Jessica L Miller

United States
Diabetes has taught me that every person endures things that we cannot see

How long have you been living with diabetes?

I was diagnosed on October 7, 1986. I was six and a half years old.

How were you diagnosed?

I had always been skinny, but I was losing weight. I had also started falling asleep in the car after school (1st grade) and wetting the bed. My parents took me to my pediatrician, Dr. Koseruba. I had just watched "Return to Oz," and I was so scared of the hospital because of scenes in the beginning of that movie! (No offense to the movie! I was just little!)

Did your diagnosis come as a surprise to you?

Absolutely! I had never heard of diabetes.

How did your diagnosis affect your family or loved ones?

I could tell my parents, sister, extended family, and friends were scared, but they all were and forever have been strong and supportive. We celebrate my "Diabetiversary" annually!

What are the most important things that have supported your diabetes care?

I have truly been blessed by an amazing team of doctors, and by the best family and friends I could ever have imagined. My first endocrinologist, Dr. Emil Week, taught my parents not to deprive me of things, but rather to teach me moderation. I was always able to join my friends for pizza parties and birthday cake, but I learned to eat small pieces and save more for later when my sugar was low.

What has living with diabetes taught you the most?

It has taught me that every person endures things that we cannot see. We must all be grateful, humble and kind because we never know what is happening in someone's life under the surface. I am incredibly grateful for my life.

What has been your lowest point with diabetes?

There has not been a "low point" that I can recall, but I do struggle with depression and anxiety at times. It's hard and scary to never know what my body is going to do or how I am going to feel. I have other diseases, including Celiac, that are linked to diabetes as well.

Have you ever experienced issues accessing diabetes medicines, supplies and care?

I have struggled in the past with insurance not filling enough insulin at a time. I have always had insurance, thankfully, but there were years when I was forced to change insulins or not to get more than one bottle without paying full price.

What would you like to see change in diabetes over the next 100 years?

I don't know how anyone could possibly not say, "a cure" to this question!

What do you think needs to change to improve the lives of people living with diabetes in your country?

I think that pharmaceutical companies need to remember that Dr. Banting sold his patent for $1 because, to paraphrase him, insulin belonged to the world and was not a thing to be used for profit.

What does the centenary of insulin mean to you?

I am reminded of how truly blessed I am to have been born when I was.

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