My Name is Kayley Christian. I am 15 years old and I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May of 2011, so a lot of people would say I’m new to the diabetes community. The day I got diagnosed was one of the scariest days of my life. I remember telling myself that this couldn’t be reality and this couldn’t actually be my life. My biggest fear after being diagnosed was that I had a disability in others’ eyes – that people would think I couldn’t do what they could and I’d be an outcast. But I decided I was not going to let diabetes hold me back.
The day after being released from the hospital I had no ambition to go back to school. I was afraid of what people would think. My mom told me I had to go to school, because the longer I waited the harder it’d be to get back into the flow of life. At the end of the school day I went to softball practice and was already back to being active. There was no way that type 1 diabetes could hold me back!
Different Insulin Therapy Options
I grew up around diabetes; my grandfather and my aunt both have type 1 diabetes. I saw two different sides of the spectrum with my aunt, who is still using syringes and vials, and my grandfather who was on an insulin pump.
During my first check-up the nurse showed me a pump and the first word out of my mouth before she finished was a stern “no.” I had absolutely no interest in traditional pumps with all the tubing and having to be attached - that would show people I had diabetes and I didn’t want anyone knowing. But the moment I saw the Omnipod insulin pump, I was in love. I knew I had to have it! So by October of 2011, I was off and running on the Omnipod.
Doing What I Love with Diabetes
Being the active teenager that I am, wearing an insulin pump was much needed. Life is busy for me. I play softball, field hockey, and I’m a ski racer and I snowboard. I also longboard and am a beginner kiteboarder. In the winter, I live on my skis and snowboard, and this past season I’ve gotten into freestyle skiing. I can even do a back flip on my skis! This past field hockey season I made the varsity team as a freshman. In no way has my diabetes held me back.
A sport where I’ve been able to keep my blood glucose numbers controlled, even with all of the adrenaline, is ski racing. I check my blood glucose often with the Omnipod and don’t have to worry about finding skin below my layers to give myself injections.
Some people think that diabetes changes your life and you can no longer do the things you love to do, which is not true at all. I’ve actually had more opportunities within athletics having diabetes, like working with organizations like Riding On Insulin where I have been a camp counselor. Diabetes may change some things about my life, but that doesn’t mean they’re all bad. It can’t stop me from doing what I want to do!