Today we’re speaking with Trinity Roggensack who has lived with Type 1 diabetes her entire adult life She has her concerns and worries in dealing with diabetes, but she hasn’t let them stop her from living her life to the fullest. Let’s take a look inside Trinity’s mind.
First off, what type of diabetes do you have? We have readers with all types, so it’s important to talk about this first.
I have Type 1 Diabetes.
How were you made aware that you had diabetes? Please share your diagnosis story with our readers.
I was diagnosed at 16 years old. Sometime between Thanksgiving & Christmas of the year before I had gotten really sick. I was running a fever, felt horrible, no energy…It lasted about a week. I missed 1 day of school which was a Tuesday, I had to go on Wednesday or my Dad wouldn’t have let me go to church so I went to school & slept in most of my classes which was totally unlike me. While I was sick my grandmother found out that I hadn’t been eating lunch at school because I was trying to save money to buy my boyfriend a pair of white pants for Christmas, they were in style for guys in the late 80s & that is all he wanted.
After Christmas, I began to be thirsty all the time, I went to the bathroom every hour, I also began to lose weight. One day my grandmother told me that she thought I had diabetes. I was in complete denial…I kept telling my grandmother that I was fine. One Wednesday night following church services my grandmother took me to a deacon’s house, he was a diabetic & checked my blood sugar on his machine. It only read HI…according to the deacon it had to be over 600. When I got home my grandmother told my Dad & Step-mother about the blood sugar.
My mother was a nurse so I had to call her & tell her what was going on. She told me not to go to school the following day because she was going to take me to the doctor. The next day she tried to make an appointment with my regular doctor & was told that they had no openings & I couldn’t be worked in either. So I was taken to the Emergency Room where they drew blood & when the results came in the ER doctor told my mother that according to my lab work I should be in a coma. I was immediately sent over to an Endocrinologist & she put me in the hospital where I weighed in at 97 lbs. & was 5 feet 5.5 inches tall. I got up early every morning to go to classes while I was in the hospital to learn about diabetes, exchange diet, sick day plans, & the medication I would be taking. I was in the hospital for a week before they sent me home.
We’re all curious, even if we live the life, everyone is different, what is a typical day like for you?
A day in my life is far from what most consider normal. I don’t sleep well BUT I am up at 5:30 every morning to make sure that my son gets on the bus. Then back to bed for a little while. My husband works night shift & I usually wait up on him each morning so I am up until about 3-4 am. Up again to take care of animals, household chores, blood sugars, getting my husband’s lunch ready. I also blog & help my sister-in-law with her makeup business as I can. I am legally blind with the hope of another surgery to reverse the retinopathy.
I prepare the meals at home which can be fun to eat…can be burnt, wrong ingredients put in, etc. Keeps life fun, never a dull moment here. I have a lot of doctor’s appointments…primary care doctor, retinologist & endocrinologist…I am lucky if I get to go 3 months between visits. I can’t drive so I am at the mercy of family to get to my son’s ball games, family functions, etc. if my husband has to work. When my husband doesn’t work he drives me everywhere.
Describe the one scariest moment since your diagnosis.
The scariest thing that occurs in my life for my family is the low blood sugar episodes where I have convulsions & I am unresponsive. All the kids have found mom “jerking” at different times…before school, before bed, randomly during the day. I have no hypoglycemia awareness so I can’t tell when my sugar starts to drop.
Unfortunately, I am on Medicare & they will not pay for a continuous glucose monitor so I just have to do the best I can to stay on top of it. There is no way to purchase a diabetic alert dog at this time. I have had a spell where I rear ended a car & left the scene with a blood sugar of 39. I have had family call 911 because I was at home alone & my blood sugar dropped & I couldn’t get out of the bathroom. EMS found me naked in the bathroom floor. I can’t really say that I am scared when this occurs because I literally have no idea that it is going on until it is over. My family on the other hand says it is the scariest thing ever.,
Living with a chronic illness can be overwhelming, how do you cope with the constant battle of trying to maintain a proper balance with your blood sugars?
Some days coping is easy. Other days I feel wound so tight that I am going to explode. I have had times where I cry for no apparent reason. I am moody & I can’t imagine what kind of roller coaster I keep my family on. They don’t deserve that BUT I can NOT control it. It doesn’t matter if my blood sugars are good or all over the place. This is the NORMAL for a diabetic & their family.
If you could give one tip to someone newly diagnosed what would it be?
The one thing that I would tell a newly diagnosed diabetic is check your sugar & check it often. That is the ONLY way to prevent losing your eye sight, having amputations, killing someone else on the road, & losing your ability to tell when you are low.
What is the most challenging aspect to you, in living with diabetes?
Preventing low blood sugars…stress, life, food, sickness, & medications can ALL affect your blood sugars. Since I have no clue when my blood sugar is going to drop I have to listen to the people around me & when they ask what my blood sugar is I can’t take it personal I just have to stop & take my blood sugar which is not always easy. . Nobody wants to be asked often what their blood sugar is nor do they want to stop what they are doing to check blood sugar, plus there are times when you just want to eat cupcakes all day.
What was your reaction when you found out you had diabetes?
When I found out I was diabetic I was scared to death that I was going to die. I thought if I ever had a candy bar again I would surely die.
What was hardest for you and your family — emotionally? Or financially?
The hardest thing for our family is financial…I am on a fixed income & have Medicare with a supplement which costs dearly.
Then the insulin that I use is $2000 every 3 months without insurance so therefore I am in the doughnut hole half way through the year. I rely on samples that I can get from the doctor’s offices to make it to the end of the year. Don’t get me wrong the emotional aspect is a whooper too. At this time the financial aspect is bigger.
How often do you have to test your glucose levels?
2-3 times daily I check my blood sugar levels 3-4 times a day. Unless I am sick then I check as often as every hour. If I am stressed or have any surgical procedures, then I have to take more often as well.
What insulins have you used or do you currently use?
I started off on Lente & Regular insulin…When I got pregnant the 2nd time I was put onto an insulin pump with Humalog insulin…many years later I went to Lantus & Humalog…I have used Levemir & novolog as well. Currently I am on an insulin pump with Humalog insulin.
What would you like people who have diabetes to know?
The biggest thing I would like for others with diabetes to know is that life is NOT over…You can live life as full as you would like to. Don’t surround yourself with negativity all the time. This disease is a challenge BUT you can live a very long time as long as you stay educated & take care of yourself. Don’t get bogged down with what other folks NORMAL is embrace & create your own NORMAL
Who do you get support from? Who treats you?
Dr. Bobby Johnson & Bobby Jo Crill, CRNP treat my body & Dr. Tarek Persaud takes care of my eyes. My support system is my family…my husband is my biggest cheerleader…the kids all back him up & the entire family work like a fine tuned orchestra when push comes to shove.
Let’s conclude on a positive note. I know it can be difficult to find the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you thought really hard, what is one positive thing that diabetes has brought to your life?
Diabetes can be a very negative disease BUT if you can keep in mind that God will equip you to handle the battles he brings you to you can rest somewhat. My disease has taught me not to appreciate the small things in life like the stars, the flowers, my children’s & grand children’s faces, colors, books, you name it. Your vision is a major thing in your life & often we don’t know how much we rely on it until it is gone OR in a major mess. It has also taught me that life isn’t forever so don’t miss out on anything…do it, enjoy life. Take care of yourself.