Moments of Wonderful

…rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

Moments of Wonderful - …rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.


Eleven years ago today I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I had been misdiagnosed for several months, so by the time I was admitted to the hospital I was very sick.

I remember the exhaustion I felt in the days before I was admitted. The relatively short distance it took to get from my residence hall to my college classes had me in tears from the physical effort. My legs didn’t feel strong enough to carry my body across campus.

The night before I went to the emergency room I started to feel an awful pain in my chest. I had never felt it before and I have never felt it since. There is no way to describe it other than – my heart hurt. Physical pain deep inside my chest. The next day I developed a new symptom – I couldn’t catch my breath. As hard as I would try, it felt impossible to take a deep enough breath.

diabetes diagnosis

Arrived at the ER close to midnight on February 4th. Finally admitted early the next morning. These are some of the first notes in my chart.

It was that symptom that finally convinced my friend to force me to go to the emergency room. A few hours later I had my first dose of insulin.

One small shot of insulin that saved my life.

I was very sick by the time I received insulin, but I was alive. If my story had taken place in many countries around the world (such as my beloved Haiti), there is a high likelihood that I would not have survived. In many areas, the life expectancy of a child with diabetes is less than one year and the most common cause of death is lack of access to insulin (source).

I saw a post last month about the plight of people with diabetes around the world, and one of the comments blamed the pharmaceutical companies and suggested that they have enough profit to just ship the life-saving medication to the countries who need it.

To that I would share the conversation I had a few years ago with the founder of an insulin cooling system that requires no power. He realized how helpful his product would be to people in a country that lacks access to resources like refrigeration. The biggest struggle he found in his donation? He could not find enough people to use them. The clinics and hospitals did not know of enough people getting diagnosed with type 1 diabetes early enough and living long enough to face the problem of insulin storage.

For me, it’s been eleven years. One year short of a dozen.

In honor of my eleven years, or perhaps in memory of the children who have not had the opportunity of the past eleven years of life, please consider donating to the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign.

spare a rose - full

Instead of buying a dozen roses for a loved one this month, buy eleven roses and donate the cost of the twelfth rose to save the life of a child.

One rose ($5) provides insulin to a child for one month. The cost of one dozen roses ($60) saves the life of a child for an entire year.

Life for a Child

I will be going out to dinner tonight with some great friends who are a part of my life because diabetes is a part of all of our lives. We will celebrate eleven years of life. Help me make it possible for children around the world to celebrate years of life with diabetes too.

  • Jasmine says:

    I forgot that we share a diaversary!! Congratulations on eleven years of LIFE and what a great post to remind us of the good that Spare a Rose will do.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:15 am
  • Kerri. says:

    Happy diaversary, Sara(aah). xo

    February 4, 2014 at 8:59 am
  • k2 says:

    Happy Diaversary & this post is beautiful.

    February 4, 2014 at 9:11 am
  • Mike says:

    Happy 11th diaversary, Sara. And yes, thanks for this beautifully heartfelt post. Hope the day and dinner is a great time!

    February 4, 2014 at 9:29 am
  • Scott E says:

    Sara, I’ve never quite given you the appreciation you deserve for all of your advocacy over the years. I think it took that presentation by Dr. Kaufman for me to truly see what diabetes looks like in other parts of the world, and I’m a bit ashamed for not seeing it sooner. Your commitment to helping people with diabetes in Haiti — and worldwide — is just remarkable.

    At that moment eleven years ago, our numbers increased by one, but our voice increased by leaps and bounds. And that spirit is rubbing off on the rest of us – I know I feel it. So thanks for motivating us all to do more, or to just do something. Sparing a rose is a great and easy way for someone to get started.

    February 4, 2014 at 9:59 am
  • Karen says:

    What a beautiful post, and a wonderful way to really drive the point of Spare a Rose home. I was going to donate anyway but I will donate an extra $5 in your honor. Happy diaversary.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:04 am
  • StephenS says:

    Happy, Happy eleventh! Way to bring the point home. You had me when you talked about the exhaustion you felt prior to diagnosis. That was me too. Thanks for sharing.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:20 am
  • Bennet says:

    I am getting that turn it up to 11 vibe. I like it!

    February 4, 2014 at 12:25 pm
  • Jess says:

    Not happy about diabetes, but happy to know you. Have fun at dinner!

    February 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm
  • shannon says:

    happy d-versary pal! love the spin on the 11 roses for spare a rose as well!

    February 4, 2014 at 1:03 pm
  • Heather Gabel says:

    Happy Diaversary Sara! You are a great role model for PWDs everywhere. I will donate in your honor this year. Cheers to you!

    February 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm
  • Meri says:

    Happy Diaversary Sara! I’m so glad you are here!

    February 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm
  • Tina says:

    Best and most moving post of the campaign. Congratulations on living well and not letting diabetes rob you of your beautiful heart and soul.

    February 6, 2014 at 11:46 am

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