30 Stories of Diabetes Education: Randy Mihelich

A Father and A Daughter,

Together fighting Type 1
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on March 18, 1990. Up to that point in my life, I had no major health issues or medical concerns indicating that I was about to be blindsided with some unpleasant news. Unfortunately, I was informed that my health was not good and that my treatment would come in the form of daily injections. I had no idea what challenges I would face from that point forward to the present day, every single day. Having no previous knowledge or experience with diabetes, I started a lifelong journey of acceptance, learning and adaptation.

Personally, each day I am faced with the challenge of balancing three different elements to help control my Type 1 Diabetes, diet, exercise and insulin therapy. For me, the personal side is transactional and can be overcome by the acceptance of testing blood sugars, using an insulin pump and watching my diet. This is what I have to do and I do it well! Socially, living with Type 1 Diabetes is a greater challenge. You must adapt by: being disciplined, educating others around you, dealing with people who don't fully understand diabetes, planning out your day- every day and creating a trusted support system to leverage when in need of help (from family, doctors, nurses, certified diabetes educators to insurance providers and reliable research news sources). On the social side, the reminders of having a chronic disease are always present and, sometimes, can be tough situations to get through.

Not one single part of my life has escaped the impact of having Type 1 Diabetes. In fact, my worst nightmare came true on January 22, 2013, when my 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I saw her symptoms coming on, but hoped to God that this wasn’t happening right in front of me. However, I had to eliminate my concern. So, I tested her blood sugar that morning with my glucose meter, and experienced the longest 5 seconds of my life… to be eventually overcome with despair. I didn’t want to believe the result the first time, so I did it again. The second result was identical to the first. At that point, I knew and my heart sank. I realized my daughter would have to endure the same challenges I did, but for nearly her entirely life.

My goal is to be a contributing individual in finding the right combination of factors that will eliminate Type 1 Diabetes within our lifetimes. It is extremely important that the pursuit of identifying these factors never stops. Funding and research must continue for my goal to be achieved.