Name: Megan DeMoss
Age at diagnosis: 8 (6 days after my 8th birthday)
Involvement with JDRF:
I’ve had my own walk team, Megan’s Miracle Makers, for about eight years. As a family walk team we’ve raised more than $10,000 toward JDRF. My mom used to be our captain, but the last couple of years I’ve really taken over because it’s really special to me.
In 2011, I became a JDRF mentor. When children are diagnosed with diabetes they, along with their family, choose whether or not they would like to be given a JDRF mentor. The mentor is basically a support system for both the child and the family. They share support on things such as tips and tricks they’ve learned and ways to stay healthy. Barely a month after taking the training class, JDRF called to tell me they had a family with an 8-year-old who had just been diagnosed. Hayle Hacker and her family have become some really good family friends. I babysat for them, went to watch her softball games, and even went to the Justin Bieber concert with her for her birthday. Becoming a mentor was a really awesome experience for me and I’m thankful JDRF gave me that opportunity.
What is an obstacle you’ve faced in living with T1D, and how did you deal with it?
When I went overseas to visit friends I was very nervous about how my pump would affect my plane ride. I worried my blood sugars would be too high from the adrenaline rush; security wouldn’t know what to think of spare needles; pump supplies, or glucose; and I’d be heckled for having diabetes.
If you just call the airport and ask them what tips they have for people with diabetes and follow the airport’s instructions, you won’t have any troubles at all. My blood sugars were actually low from all the worrying that was unnecessary to begin with!
What’s one way T1D has made you a better person?
When I was diagnosed with T1D the doctors told me about a summer camp for kids with diabetes in Boone, Iowa, called Camp Hertko Hollow. I went to that camp for 10 years. It really taught me to take care of myself; so I keep going back, make new friends, and as I got older, be a role model for other people with diabetes and show them that you can do anything you want, if you want it bad enough.
What do you wish someone had told you when you were first diagnosed?
That I wasn’t alone. That there was a camp full of kids like me who had been living with diabetes for years. That I’d turn into who I am today. Knowing that life is okay now would’ve been enough for my second-grade mind to handle.
Have you encountered any misconceptions about T1D? If so, how did you respond?
“So, you’re like, not allowed to eat sugar, right?” No, I am “allowed” to eat sugar; I just have to eat it in moderation and take insulin shots to compensate for it.
“You’re not fat. How did you get diabetes?” You don’t get diabetes from being “fat;” you get type 1 diabetes because your pancreas can’t produce insulin to support the food you eat.
And my personal favorite, “Oh you’re diabetic? My grandma is diabetic” Oh really? Tell her I said hello. There’s just no correct response to that.
Who has been your biggest supporter in managing your T1D?
All of my family is a big support. My mom was there all through my childhood to make sure I’d taken the right amount of carbs, insulin, and glucose tabs. My grandparents are always telling me to bolus as soon as I put food in my mouth. My boyfriend is also a big supporter. He doesn’t really understand all the nitty-gritty details of bolus vs. basal but he knows enough to tell me to change my insulin pump site every three days, what to give me when I’m low, and make sure I bolus after every meal. I couldn’t ask for a better support system.