My name is Michael Fratto, I am 27 years old and I have had Type One Diabetes since 1999 and was diagnosed as a six year old. I also have had Crohn’s disease since I was twelve years old!
For the past twenty-one years, I have, as probably some or most of you have also experienced, metaphoric and literal highs and lows with Diabetes.
As a teenager, I struggled with managing my blood sugars and giving insulin – not so much of the process of doing these tasks in front of friends and family as many individuals have, but the “I know my body” cliché that many with medical complications fall into. This mindset led me to check less, which often resulted in a Crohn’s flare up from the amount of stress and glucose fluctuation my body was taking on.
As a kid, I used a Medtronic insulin pump (one of the first!) and often was frustrated with this bionic technology on my person and the amount of times I had to change sites. I despised having to be cautious of the dreaded connection ripping of my person while participating in sports and daily activities. Being a teenager and young adult with diabetes is hard, and still is for anyone with the disease. But today, I am hopeful for current and future T1D’s managing their diabetes as a young adult because of modern technologies and the rapidly growing community on social media platforms.
Fast forward into the present as an adult. I use Novolog and Levemir insulin shots (let’s advocate for Big Pharma to find a way to recycle these essential products) and a Dexcom G6 CGM. I personally think Constant Glucose Monitors are awesome and have been using the G6 for approximately a year. It has been a game changer for my overall health and wellness. I love being able to have your sugar registered every five minutes or so and to be honest, this type of technology is something I never would have imagined in my childhood without the pain of finger-pricking. I love receiving data on my sugar and calculating how my body reacts to foods, it allows your diabetes to be that much more controlled and I have benefited tremendously from using the technology. This technology also allows me, as a person who enjoys running and cycling, to feel confident and safe going out on long days of activity because I have immediate feedback always (don’t forget your manual glucose monitors though!). I would urge all who can and are interested in this technology to reach out to their Endocrinologist to try and get onboard with little to no fingersticks!
I do not want to shy away from this fact: Diabetes is tough, it is a disease that fluctuates every day and will test you even on your best day. As an individual who has gone through the majority of their entire life with the disease, I think owning your numbers, having a growth mindset that continuously allows you to adjust and make progressive decisions, and having “your people” to talk to will help you in being a successful diabetic.
Going forward, I am thankful for modern technologies and the online community of diabetics that the internet and social media has created. Being a diabetic doesn’t have to be an individual based disease anymore thanks to communities like DMP. As a diabetic, who was not always the best at taking care of themselves as a young adult, engaging in a community of people who are conquering the same disease as you is one of the best ways to be proactive and successful as a Type-One Diabetic.
Thank you, DMP and the Diabetic community for allowing me the opportunity to share a snippet of my story. Please reach out at any time for those in need. Through this platform, I hope we all feel supported and willing to take on diabetes together! Together we have the strength and willpower to take on this disease and to live long and prosper.
Michael J. Fratto