What It’s Like To Be Me: Living with Diabetes

Katie+Tucker
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What It’s Like To Be Me: Living with Diabetes

Katie Tucker

Katie Tucker

Katie Tucker

Katie Tucker

Katie Tucker

Katie Tucker

Katie Tucker

Chinazam Uhegwu, Staff Writer

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“I knew that in order to be healthy and happy, I had to do what was needed.”- Katie Tucker

Katie Tucker is a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. You may be aware of her brilliant academic abilities, her ambitious drive to enter the medical field, or her dedication to club and high school swimming.

However, you may not know that at just fifteen she was rushed to Children’s National Hospital.

Katie was diagnosed with diabetes.

The direct cause of her diagnosis is not clear. “Type 1 Diabetes is genetic. However, no one in my immediate family has diabetes. My mom and her family have a history of thyroid disease, which is on the same chromosome and area as the genes for diabetes. So, we think it is because of that.”

She recalled how shocking the news was to her, her friends, and her family. “[I] seemed like the least likely person to get diabetes.”

“I had been swimming 8 to 10 hours a week for years. My parents were and still are slightly devastated. Diabetes isn’t something that goes away or changes as life goes on.”

When asked what a normal day looks like, Katie explained, “my energy levels are directly correlated to my blood sugar. Low sugar = low energy. High sugar = low energy. I have to hit the sweet spot in order to have optimal energy. Therefore, I check my blood sugar at least 3 times per day, maybe more depending on circumstances (i.e. feel blood sugar dropping, don’t check vs. being forced to check). I have to take two types of insulin. One is once a day and lasts 24 hours. Right now, I take it at night, but sometimes I am so tired, my parents have to force me awake. The other type I take whenever I eat.”

The daily responsibilities that circulate around her health have only made her stronger. She believes her doctors and family are her strongest support systems. 

“They make it easier to handle things like remembering to restock supplies or keep on top of my blood sugar.”

Despite her struggles, her passion for swimming has not wavered. Instead, Katie has learned about herself in regards to her condition.

“For swim practice, I have to check my blood sugar and purposefully spike it so it doesn’t drop while swimming.”

With the advice and carefully planned ratio from carbs to insulin units set between her doctor and herself, Katie has slowly mastered how her body works with the medications.

“Medications are dictated by insurance, but I believe they are fundamentally the same. I’ve found that adjusting my insulin doses for however many carbs I eat is more effective and flexible than limiting my food intake due to my insulin dose.”

As mentioned before, Katie is engulfed by the support of her friends and family. She believes her friends would describe her as “driven, ambitious, compassionate, sarcastic, a leader in some cases, overly stressed in others.”

Her friends had much more to say.

Senior Nina McGranahan stated, “Katie is always in control of diabetes and doesn’t let it consume her or her outlook on life.”

Alongside Nina, senior Lydia Banko described how Katie “didn’t let her diagnosis bring her down, like most people would assume. She actually took this seemingly negative event and utilized it to shape her character. She was a strong and determined girl before, but through this difficult time, she emerged stronger. She’s a strong-willed girl and doesn’t evoke pity when talking about her diabetes. She’s not embarrassed by it also. In fact, she is quick to alert someone that she has diabetes, to show them the fruit of her labors.”

Lastly, senior Anabelle Treadon warmly confessed how Katie “always greets me with a bright smile, and puts in the time to talk to me and others. As a person, she is filled with perseverance even despite challenges that may come up. Katie has a great (dry) sense of humor and she always seems animated about something in her life. However, she can be serious when she needs to be as well. In all, I would say Katie is a wonderful and encouraging friend to have.”

Furthermore, Katie has openly mentioned her dreams and aspirations. She hopes to complete an MD/PHD program after college and wishes to go into medical research.

Beyond academics, she enjoys reading and petting puppies, both of which she expressed she will spend the rest of her life doing.

Finally, Katie has something to say to her fifteen-year-old self:

“Keep going. It will be hard, but the other choice is serious illness and possibly death. You’ll make it.

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