Jennifer Stepaniak, 17, WI – The goal is not perfection but perseverance

Being diagnosed with diabetes has changed me as a person and changed my life drastically.  At the age of 11 I had to suddenly have the maturity of an adult.  I have a quote posted on my bedroom wall and I go by it everyday: "Be realistic.  The goal is not perfection but perseverance.  When you have a good day, take credit.  When you have a bad day, blame the disease and vow to make better decisions tomorrow."—Howard Wolpert. 

I am on a Minimed insulin pump.  Like every other pump wearer, I change my site every 2-3 days and I test my blood sugars around 6-10 times a day because I am active in athletics.  On days I have soccer games or whatnot my parents wake me up in the middle of the night and do midnight and three o'clock blood sugar tests to make sure I don't have an overnight reaction.

Between my two older sisters and my parents I have a huge support group everyday at home.  My immediate and large extended family are all very involved and always concerned about me.  They help me stay positive and remind me to do my everyday routine of testing, making sure I have enough insulin, counting carbs, and reminding me to change my site.  When I was first diagnosed I was really concerned about what my friends would think but now my friends are sometimes more concerned about me than I am about myself.  My friends give me such good support and sometimes if I'm hanging out with them all night they'll even ask me, "How are your blood sugars?" which is a little ironic but they are always reminding me and supporting me which means the world to me.

At school we have around 8 diabetics and we have a diabetes support group.  It is so nice because it gives all of us kids a mutual friendship and a comfort in that there are other kids in school who sometimes have problems with teachers and who have bad blood sugars during tests.  We meet once a month and it helps make my school more comfortable and problem free as far as my disease goes.

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