Hi! My name is Corinne Watne. I am 10 years old and in the 5th grade. I was diagnosed with autoimmune type 1 diabetes on December 22, 2015, just a couple days before Christmas. Boy, did that make things interesting!
I am a CDF advocate and I spread awareness about type 1 diabetes in our community. I have shared my story with local schools, church groups and at community events. I feel it is important to share what I know so others can understand what type 1 diabetes is and not be afraid.
I’m just a normal girl who loves to sew fun things; as well as draw, play basketball with my brothers, sing and dance… BUT a fun fact about me is that I also like to horse vault! Yep! I go to a horse vaulting camp every summer and I have learned how to stand on a horse and do tricks on a horses back!
Tell us about yourself and your background with diabetes.
I was born in Glendora, California, but then moved to Colorado when I was 2 years old. I have two older brothers, a dog, a cat, a bunny and a hamster. I have had type 1 diabetes for 1.5 years now. I was nine years old when I was first diagnosed. I was scared at first because I never heard of type 1 diabetes and didn’t understand how I got it. I’m the only one in my family with it so it was new to everyone. I didn’t know if other kids had it or if I was the only one in the whole wide world. I was scared. It took me a while to understand that I didn’t get diabetes because of something I ate or did… It just happened. Even the doctors told me that they don’t know why people get it. However, once I knew there was nothing I could have done to stop it from happening, I decided I wanted to help other kids like me by telling everyone about the disease so we can find a cure. That is why I participate in programs that help fund projects that are researching a cure.
When I was first showing flu-like symptoms, no one knew what was going on with me. I didn’t have a fever and I didn’t have a cold, but I felt horrible. My pediatrician gave me a blood test, but never tested me for diabetes. So I went home. Then one morning when I woke up, I could hardly move. That is when my mom took me to Urgent Care. They did a simple urine test and diagnosed me with diabetes. I was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis. I ended up going to two different hospitals until we found one that could help me. I only had to stay in the hospital for two days. However, I had to spend a whole day at the Barbara Davis Center (BDC) in Denver, Colorado before I could go home. The doctors and nurses at the BDC were so friendly and really helped me and my parents understand how to take care of my diabetes. They also helped me not to be scared. They gave me everything I needed and made me feel like I wasn’t alone. They even gave my parents a nurse to call whenever they had questions.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who has been recently diagnosed with diabetes?
When I meet other kids who just found out they have type 1 diabetes, I tell them it’s not as bad as they think and if I can do it – so can they! A lot of people get type 1 confused with type 2, but type 1 diabetes is completely different. With type 1, you still get to eat everything you want and can do anything you used to before being diagnosed. You can even have regular candy! It just takes a little more thinking and preparation before you do things. Learning how to count carbs so you can give yourself the right amount of insulin takes practice, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. When you have type 1 diabetes, there are fun camps you get to go to and special events with a whole bunch of other type 1 kids. It’s like a secret club made just for us! Type 1 diabetes hasn’t stopped even famous people who have it, so why should it stop us?! Also, I like to show off my cool electronic gear. You can eventually get an insulin pump and continuous glucose meter and decorate them with fun stickers.
What goals do you hope to see achieved in the future for the diabetes community?
I want to see a cure, of course, but I also want to see people spread awareness. I want everyone to learn about type 1 diabetes so people won’t have to be confused about it. A lot of people don’t know that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and not something you can catch by eating too much candy or not exercising. So I would like to see the whole diabetes community find different ways to spread awareness, like a television commercial about type 1 only! I also want people to be educated so they can recognize and know the symptoms of type 1 diabetes because a lot of kids are misdiagnosed, like I was. Even doctors don’t always recognize the symptoms because it looks like the flu. So, if more doctors, nurses, teachers and parents learned what to watch for and how to help a child or adult who might have type 1, it could save a life!