Diabetes affects over a million people in the country. However, many still don’t understand quite what having it entails.
Those who only see a little bit of the process may dismiss it as something that means you can’t eat as much sugar.
Many don’t realize the dangerous implications that uncertain insulin levels can have on the body, as well as the many meters, pens, and poke sticks that are used to test the body’s blood sugar.
But one Missouri teenager set out to teach the internet a little bit more about what living with diabetes means.
With a picture of her insulin pen and meter, she was able to show people what every day looks like for people, like this little girl, who live with different diabetes types.
Check below to read Milzark’s powerful message and to see pictures of the tools that are used every day to keep people with diabetes alive and well.
[H/T: A Plus]
Madeline Milzark is a teen with Type 1 diabetes, who has managed her insulin levels with an injectable insulin pen and blood glucose meter for almost 10 years.
She, along with the 1.25 million Americans who also have Type 1 diabetes, have to manage abnormal blood sugar levels due to the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells.
The lack of consistent insulin levels can cause many maladies including dehydration, weight loss, and internal damage.
Many do not fully understand the time and effort it takes to manage different types of diabetes.
Some water down Milzark’s disease without understanding the various abrasive instruments that are used in the process.
But an incident in her home, involving her collapsing from crashing blood sugar levels, inspired her to speak out about the realities of diabetes.
“I realized it was time to show people the reality instead of the perception that diabetes was simple and just a disease where you avoided sugar,” she explained to BuzzFeed. “The thing people think caused my disease actually saved my life, and that’s what not many people realize.”
In order to pen her point of view, Milzark, created a Facebook post picturing her pen and insulin meter, as well as a powerful post about living with inconsistent insulin levels.
The post received overwhelming positive response and over 10,000 shares. Check out her amazing message about diabetes below.
“Diabetes isn’t your piece of cake, or that supersized McDonald’s meal with extra fries, or anything you see coated with sugar.
Diabetes is an 18-year-old girl sitting on her bathroom floor shaking, and not able to breathe because her blood sugar dropped, and praying her grandma’s phone is near her and she got the text message to bring some sugar since she’s too weak to yell and the whole room is spinning.”
“It’s a 9-year-old boy who is trying to play outside with his friends and ends up being carted away in an ambulance because he went unconscious when he didn’t feel his sugar slipping.
It’s a 32-year-old girl who FINALLY got the news that she’s pregnant and going to have the family she’s always wanted, but instead of celebrating like she should be, she’s worried to death that her blood sugars won’t stay in range with all of the hormones, and that it’s going to kill her baby before she gets to meet it… And maybe even her.”
“It’s a 3-year-old who doesn’t understand why her mommy has to stab her with a syringe every single time she eats, but not her brother.
It’s a 4-year-old girl that I read about recently who lost her life because a doctor misdiagnosed her diabetes as the flu, and she ended up a victim of diabetic ketoacidoses, where your blood literally turns acidic from the lack of insulin in your body and attacks your organs.
Diabetes is your mother, your neighbor, your cousin.
Diabetes isn’t the morbidly obese man you see on TV.
It isn’t something people ask for or give themselves.
It’s a disease that isn’t picky when it chooses who to attack, it doesn’t care if you’re 2 months old or if you’re 73.”
“It doesn’t care if you eat Big Macs and McChickens every day of your life, or if you’re a strict vegan who goes to the gym daily.
Diabetes is me.
Diabetes is a whole ton of people who fight for their life every single day and go to bed not sure if they’re going to wake up the next morning.
So before you tag your huge dessert #Diabetes, think about what #Diabetes really looks like.”
In light of the post’s popularity, Milzark created a Facebook page called Type One Madeline to continue her spread of diabetes awareness.
A GoFundMe page was also set up to help get her an insulin pump, which would help her manage her erratic insulin level immensely — and the profile has already met its financial goals!
If you think more people should understand diabetes, please SHARE Madeline’s brave story!