My name is Jen, I’m 28 now and I was diagnosed in March of 2008 when I was 13. I remember feeling sick for months, something wasn’t right. I was always hot and sweating even in the middle of winter. I was drinking water like it was my job and going to the bathroom every 5 minutes. I didn’t understand what was happening. My mom knew something was wrong but knew I needed to get checked out. Finally, she made an appointment with my pediatrician. I remember sitting at the table and hearing my mom tell them all my symptoms and they asked me my questions. Mind you I was only 13 then. But the one thing I remember them saying that I will never forget was, the doctor saying “I don’t think it’s anything to worry about, it’s probably just stress from starting high school” and wanted to just send me home.
My mom didn’t buy it and she told them to do some blood work. We left and I went home not feelings at all better. I got ready for bed and was ready to go back to school the next day. All of a sudden I woke up to my mom waking me up around 11:30 pm and telling me that we had to go to the hospital. Within the hour I was brought into the pediatric ER and I was surrounded by doctors and nurses who were poking and prodding me with things and all I remember was seeing my mom in the corner and she looked so scared and tears just fell from my face and I knew I had to be brave. I was admitted for 4 days in ICU. Where I read books about counting cards and information about insulin. I even remember they had me practice giving insulin to an orange. Finally, I went back to school covered in bruises from all the IVs I had and everything else and everyone asked me questions.
High school wasn’t easy. Not only was I still adjusting to being newly diagnosed, but I was also dealing with the normal “high school drama”. Some girls in my school bullied me and said some really mean things to me and all I ever tried to do was put on a brave face.
So here I am 13 years later, 28 years old, married with a dog and 4 cats. I definitely have my good and bad days, but I do my best and find places for support.
I used to think that I had to have a brave face 24/7 for myself but also for my family and friends around me. I was afraid to show my real face on my bad days where I struggled with my diagnosis, my other autoimmune diseases, and my own mental health that tied in with everything. I just want to remind those that read my story and feel maybe this story spoke to them, I know being given a diagnosis with type 1 or any other autoimmune diseases is never easy, it’s something that you live with the rest of your life but it’s doesn’t mean that it becomes your whole life. You are going to have good days and bad days just like most of us so, and on those bad days it’s okay to say “I’m having a hard time” or “I can’t do this on my own”. On those days, I encourage you to reach out to someone on this app, whether it’s me or anyone else. Hug your pets, go to the park with your friends, have a movie night with your significant others. We are all part of this community and together we can help each other out.
I’m really happy to be here and I hope to connect with some of you!
Thanks for hearing my story!
My name is Jenesis and I’m 28, I’ve been type 1 for 13 years. I’m a fur baby mom and a mental health crisis peer counselor in NYC as well as a LGBTQ+ member and advocate.