Diabetes Dialogues

Meet Chelsea

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Chelsea with her son at a diabetes walk

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 2. Upon a misdiagnosis by a pediatrician with the flu, my parents continued to treat as so. It wasn’t until my body began to turn limp and grey that my father said we could not wait any longer and drove me to the local Emergency Room. From there, it was determined I was in severe diabetic ketoacidosis, and my veins had collapsed. The medical staff attempting to get a blood sugar reading realized it was over 1,200 – the maximum the machine could read. They did everything they possibly could to try to get insulin into my system as fast as possible. It wasn’t until a plastic surgeon on hand hit my femoral artery. The ER doctor on hand said if my parents had waited one more hour, I likely would not have survived. From there, the plan was to LifeFlight me to a Children’s Hospital, but I was able to stabilize enough I could be transported via ambulance. 

Memorial Day weekend in 1992 started my 30-year journey with type 1 diabetes. The only way I’ve ever known how to cope with my disease is to be a part of the solution and education. Which is a main reason I am in this role today. My entire childhood was dedicated to fundraising, speaking to my classmates, presenting at corporate kickoffs, and my parents ran a satellite walk from our hometown for 15 years raising $1.5 million. Now that I am a mother, the gratitude I feel towards my parents is hard to wrap my head around. They taught me to never let my diabetes hold me back, but if anything, to use it as my superpower. Diabetes has taught me responsibility, confidence, grit, and strength. 

The pinnacle of my diabetes journey was welcoming my first child, a son named Palmer, on April 5, 2022. Of all the horrific complications of this disease, one that haunted me was always the ability to have a child. I am proud to say I carried my son Palmer for 39 weeks and achieved a personal low A1c of 5.7%. I cannot downplay the amount of work and dedication that went into that. For the first time in my life, my disease could physically affect someone other than me, and that was a difficult cross to bear. 

I am at peace with my lifetime diagnosis (that is until we find the cure!), but what society needs to know about diabetes – any type – is that it never ever stops. And so, like diabetes, neither do I. We’ve got one life to live, and I almost lost mine.