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Michael Berlin

Diagnosed at at age 12, after drinking water by the liter and having blurry vision for over a month. I spent the month of October in the hospital and during the Halloween holiday, volunteers came by the ward all afternoon with candy that my nurse then took away. Back in the ’80s, you needed about 4 times the amount of blood for a test strip so sometimes we just used urine sticks. I tracked the number of carbs, proteins, and simple sugars I could eat on small cards labeled for each meal on a keychain attached to an ’80s finger board (a popular-at-the-time tiny skateboard for fingers). The only real options for insulin were the fast acting R and long lasting NPH, so my A1Cs averaged 11s.

I used to go to the nurse’s office in middle and high school to test my blood glucose and eat snacks, and I never told anyone I was diabetic. My high school prom, we triple dated with a couple where the girl was also diabetic and she tested her blood sugar at the table and then gave herself insulin with a needle. I was amazed to see another diabetic in the wild, and one who didn’t hide it! I was amazed! In college, I found my tribe, and there was a small group of diabetics who all knew each other and it was not uncommon that someone would ask for a needle and some insulin, or a snack – I am sure some people thought we were druggies when we pulled needles from our pockets and handed them off to each other. Everyone was on R and NPH, so sharing was no big deal.

I was 30 when I got my first insulin pump and 35 when I got a continuous glucose monitor; now my A1Cs are consistently 7s.

Thriving with T1D
since 1987

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