My name is James Kocian, and I have been a type-1 (juvenile) diabetic since June 21, 1986.
I was self-diagnosed, as I had remembered the 'warning signs of diabetes' in 7th grade health class. During that following summer, I was quite sick with all the classic signs (always thirsty, irritable, rapid weight loss, etc), but the medical professionals thought it was allergy-related.
I distinctly recall "knowing" I was diabetic and sharing that information, only to have everyone around me (friends, family, doctors & nurses) reassure me that it simply was not so.
I had asked for a blood test to confirm the self-diagnosis, but every other treatment option was exhausted first. Eventually the doctor yielded, and the lab work was done. The next day we got the call to immediately go to the E.R., as my blood sugar level was well over 800 mg/dL (normal range 70-140).
Control would never come, despite our best efforts. We had a food scale and weighed each portion (this is long before carb counting and mandatory food labels were the norm!)
I spent time in the Milwaukee Children's Hospital, but sill the levels were off. Eventually we drove to Boston, Mass. (I was in diabetic ketoacidosis), where I spent some time at the Joslin Diabetes Center.
I developed some relationships there and soon was spending my summers in Boston at Camp Joslin (an all boys diabetes camp). It affected me so profoundly that eventually I became a staff member of Camp Joslin.
Throughout the years, my levels have been in varying states of erratic. However, all that changed back in November of 2008, when I decided to give the insulin pump a try.
My life, health, outlook, and prognosis have all been dramatically and exponentially impacted - for the good.
I never thought I could have control like this (I was told I could not), I never thought I could actually go to the doctor and hear them say, "Great, keep it up - it's perfect!!!," and I never thought it would be this minor of a deal to actually be on the pump!
Check the archive to start at the beginning of this transitional journey for me. I would love for you to take this exciting trip along with me, and if you feel compelled, please feel free to drop me message any time!