My name is Joe Levdansky and I am 20 years old. I was raised in Pittsburg, PA in the small town of Elizabeth. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 15 on Christmas Eve. Leading up to the day of my diagnosis I lost about 40lbs, was drinking a lot, was very tired, and my vision was blurry. For some odd reason I didn’t think anything of it prior to that day. My uncle was a very uncontrolled diabetic and struggled throughout his life leading up to the day he got his pancreas transplant . Christmas Eve my uncle was the only one to realize something wasn’t quite right with me. When he checked my blood sugar it read HI. I spent the next week in the hospital training for diabetes. For me it didn’t make sense to ponder on why I got it or how hard it was going to be. I realized I wouldn’t have gotten this disease if God didn’t think I had the strength to handle it. So throughtout the last 5 years I try to look at the blessings it has brought me. I matured much quicker than my friends, take my health very seriously and not for granted, and it has given me unbelievable strength to over come it and any other obstacles in my life. Compared to the stress of diabetes, nothing can compare.
I am a union sheet metal worker and I now have my own landscaping business. People always ask me about questions about diabetes like, “how can u do that?,” or “Isn’t it bad for you to work like that with diabetes?” I tend to laugh at these questions and think to myself that this disease has made me work that much harder then anyone else to achieve my goals and I don’t let it bring me down or get in my way. I can run circles around people without this disease and I at times feel it is a blessing to have diabetes because of the strength it gives me.
I took shots the last 4 years but recently got the Medtronic 530g insulin pump with the blood glucose sensor. I love the pump although it does get frustrating when I sweat because the site tends to fall off. I’m also not quite the fan of the glucose monitor because of how inaccurate it is unless you’re constantly on top of your calibrations which can be difficult. I don’t see it to be at its full potential yet but in a few years this will be a very good tool for diabetes management.
I’ve never been involved in the diabetic community before because I was focused more on my own wellness with this disease. I want to change that. I feel we all have the responsibility to share our story and the challenges we face, so that we can make it that much easier for people recently diagnosed. We all struggle at times but its not the end. You can do whatever you choose in life even with this disease. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it. Make it your fuel to reach your goals. The strength it gives you is a blessing.
Thank you for reading my story.