My name is Andrew. I am a type one diabetic and have been living with the disease for almost 19 years now. I was diagnosed at the age of 12 with having absolutely no clue of what it truly meant to be diagnosed with a chronic condition that required daily management. I was diagnosed at a time with no social media and the resources available were more limited. I struggled alone to deal with the medical and mental aspects of the disease. It changed everything about my life including school, sports, family, relationships, and losing a functioning part of your body (for us diabetics that's the pancreas) we never really focus on the aspect of loss. But that loss has created a significant change in who we are and how we function. For years I struggled with insecurities and fears dealing with the disease and not knowing how to live with it. I lied to people, stopped taking injections, missed appointments, and falsified my blood levels all because I was not ready to live a life like this. My health got really bad to the point where my A1C level was at a 14.1 and the doctor told me if I kept doing this it was going to kill me. The doctor told me I could be a healthy person with diabetes or a dead diabetic. I started making changes by looking at small increments in my management. I thought about taking my blood and accomplishing that and moving on to taking my insulin. Step by step, day by day, it got easier to focus on those small time frames. I stopped letting short-term discomfort lead to long-term misery - - which is what neglecting your diabetes management does. No one likes to take insulin injections or fingers... but it does not take long. I focused on taking care of it and moving on so I could push forward in life. I have three straight years now of A1C levels at a 7.7 or lower. Today, I am a counselor, author, marathon runner, and working towards giving back to the diabetes community. Connecting with people through the JDRF and through social media has been a blessing because for years I felt like I was the only one living with this dreadful disease. But today, my memoir about diabetes reflects a much different story. I am happy and healthy; type one diabetic and all.