My Guardian Angel –

The other night was one of those times where I needed saving. Some may say it could be timing, coincidence, or luck. But to me, it’s nothing short of a guardian angel.

I go to sleep, but this time my CGM didn’t alert me of a low blood sugar. A simple malfunction or loss of signal perhaps. Any other night I would get alerted, wake up, and care for my blood sugar. But not this night.

On the other side of the house a smoke alarm beeps 3 times. My husband wakes up quickly and goes to figure out where the loud noise is coming from. There’s no fire, no one awake in the house but himself, and it never went off again after he woke up – (Even days later).

He then goes to check on me. Puts his hand on my chest and notices that I’m sweating profusely. He wakes me up and I feel weak and confused. He hands me a handful of M&M’s and as I eat I slowly start to become alert and well.

I thank him for waking me up. I feel distraught on how I can do so good for so long and have just ONE bad night with diabetes. He asks me if I heard the smoke alarm going off and I said no. It didn’t click in then, but the next day I really thought about weird that was.

It doesn’t surprise me though. And it’s not the first time something like this has happened where I feel protected in some way. It’s comforting and reassuring that someone is looking after me. I believe my husband is my assigned guardian angel.

I think having a guardian angel is a way of saying “I know you can’t do this alone and you’ll never have to. An angel is there to protect you.”

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type 1 parents

To All The Type 1 Parents Out There

To All The Type 1 Parents Out There

By: Kathryn Julian

I’m a teacher, mother, wife, and daughter. I am also a type 1 diabetic.

For the nearly 30 years I have navigated this disease. I have memories of mixing clear and cloudy, blood drops the size of Antarctica, the fist insulin pump trials, and of course the constant doctors appointments reminding me of all the horrors this disease can cause if gone uncontrolled. Through it all, I had the unwavering support of my two greatest advocates, my parents.

My mom and dad had no idea what this disease was when their baby girl was diagnosed. They always provided me with the best care, the best doctors, the best equipment they could.

When something new came out that could make my life a little easier my dad worked a little harder to get it for me. My mom measured my carbohydrates for every meal and always made sure I had extra snacks.

I remember in 7th grade my dad stayed the night in a hotel near the campground where my 7th grade field trip was just in case I needed him. Just in case something went wrong. But, they let me go….

I remember when I left for college and the excitement that I felt. I couldn’t wait to go. Many years later, I learned the fear my parents had. They weren’t sure if I would be alright. They worried everyday. But they let me go…

I remember when I wanted to move to the big city, work in an inner city school, and get my own apartment without roommates. My parents never discouraged me, never told me the fears they had of me living alone. They let me go….

When I was 24 I wanted to travel the world during summer break. My parents helped gather glucose tablets, extra pump supplies, syringes, and test strips. They were beyond terrified their daughter was traveling to third world countries. They never told me their fears. They let me go…

At 26, when I met an amazing man, he asked me to marry him. My life would now be shared with someone else, and for the first 26 years my parents worried day in and day out about me being alone, I now had someone at my side. The fears they had were still there but the burden was lifted a bit….

That following year my husband and I found out we were pregnant. It was a healthy pregnancy, my daughter was born perfect, without complications. I never knew the burden my mother felt. The fear she had…

A few years later my mom told me how scared she was through the whole pregnancy. She, told me how much she worried. I never knew.

Right after she told me her fears, I told her I was pregnant again. My poor mother smiled through the whole pregnancy, hiding her fears from me. But now, at 33, I knew she was scared. She wasn’t fooling me anymore. But, she never told me. She supported and encouraged me the same way she had my entire life. My second daughter was born this past May. She too, like my first, is perfect.

My mom and dad taught me never to let this disease stop me from doing anything. They provided me with the support, encouragement, love, and strength to endure some very dark days. They have always been there for me.

Now, a mother of two daughters myself, I can’t imagine the fears they had while I grew up. I was three years younger than my oldest daughter when I was diagnosed.

I have thought often about the strength my mom and dad had in raising me before the technology was readily available. How they let me live my life. They taught me that diabetes was just a part of me like the color of my eyes.

I can never thank them enough for the life they have given me. But, I can continue to live my life the way they want me to.

So, to all the type 1 parents out there, who have raised their children to be fearless, strong, and determined. It is because of you this disease won’t stop us. There aren’t words to thank you enough.

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good life

Our Own Rhythms to a Good Life

Our Own Rhythms to a Good Life

So, as a type 1 diabetic, I have blood work drawn every 6 months. This time around, the one test for overall blood sugar control, HbA1C, was up to 7.8. This ain’t a great number. In fact, it’s higher than it’s been in 5 years- higher than when I weighed enough to be classified as almost obese.

Why am I telling you this? To me, it’s a reminder of a few things.

You can’t take anything at face value.

Anyone that sees me on the street today will probably not make a note of it. I’m pretty generic looking. Average height and average weight- I’m an average looking mom of 2 boys. I exercise regularly. I write down what foods I eat and try to stick to a balanced diet.

No one can see I have a condition that I fight every day. There are no outward signs, unless someone sees me test or inject insulin, that I have to monitor what I eat, what I do and inject medicine every few hours of every single day.

There are tons of people out there like me. We all have things going on that others don’t have a clue about. It’s a reminder to pass on a smile every chance we get. It’s something we can do to lighten whatever burden the other person may be carrying.

You can always do better.

I look healthy and I feel fantastic. I went through some stuff in my early 40s that made me afraid I would be in pain for the rest of my life. I worked hard and improved. Despite my apparent health now, I’m reminded by this blood work that I can still do better.

Diabetic Warriors (my favorite term) can get numb to the daily grind and we need to be reminded to pick up our game. This doesn’t apply to just us Warriors, though. We all need reminders.

We all need new inspiration to keep our goals in sight.

A corollary to the fact we can do better is our need to get help from others to do so. For me, I should reach out to my health care team to help me gain tighter control of my diabetes. This goes for everyone: getting help from others helps us succeed. It can make the process more enjoyable, as well.

Enjoy your days.

I could get depressed about my numbers or ticked that I have this stupid condition in the first place. I choose not to, though. I choose to find ways I can enjoy getting and staying in shape. I choose to spend time each day doing things and being with people who fill me with joy and purpose.

I’m not rich with money but I am rich with the satisfaction of who and what I am.

To me, that’s a very good life.

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healthy with diabetes challenge

The Healthy With Diabetes Challenge

The Healthy With Diabetes Challenge

Managing your diabetes and living a healthy lifestyle takes both physical and mental strength, and it helps a lot to have the support of a “diabetes tribe”. That’s why I am really excited to introduce TheFitBlog’s Healthy With Diabetes Challenge!

Type 1 diabetic and personal trainer Christel Oerum, who you may have seen on the blog before, created the challenge. She hosts these online challenges three times per year and they are super popular (almost 3,000 people participated in the last one).

The Healthy With Diabetes Challenge is a free 4-week challenge where Christel and a team of top diabetes experts take you through some of the most important things you need to know about diabetes and exercise, healthy nutrition, and how to establish healthy habits when you live with diabetes.


How the Challenge works

The Challenge consists of five things:

  1. Daily activities or “challenges” that takes you through everything you need to do in a step-by-step fashion
  2. Articles covering the most important topics on physical and mental health with diabetes
  3. Weekly meal plans
  4. Workout programs that you can do during the challenge (home and gym workouts)
  5. A Facebook support group for challenge participants in which you can ask questions, share your experiences and connect with other people who want to be Healthy With Diabetes

The challenge is for people with all types of diabetes, and of all ages and fitness levels. Besides Christel, you will also learn from the following diabetes experts during the challenge:

  • Mark Heyman (mental health and diabetes)
  • Phyllisa Deroze (healthy nutrition and lifestyle with diabetes)
  • Ben Tzeel (exercise with diabetes)
  • Ginger Vieira (overcoming diabetes burnout)
  • Rachel Zinman (yoga and relaxation with diabetes)

Each week, there will also be a giveaway where you can win awesome diabetes products from sponsors like One DropMyabeticVital Proteins and Legendary Foods.

You can sign up for the challenge on TheFitBlog!

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challenge accepted

Challenge Accepted –

Challenge accepted –

By: Ryan Baldwin

December 18, 1992..I was nine years old and I had been pretty sick for 3 months. My mother had taken me in for another doctor visit..only this time, I wasn’t going home right after. Instead, I was being admitted to the hospital. I remember asking my mom, “why are all these tubes hooked to me? What is diabetes? And when do I get to go home??”

I knew diabetes was serious when my mom and dad coexisted in the same room for 6 days..soaking up as much as they could about a disease neither side of my family knew anything about. “You can leave when you can give yourself your own shot.” Deathly afraid of needles, I knew the last place I wanted to be on Christmas was the hospital. Two hours later, my mother and I were on our way home.

For the last 25 years, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Ryan you can’t…”

This disease I live with isn’t a death sentence….. I choose to look at diabetes as a challenge. Life’s way of testing my limits. An opportunity. We all have our own challenges. Mine just happens to involve many calculations and perhaps carrying around more items each time I go out.

“Ryan you can’t…”

I can. I’ve been able to race cars, play hockey & football, surf, enjoy the outdoors. I can go to Vegas with the guys. Of course we face challenges along the way. But, who doesn’t?

Over time, my challenges have evolved from showing I can and fitting in.

My 10 year old son came home from school. So excited. “Dad..there’s a kid in my class. He’s just like you!!”

Now, Im faced with a new challenge. A new opportunity to show my kids that everyone has their own struggles. Everyone has issues. Yet we are all the same.

Highs. Lows. Sleepless nights. Mood swings. Fatigue. The curious stares as you inject while out at dinner. The awkward noises coming from your CGM while out in public or in a meeting. No biggie. It’s not a crutch. It’s a challenge. To better yourself. To rise and conquer.

I embrace the challenges ahead. To advocate and educate on type 1 diabetes. We aren’t alone. I’m reminded everyday. Whether it’s getting a text/call from a buddy because he got an alert regarding my sugar levels. Or my children stopping in their tracks to make sure Dad is ok because he’s acting funny or they heard the all familiar alert coming from my CGM.

Diabetes is what you make it. Don’t let it control you.

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If I'm completely honest - t1d

If I Am Completely Honest –

If I Am Completely Honest –

By: Heather Lyons

Blog: Coffee & Jesus

Type one diabetes (T1D) does not control my family. We control it. Family, friends, doctors, and teachers control it. Jett controls it. Everyday. We fight it. We endure it. We cry about it. We build strength from it. We grow. We learn.

It has molded Jett and I and made us different people. Health, fitness, and faith is my world now. I am more thankful because of it. I realize each day is so precious and yet another amazing gift from God. I am thankful for T1D. And, I hate it! It’s inexplainable. I want to take it away from Jett but then, again, I know he is dominating it and life because of the strength he has built from it.

If I'm completely honest - t1d
I try not to talk about it that much or even write about it. But, please know, that it is a big part of our life and Jett and I are who we are today because of it. I wouldn’t change that. I know that our God knows best.

I try not to talk about it or write about it because:

If I am completely honest, sometimes I feel a little bitter and angry because of it. But, not for the reasons that you would think. I feel angry because I feel like people do not understand it. They don’t understand that the same medicine, insulin, which keeps Jett alive could also kill him. They don’t understand that there are long term side effects.

They don’t understand that Jett has mood swings because of it and feels like he has the flu when his sugar is high. I feel like people think I make excuses for Jett. The truth is, Jett is fighting an incurable disease that would break most people and he is doing an incredible job. My Jett-Man is a super-hero!

If I am completely honest, sometimes I feel guilty. I feel guilty that it is a lot of work for family members and teachers. He requires so much more attention than most kids. But, he is worth it! I am so thankful for family and friends that ease my anxiety and help take such great care of him. Jett and I are blessed with the best.

I never expected this horrible, life-threatening but yet life-strengthening disease to hit my family. Especially, my precious little, at the time, 6 year old boy that was going to accomplish big things and had his entire life in front of him.

Guess what? Things happen that totally rock our worlds. And, Jett is still going to accomplish more incredible things than I could have ever imagined and he has his entire life ahead of him to inspire people and do amazing things.

I am a firm believer that life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% how we react.

One of my favorite bible verses, that my sweet sister Beth shared with me, is:

John 9: 1-3, “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

God will surely use my Jett-Man!

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

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How My Other Illnesses Helped Me Accept My Type 1

How My Other Illnesses Helped Me Accept My Type 1

Blog: Love, Light, and Insulin

It took me 10 years to truly accept that I have Type 1 Diabetes. I know, that sounds impossible, but it really did. My mom was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 8. So I grew up in a Type 1 household. Our family didn’t need to be taught fresh. We already lived surrounded by needles, meters, and glucose tabs.

I was 12 when I was diagnosed. Just entering high school.

I have no dramatic diagnosis story because with my mom’s knowledge we actually caught it early. It was a full year until my pancreas completely stopped making insulin.

12 is a strange age. I was just entering high school. I was an awkward tween with braces. I just wanted people to like me, but I didn’t even know who I was yet. So I kind of just pushed my Diabetes to the side. It’s not that I completely ignored it, but I just dealt with it without having any sort of grieving process. I followed along with what my mom did and continued with life, hiding in the bathroom at school to give my insulin, and pretended it wasn’t a big deal.

Then at 20 I was hit with a mystery illness.

I was in school for professional photography and I just felt awful every day. My legs started to feel like lead when I walked. The trek from my suburb to school downtown began to feel nearly impossible. I developed a wide gait and walking, something that used to be so natural, became difficult. That was the last time I was in school. At this point I had been to my doctor and she had asked me if I was depressed… if my Diabetes was under control… if I was exercising, because all my tests were coming back normal.

Next came scarier and stranger issues. I had stroke-like episodes. I started going into urinary retention. My gastrointestinal problems that I’d always had became more severe. I was lightheaded and nauseous standing up. It just felt like my body was falling apart.

And it was a uphill battle to get doctors to believe me and take me seriously. In the meantime, I was not well at all, and the realization hit me that having Type 1 wasn’t no big deal. It hit me that this disease was just as important, and just as scary and serious as all these other issues I was dealing with. It was a big deal and a complete full time job. One that I couldn’t forget to do when I wasn’t feeling well. One that I had to keep in good control to prove to my doctors that I was a compliant patient. One that was even harder to care for than some of my other issues.

So while I didn’t know what was wrong with me in every other way… I knew I had Type 1 Diabetes.

This is when I started venturing into the Diabetes Online Community. Talking to all these people who got it was such a miracle for me. From there, I found the whole chronic illness community, and both of them together helped to get me through all the years of the unknown. I found others who had both Type 1 and other unrelated illnesses. I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t the only one going through all this.

And then some tests started to come back positive. Through urodynamics I was diagnosed with Bladder Sphincter Dyssynergia, a form of Neurogenic Bladder. Through a Sitz Marker study I was diagnosed with slow intestinal motility. Through a tilt table test I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS for short.

But my walking and balance problems were still a mystery. I had about 4 neurologists tell me I had conversion disorder but kept fighting, because I knew that wasn’t right. There so many tears shed after appointments, so many let downs. So many medical professionals who just didn’t take me seriously. Until this year.

My neurologist (one who had previously thought I had conversion disorder), called and asked me to come in and discuss some results. She told me that she thinks I have Stiff Person Syndrome, a literal one in a million disease, and started me on treatment. Stiff Person Syndrome is a rare neurological autoimmune disease that you can probably guess from the name, causes progressive stiffness and muscle spasms. So I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t know how much worse things could get or how quickly.

So right now I’m trying to live out my life the best I can with a disability.

I’m trying to go out of my comfort zone and go on adventures. And now, I can take a step back from this 5 year search for answers and breathe the biggest sigh of relief. Because although having a debilitating, progressive illness is no fun, I would rather know than not know.

Fun fact: Though Stiff Person Syndrome is thought to occur in fewer than one million people, 60% of people who do have Stiff Person Syndrome have Type 1 Diabetes.

And if I had any advice, it would be that you know your body best. Be your own advocate. Let your voice be heard and let it be strong. Don’t let the sounds from others get in the way. You are always stronger than you think you are.

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We Are Never Alone In Our Fight Against The Dragon

By: AJ Cunder

I’ve lived with diabetes my entire life–almost 23 years now, since I was diagnosed at 17 months old. Some days I wonder why the dragon chose me. Some days I wonder why I can’t get my blood sugar to stay below 200 mg/dl, or above 70. Some days I get tired of wrestling this dragon that has come to live inside me.

But then, some days I realize there is more to this beast than meets the eye.

No doubt, living with diabetes is difficult. All of us who have it would probably take a cure in a heartbeat. But there is something about this shared diabetic journey that unites us and bonds us, inspires a community to band together and face this dragon as a team.

I recently attended a JDRF/FARE benefit crab race hosted by Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach in New Jersey where I met a mother and her young son who explained that the day marked seven months exactly since he was diagnosed with T1D. Tylar, was his name.

And it amazed me how strong he was, and how strong his family must be to come out to a diabetes event so soon after a diagnosis. When many might throw their hands up and despair, this family found refuge in community where they can see–as all diabetics can see–that they are not alone.

We are never alone in our fight against the dragon.

I signed a copy of my memoir for Tylar–proceeds from the sale that day went to benefit the JDRF–and I hope in reading it he can see and remember that no one faces this disease alone. Even if it feels overwhelming, there is a strong, vibrant T1D community out there eager to hold each other up.

And so, perhaps that is one good thing that can come of this disease: a bond that unites us in our shared battle against the dragon. To see waves of diabetics sporting their infusion sets proudly, wearing their JDRF apparel, swinging their blue JDRF tote bags without shame reminded me of the fundamental strength of this community and the unbreakable bonds forged in the dragon’s fire.

Diabetes sucks, but the friendships and relationships that come from it are undoubtedly some of the strongest to be found on this earth.

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undercover type one

Undercover Type One

Undercover Type One

-Megan W

I have had Type One Diabetes for six and half years now! It’s been quite the ride. Every day really is a learning experience and I grow each and every time, but the one thing I’ve struggled with from day one is the judgment of others.

Isn’t dealing with Type One enough of a struggle without having to receive questioning glances from others?

From the start I have felt the need to hide my disease so I appear normal to everyone else. I tested my blood sugar under the table at restaurants. I went to the restroom to inject insulin. I would wait until my college dorm mate was out of the room to change my pump site and wear long sleeve shirts to cover the CGM on my arm.

Even as I’m typing these things I’m shaking my head thinking I cant believe I do these things!

But, I do these things because of the looks I get from strangers. As if trying to prevent my disease from causing others discomfort, their discomfort!? As much as the inner boss lady in me doesn’t want to admit it the stares, brow furrows, and uncomfortable glances sting. And as much as I try to let them roll of my back one always seems to slip under my shell. So how to I stop the painful stares and the pressure to hide this already exhausting disease? Educate!

If more people out there understood diabetes maybe those of us in hiding could come out from the shadows.

So I’ve challenged myself to do just that: educate the confused and judgmental! I vow to stop covering my CGM as well as check and dose right in the middle of a restaurant. I would like to challenge other type one’s to do the same. Let’s get this disease out there and teach others what it’s all about so the gazes can stop once and for all.

To top off my challenge to myself to stop being an undercover Type One, I’ve made an Instagram page specifically to share my life with Type One. Not only do I hope to shine light on this disease and teach the uninformed, I wish to provide comfort for other Type one’s. Let’s end the stares for good!

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Daily Thoughts Of a Person With Diabetes

Daily Thoughts Of a Person With Diabetes

My day to day life revolves around diabetes. As much as I like to tell myself that it doesn’t control my life, to a certain extent it does. I forget sometimes how often I think about my diabetes, from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep it’s on my mind.

Here are some of my daily thoughts with diabetes:

Just waking up I check my blood sugar, it’s 163. Okay, how much insulin do I need to inject to bring it down slightly and to be able to eat breakfast?

Do I have enough insulin? How long until I run out? Am I due for a refill soon? How much will my insulin cost when I go to pick it up? Will I be able to afford this?

My CGM (continuous glucose monitor) is beeping a low alarm. How low is it? What should I eat or drink? How much should I eat or drink to bring it back up to a safe number?

I want to go out to lunch this afternoon. How many test strips should I bring? Do I have enough insulin in my insulin pump or should I change it prior? What if my blood sugar drops too low or goes high? Do I have enough snacks? Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

I’m eating dinner. How will this meal affect my blood sugar? Did I bolus? Will the insulin I gave myself prior be sufficient enough? What if I miscalculated? Will I need to correct?

Credit: Type 1 Diabetes Memes

I’m out of the house. My blood is low and I’m not feeling well. Do I tell everyone around me? Where can I sit down and take care of my diabetes? Why are people staring at me?

My blood sugar is high. Why is it high? I did everything that I normally do but my blood sugar won’t come down. Why do I feel so sick? Should I test my ketones? Should I go to the ER? Could it be DKA? Why is diabetes so frustrating?

Just put a new insulin pump site on. Is it on correctly? Why is my blood sugar rising? Could the cannula be bent? Should I take it off and put on a new one? I would hate to have to waste a site if it’s fine.

It’s midnight and my blood sugar is low. What should I eat? How long before my sugar rises? I hope it comes up soon because I’m tired. What if it doesn’t rise and I fall back asleep?

I’m working out and my blood sugar is dropping. Should I stop my workout? Should I eat something and continue working out? Should I disable my insulin pump?

My blood sugar trends have been wacky lately. Should I change my basal rates? What if I’m just combating hormones or sickness? Should I bolus more for my meals? What adjustment is needed without going too high or low throughout the day?

Packing for a trip. How much insulin should I bring? How will I keep my insulin refrigerated? How many infusion sites, sensors, lancets, and test strips should I pack?

Diabetes is demanding and it requires constant attention.

Trying to mimic a pancreas is no easy feat. Everyday I make choices for my health, and those choices have a huge impact on my life. Going over my daily thoughts I have just proves how much work I put into my diabetes, and my life everyday.

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