Diabetes Dialogues

Meet Rachael

Meet Rachael

2021 marks 27 years of living with diabetes. When I was four years old, I was visiting my extended family like I did every summer. I remember it being a really hot summer and everyone was drinking a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and keep cool. After not acting like myself for a few days, my mother took me to the emergency room so I could get checked out, and because I was peeing so often they diagnosed me with a bladder infection. However, this diagnosis didn’t sit well with my mother, so we visited another doctor to get a second opinion. It was then that I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. 

My diabetic eye complications happened abruptly in 2019, after living with diabetes for nearly 25 years. One night I was watching T.V. with my husband when I suddenly noticed a “stick-like” figure come into my field of vision. I had no idea what it was, which prompted me to get it checked out. After many hours of waiting in the emergency room, I was transferred to the nearby eye clinic. After many hours of tests, I was eventually told by a retinal specialist that I had diabetic retinopathy, which caused me to immediately burst into tears. 
This diagnosis drastically shifted how I now manage my diabetes and eye health. I focused on checking my blood sugars more frequently, carb counting properly, and regularly taking the correct doses of insulin at mealtimes. I also finally learned how to pre-bolus! After making these changes to my daily routine, I am now sitting at the lowest A1C I’ve ever had.

My advice to people living with diabetes is to make your health a priority, get your eyes checked regularly, and make sure that they’re doing all the necessary tests at your eye exams. For anyone who has been diagnosed with eye complications, connect with other people who have been through it, such as through the Focus on Diabetes™ initiative. You’re not alone!