Congratulations to Caroline Carter on her recent win of the Miss New Hampshire title! We are so pleased to present to you this interview that we did with Caroline who also has Type 1 Diabetes, Caroline is truly an inspiraiton for our diabetes community.
1. Caroline, how old were you when you were diagnosed and how were you diagnosed (your story)
I was diagnosed when I was 11 due to medical error. I had Mono, and when I was nearing the end of that stint, a doctor who was just standing in for my primary care doctor told me I had Strep, not Mono. She continued to tell me that I needed Amoxicillin, and gave it to me without actually doing blood work. About a week later, I came down with the Mono rash and lost 13 pounds. I couldn't carry my 5th grader backpack up the stairs, and one night, passed out in my mother's bed. The next day I went to the hospital and within 15 minutes, my doctor, who was a family friend, delivered my diagnosis and admitted me to the hospital for treatment and education. At this time, we didn't know the severity of my disease. No one in my family has ever had diabetes before. After a week of learning, it was time to go start my life as a T1D. Life has been hectic but as my mother told me when I was diagnosed, "Everybody has something." I have learned to deal with my something, and twist it into a strength instead of a weakness.
2. What challenges did you face when you were first diagnosed and through the years (did you have a hard time testing and taking insulin when you were suppose to?)
My parents really promoted self-efficacy with my diabetes. There were absolutely times when I did not want to deal with diabetes! I was diagnosed at age 11. I had experienced life before diabetes. To say at certain times that I could not have the same treats my friends were having or that I needed to stop playing because my blood sugar was too low? I found it unfair. Being such an active child, I needed to worry about low blood sugars all the time. I was frustrated and annoyed, but over the years, I am so glad I kept such a tight rein on my diabetes.
3. Everyone says that the teen years are the hardest for our children with diabetes, how did the teen years affect you and your diabetes.
Hormones were difficult to deal with. Every time I was having a growth spurt or faced adrenaline or stress, my blood sugar swerved like a roller coaster. During my younger teen years, I was incredibly active. I was outside almost 24/7, whether it was in the woods or at the Barn near my house. One night, I was out catching fireflies until it was late. I couldn't see where I was going, and must have grabbed poison ivy at one point. It was on my shoulders, and I didn't know what it was. I had never had an issue with poison ivy before, so I went to basketball camp the next day and sweat like it was no problem. The next day I had woken up and it was all down my side, covering my face, and completely blanketing my left leg. I was sent to the emergency room where they said the only option was Prednisone. My blood sugar was never the same after taking it. For about a year I struggled with high blood sugars. I am happy to say that now it is better!
4. How did you become interested in the Miss New Hampshire pagent? (what made you want to compete?
I started competing in the Miss America Organization because I love to sing and serve. Community service is a HUGE part of this organization, and on average, I serve +1000 hours per year. Singing is my passion. The talent portion of this program drew me in completely. To have the chance to sing where and whenever I want? AMAZING!
My sister competed in a few pageants in her college years, and was Miss Vermont 2011. After watching her compete, I figured I could at least try. Though we competed in different programs, our experiences were similar, and life changing for the two of us.
5. What are 5 things that no one knows about you that you would like to share?
1.) I love to make art out of seashells and driftwood!
2.) I can sing a note for 43 seconds without breathing.
3.) I can hold my breath underwater for a minute and a half.
4.) I would love to be an author and already have 2 books ready to go!
5.) My goal is to be a high school English teacher, but I would love to be a florist!
6. On your journey to the crown so far what has been your favorite experience.
I had the opportunity to represent New Hampshire in the past. When I was 16, I was Miss New Hampshire's Outstanding Teen. It is a little sister organization to Miss America. Going to Miss America's Outstanding Teen was the most amazing experience. It prepared me for Miss New Hampshire in the senses of how much energy I would need, the ability to last on little sleep, and definitely prepared me for all of the intense dancing I had to do! My best friend from the program was Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen, and we still stay in contact today. She was actually there the night I won Miss New Hampshire!
Caroline is currently a Senior in High School and we will be cheering her on when she goes for the Miss America Crown!