The Power of Community
Well, hello everyone! I want to start off by introducing myself and telling you about how I found out my pancreas was a little lazier than the average person's. More specifically, how I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). It’s probably a good idea to start with my name. I’m Mary Comeau and I have lived with diabetes for just over fifteen years.
When I was nine years old, I started experiencing many symptoms that led up to my actual diagnosis: rapid weight loss, extreme thirst, excessive urination, and no matter how much sleep I got, I was constantly fatigued. It finally reached the point that my mom brought me to the clinic and by the time I made it to the doctor, I was already in DKA (diabetes ketoacidosis). My urine and blood test results showed my glucose level was 44.4mmol/L (800 mg/dL)! While waiting for the test results I almost went into a coma. I was extremely lucky to have made it to the doctor when I did.
I am now 24 years old and let me tell you it has been a rollercoaster ride! I began managing my diabetes with multiple daily insulin injections for the first year and then my doctor introduced me to insulin pumps. My family and I thought this would be the best for managing my diabetes, so we made the switch to insulin pump therapy. From age 10 to 23, I wore two different tubed-insulin pumps and even tried an early generation continuous glucose monitor (CGM). I struggled throughout my teenage years and my early 20’s with extremely high glucose levels and overall, just poor diabetes control. Looking back now, I think this had a lot to do with not having a community of people around me that understood what I was going through, that understood all the hours and effort that goes into managing this 24/7 disease. I’m sure many of you can relate to feeling misunderstood, and how awesome it is when you finally meet someone who actually “gets it,” and knows the unique terminology and experiences that this journey provides.
Regardless of my struggles, I never let diabetes take away my happiness or my positive energy. One day I decided to share my T1D diagnosis story on TikTok, and it went viral! I quickly started gaining a lot of followers - people who had diabetes, knew someone with diabetes, or just simply wanted to learn more about diabetes. I began doing my infusion site changes online and the comments started filling up with things like: “You should try the Omnipod®, its tubeless,” or, “Have you ever tried Dexcom CGM? It’s been a game-changer for my diabetes.”* It was comments like these that made me want to give them a try, so I spoke to my endocrinologist, and he agreed that these tools could be good options to help me with my diabetes control and my life with diabetes overall. I have never looked back!
The Omnipod DASH® was the first pump I ever tried that was TUBELESS. It may seem like a small thing – but let me tell you, I have never felt so free! No more ripped out infusion sites from random door handles! I am pretty clumsy so going tubeless has been a bigger deal than I thought it would be, and a welcome change from the tubed pumps I used before.
Starting on Dexcom G6 was also a game-changer. I’ve always had a fear of lows – the worst and most frightening feeling in the world - so I used to keep my glucose levels higher just to avoid situations where I thought I could go low. Not knowing what was happening in-between finger pokes was awful, so it felt easier for me to just run higher – but obviously that wasn’t good for my energy or my diabetes control. Since starting on Dexcom G6, I’m not as scared anymore. Being able to see ahead of time if I am starting to drop or how quickly I am dropping has given me so much more confidence to stop a dangerous low from happening. I didn’t realize just how paralyzing that fear felt before, or how much it used to occupy my mind. I feel like I’m more myself now!
My diabetes control has been getting better every day, and now with the community of people I have built on YouTube and TikTok, I have a bigger support system than I ever could have imagined. I love inspiring others, showing them the real day-to-day challenges, and educating them on life-changing technology like Omnipod and Dexcom. It’s also great to see others showing off their devices, out in the open, loud, and proud! This is something that I have always done. My advice to anyone out there: take each day one day at a time and never be too hard on yourself. It’s a journey with ups and downs, and a lot of hard work. I think of every person with diabetes as a warrior, and we should be proud of all we’re able to do, even if we can’t make our own insulin!
To learn more about Omnipod DASH and Dexcom G6 visit the links below: