Melinda is 18-years-old and is currently a freshman at Suffolk University. In her free time, she likes to play lacrosse, go shopping, and go for walks around Boston to places like Newbury Street. Melinda has had type 1 diabetes for almost 17 years. She was diagnosed with diabetes when she was just 19-months-old.
Melinda says that she found it harder to manage her diabetes when she was a young teenager. She said that one of her biggest challenges was the lack of diabetes awareness where she grew up. She said that she got frustrated with some of the questions people asked her, like if she got diabetes because she ate too much sugar or asking if she was using drugs when she took insulin. This made her feel self-conscious and insecure at school. She also got discouraged when she saw high blood sugar levels, which sometimes made her not want to check her blood sugar. In the last year, Melinda decided that she wanted to live a long and healthy life and that meant taking care of her diabetes. Melinda says that meeting with her nurse Hannah more frequently has helped a lot. She says that it helps to talk to someone who is understanding and is not judging her. Then Melinda can be honest about some of her challenges, like when she does not want to check her blood sugars.
In the last year, Melinda started using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump. She says that the CGM, pump, and more frequent visits with Hannah have really helped to lower her A1c significantly. As a result, Melinda says that she has a lot more energy and a lot more motivation to get out of bed and take care of herself. Melinda also says that the current COVID-19 pandemic has also made her realize how important good health is to her. Melinda would like to tell others with diabetes to “make sure that you find providers who care about you and want to help you, like Hannah who has helped me and motivated me.” Melinda also says that it is helpful to surround herself with as many other supportive people as possible in addition to the health care team. Melinda finished by saying, “I have come a long way. I am 18 and I need to take care of myself. I want to make my mom and dad proud of me.” We thank Melinda for sharing her story and inspiring so many others!