While 15 weeks pregnant with her first child, Tonya Wanamaker experienced extremely low blood sugar while driving home from the grocery store.
“I just remember waking up to some guys knocking on the window and laughing at me,” recalls the 42-year-old Hamburg, Pennsylvania resident and type 2 diabetes patient. “I think they thought I was drunk, and they drove away.”
Wanamaker was ultimately rescued, but lost consciousness again the next week.
A GROUP EFFORT: Together the Wanamaker family supports each other as they face the challenges of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
“I passed out on the sofa. My husband didn't find me until he got home from work at 12 a.m. It was a horrible experience, waking up in an ambulance wondering what happened, and if my baby was okay.”

Like mother, like daughter

Wanamaker met with her doctor and adjustments were made. But, decades later, dealing with diabetes remains a challenge, as it is for 15-year-old daughter, Sierra and Wanamaker's 61-year-old mother, Diana, who both suffer from type 1 diabetes.
“My mother was diagnosed when she was 26. The only means of testing her sugar level at home was to do a urine dip. She used insulin made from a pig,” says Wanamaker, who, like Diana, relies on insulin pens, rather than painful syringes.
“People would stare like you were a junkie. I'm so thankful for the insulin pen. You just dial the dose, twist on the small needle and give an injection before anyone notices. Sierra likes using the insulin pump, because it's easy, and she doesn't have to give a shot. It gives her the freedom of eating just about anything she wants at anytime.”

Staying strong

Wanamaker says Sierra, who's active in sports, struggles to lower her A1C, while Diana deals with neuropathy. Managing their diabetes is clearly a family affair.
“When Sierra goes to a friend's house, I try to text to remind her to check her sugar. She takes care of me, too. We know each other's personalities when our sugar is high or low. We are three strong women who help each other out.”