In the newly released True Believers, author Kurt Andersen’s narrator and lead character is a celebrated 64-year-old attorney named Karen Hollander. She also has T1D. Her diagnosis follows a memorable night when everything is perfect: She’s at the top of her high school class, she’s speaking at her graduation, and she’s been admitted to Radcliffe. The guy she’s been hoping to date, for years, is with her on prom night. Karen’s life seems so perfect right then that her frequent trips to the toilet are no big deal.
In the delirium of that phase-changing night, I chalked up my odd spiral of unquenchable thirst and endless urination to enchiladas and Pabsts and having my period, to overexcitement and staying up late and Mountain Dew. But it continued the next day and the next and then the next, and on Tuesday a doctor in Evanston told my mother and me that I had juvenile diabetes. For mysterious reasons, my pancreas had stopped working. I would have to inject insulin every day for the rest of my life.