It’s officially November which marks the start of diabetes awareness month.

I’ve been battling with Type 1 Diabetes since I was ten, which is when I was first diagnosed. I am still battling now, over 7 years later.

I like to use the word battle to describe my time with this disease because it helps put things into perspective for a lot of people. Every day is a fight for good blood sugar levels and I have to work very carefully to figure out insulin doses and how I will manage diabetes throughout the school day or a work out at the gym.

This disease has no pause button. It has never waited on the side lines of my soccer games or sat in the audience at my dance competitions. It’s always there 24/7 with no breaks or pauses. I have no choice but to spend my time battling this disease. Battling to keep my life and battling for good health.

I have chosen to fully embrace what I have and so part of what I do is educate others so they can better understand.

There are so many misconceptions around this disease. I’ve been asked more times then I can count if I can have sugar or what I did to get this. Many people confuse the difference between type 1 and 2 diabetes. They have a similar name but very different treatment plans. Neither of them have a cure.  Type 1 is what I have. I didn’t do anything wrong to get it, it just happened. Yes I can have sugar, I just need to give myself the appropriate amount of insulin for it because my body can’t do that on it’s own. I have to take a lot of needles and I wear a device on my arm that helps me watch my blood sugar levels. I also wear an insulin pump that’s attached to me 24/7 (unless I need to shower). I have appointments every 3 months that include blood work to make sure I’m very healthy and everything gets more complicated when I get sick. It usually means I need to go to the hospital.  On top of that I need to be constantly managing my blood sugar levels and sometimes dealing with the symptoms of highs and lows. This even happens in the middle of the night sometimes. There’s a lot that goes into treating this disease and even when I’ve done everything right, there’s still so much unpredictability when it comes to my blood sugar levels and insulin needs.

Although we have had a few scary hospital trips when things weren’t going well, despite our best efforts to manage a sickness, I am so grateful to say I am still alive, well and living my life to the fullest.

Everyday activities are more difficult with this disease but with the correct planning and the amazing support from my family, I am able to do anything that anyone else can do.

I pride myself in not letting this disease stop me from anything.

I’ve played on many sports teams, gone out to parties and even climbed a mountain. This isn’t the case for everyone. Sometimes people die from this disease due to complications. The price of insulin is affecting those with out insurance to the point that they are no longer able to properly treat their diabetes and they are dying as a result. Raising awareness is the first step is finding a cure that could help millions. If people better understood this disease and the difficulty it causes they may be more inclined to help.

This year will be the second year I run an awareness campaign called “blue shirt day”. I would like to invite everyone to wear blue on this day to raise awareness for type 1 diabetes. There will be more information on the official date of blue shirt day on my Instagram @brianna.b30_. If you would like to donate money towards research you can do so on the JDRF website.

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