into my diagnosis. Without the friendships and connections I made in the first couple of months of being diagnosed, I don’t know where I’d be in my adventure with diabetes.