Diagnosed at 14, Pregnant at 19 and Disabled at 43: Jocelyn's Story

This article was written exclusively for InformationAboutDiabetes.com by Jocelyn Stuff. Jocelyn was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 14. In this article, she discusses her rough start with the disease, explains how she manages it today, and shares her advice for other diabetics.

I had to get a physical so I could play basketball in junior high school, and I was fine. But within six weeks, I got terribly ill – constant thirst, extreme weight loss and extreme fatigue. I pushed myself on because I already knew what I had; one of my friends had diabetes, and I didn't want to admit it for fear of needles.

Finally my mom said, “That's it, you’re going to the doctor.” So off I went. I gave a urine sample, and the doctor came in and said, “You have juvenile diabetes mellitus.” Those are very big words for a 14-year-old to hear. I was then hospitalized for two weeks. I was mad at the world and God!

A Rough Start with Diabetes

When I turned 17, I rebelled – smoking, drinking and using drugs. I just wanted to be normal like others. At 19, I found out I was pregnant, which to this day I believe was a Godsend as I was spiraling out of control. This saved my life.

As I grew older, insurance was not in my reach because of this pre-existing condition. Some days I had no means of checking my blood sugars, and some days I would go without insulin.

How I Manage Diabetes Today

I'm now 43 and disabled with many complications. I'm blind in my left eye because of a retinal hemorrhage. My right eyesight is now at 20/70 – close to being legally blind.

I work really hard these days to keep my blood sugars under control, which means testing six times a day. I now wear an insulin pump, which I feel has saved my life because the multiple injections weren't working for me. I would double-up on injections or not take any at all – not a smart thing to do, I know.

My Advice to Other Diabetics

The best advice I can give to anyone is to check, not guess! Watch your carbs and eat lots of protein. With having this disease for about 29 years, I have lost the sensation of feeling – the signs of hypoglycemia. My parents have found me unconscious many times. This is not a disease anyone should take lightly. Be in control so you don't turn out like me.

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I hope it helps someone out there, and remember you are not alone in your struggles. Maybe one day we will have a cure! Just know you are never alone.

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