Door Knobs and Dresses: Insulet’s Katie Finds Her Freedom

Walt Disney World is said to be the Happiest Place on earth. This statement is so very true for many however, during the last week of February 1988, it was not a happy place for me at all. My family had decided to take a vacation and drive to Orlando Florida for winter school break. The trip itself, and the 3-day drive home, was just the beginning of this roller coaster called Type 1 Diabetes.

Constant restroom visits, drinking all the water and/or soda I could get my hands on, feeling constantly sluggish, weak and irritable. My parents didn’t know what to do with me. They did their best to help me and to figure out what was wrong, but the symptoms did not stop.

Once we returned back to my home in Massachusetts, my parents brought me to our pediatrician who immediately told my parents to get me to the Emergency Room. On March 5, 1988 I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I was admitted into the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston for 2 of the hardest weeks of my 11-year-old life. I learned about what Type 1 Diabetes was, how this clear liquid called insulin would keep me alive how to draw this insulin into a needle and how to inject it into my body. I learned how to count carbs in the foods I wanted to eat, as well as what foods I was not allowed to eat. I also learned I could eat 4 big marshmallows or 40 mini marshmallows to help me treat a low blood sugar.

I managed this disease with diet, exercise and multiple daily insulin injections for the first seven years of living with T1D. In the fall of 1995, my insurance company finally approved me to begin pump therapy. It was a total game changer. I continued tubed pump therapy for several years. It was not until I was volunteering at a Boston hospital for a T1D research study that I learned about the Omnipod® System. I was fascinated to say the least. I had always thought the Omnipod® System was just for Pediatric patients. Boy was I wrong.

I talked with my doctor about this new pump and my desire to switch pump therapies. I then called and ordered my sample pack and in February of 2017, after 23 Years of being tethered to a pump, I started using Pod Therapy. Wearing the Pod has given me a sense of freedom. I simply place a Pod on my body and I do not have to worry myself with tucking the tubing away. I have the freedom to leave my pump on during swimming, to wear a dress without a second thought, and the freedom to walk into a room without my insulin pump tubing getting snagged on the door handle. I have calculators and food diaries at a finger’s touch. Ultimately, I have the freedom to manage this disease easier than in the past.

Diabetes is not just my disease to manage. Yes, I am the one ultimately responsible for my care, but my husband and two children walk this path with me and encourage me daily. As I teach them, they are also teaching me.

I started working at Insulet Corporation in October of 2017. I love being a part of a company that is dedicated to making the lives of those living with Type 1 diabetes and their caretakers easier and smarter. This company truly cares for its customers and I am proud to be a part of it. I can’t wait to see what is next on the horizon from Insulet.