An 18-year-old woman's Facebook post about living with type 1 diabetes is a powerful window into what living with the disease is really like.
In July, Madeline Milzark of Missouri collapsed in her home. Her blood sugar had crashed. The experience inspired her to give the world a reality check about what it's like to have type 1 diabetes — something she's lived with for over 10 years.
"I realized it was time to show people the reality instead of the perception that diabetes was simple, and just a disease where you avoided sugar," she told BuzzFeed. "The thing people think caused my disease actually saved my life, and that's what not many people realize."
According to the American Diabetes Association, about 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. And a 2014 study from diabetes publication diaTribe found that 76 percent of people with type 1 feel stigmatized, which can heavily impact their personal relationships and disease management.
Milzark posted a photo with her insulin and blood glucose meter on Facebook two weeks ago.
"It's a disease that isn't picky when it chooses who to attack, it doesn't care if you're 2 months old or if you're 73," she wrote on the post. "It doesn't care if you eat Big Macs and McChickens every day of your life or if you're a strict vegan who goes to the gym daily. Diabetes is me. Diabetes is a whole ton of people who fight for their life every single day and go to bed not sure if they're going to wake up the next morning."
As of August 5, Milzark's post has received over 10,000 shares.
"I'm so extremely happy about the response I've gotten," she told the BBC. "I've had so many people telling me I'm making a difference, sharing their stories with me and thanking me. It's so heartwarming."
After her post went viral, Milzark created a new Facebook page called Type One Madeline to spread more awareness about her disease.
Milzark also told A Plus that people have given her positive messages saying that the stigma regarding diabetes is now starting to change for the better.