Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hello My Name Is...

Just wanted to share a little introduction about me.
I am Kris (aka Kristen).  I am 28 years old.  I grew up outside Boston, MA in Wilmington, but now living in Reading, PA (about 40-60 miles north west of Philadelphia area).  I am at a local community college studying accounting.  Working towards my associates degree and see where I go from there.

I have type 1 diabetes.  Today actually marks my 12 year "Diaversary".  I currently use the Medtronic MiniMed Revel 723 insulin pump and Dexcom G4 CGMS. I am just not a diabetic though.  I also have 2 other auto immune conditions, Hashimoto's (autoimmune hypothyroidism) and Addison's (auto immune adrenal insufficiency). 

I actually have what is called "Type II Polyglandular Autoimmune Syndrome".  Much like Type 1 Diabetes, no one really knows why it is caused.  There is susceptibility of a genetic link and environmental triggers.  Basically it means multiple autoimmune diseases.  I don't like the word diseases though.  It makes me feel like I'm sick and unable to get better.  Yes these conditions will not go away, but they are manageable.  Yes it takes work, but I live as healthy as I can.  There is also risk of developing celiac disease, which I am closely monitored for.

My Mother always insisted I would be as normal as possible with diabetes.  I hold the same value.  I try hard not to let things stop me.  Yes sometimes I need to pick a different route to where I want to be, but I get there.  My goal now is finishing college.  I have had so many medical setbacks over the years from my diagnosis.  Just like being newly diagnosed with T1, these other conditions have learning curves too, and no set clear answer on how much medicine you need (just like no set dose for our insulin...everyone's needs are different). 

I started college here in PA January 2013 at Reading Area Community College (RACC).  I have intentions of someday holding my masters, possibly doctorate degree.  I have was able to make Deans List the Spring 2013 semester.  For Summer 2013 and Fall 2013, I made Presidents list! In October last year, I was invited and inducted to join Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK), a 2 year college level of international honor society.  One of the most well respected  honor societies at my education level.  I hold a GPA of  3.985 and have completed 35 credits.  This may seem like nothing to some, but for someone with the daily challenges I sometimes have, it is huge to me.  In the past I wasn't able to do this much schooling.  I can't wait to finish my degree at RACC and move on to my next challenge, but taking it one step at a time. 

In addition to school, I help out with several different diabetes organizations.  I love helping and working with other diabetics.  I also enjoy their company.  To me it's like finding a long lost family member every time I meet a new person (or parent of a child) with diabetes.  Today I had the positive experience of a male class mate around my age approaching me as he saw my insulin pump.  He pulled out his pump, same make just a different color, and was so ecstatic to know there was someone else like him out there.  I had the same joy.  Yes I know many who pump because of social media, yes I do have local T1 and pumper friends....but it is just as exciting every time you find someone new.  I look forward to meeting all of you out there reading this who I have not met before...and developing stronger friendships with all of my "DOC" family.

With DOC Love,
Kris