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I'm a Nursing Student With Type 1 Diabetes

I’m a Nursing Student With Type 1 Diabetes

I’m a Nursing Student With Type 1 Diabetes

By: Tiffany-Amber Slabbert


I was diagnosed at the age of 12 and after some very close calls and weeks in the ICU with hyperglycemia. Therefore, I made a vow to myself to never let my autoimmune disease control my life.

I was never treated differently in high school because of my condition. Thankfully, I was always made to feel accepted and our school nurse always ensured I was taking care of my diabetes. And was always there to support me in my highs and lows and all the bits in between.

I never thought that having diabetes could make you any less of a capable of achieving your dreams until I reached university.  With the busy schedule and unbearable amount of stress and expectations we had to endure it came as no surprise when my sugar readings became unstable. To this day I never wanted to be known as “the diabetic student”, but due to unfortunate events it has become my label.

I have had to endure comments such as:

“Are you sure nursing is for you?” “You will always have to put health above others”. “Maybe you should consider a different degree”. These statements infuriated me as I am just as capable of becoming an qualified nurse, as the student who sits next to me with a functioning pancreas.

This label of “diabetic” doesn’t make you any less able to achieve your goals and dreams. This just means you fight harder than the rest to achieve them and you don’t give up easily.

I have always wanted to work in the medical field and it is my dream to become a midwife. And no one nor their ignorant comments will change my mind. Nor will it hinder me on my journey in becoming a midwife.

Never let anyone tell your that you can’t achieve your dreams because of your disease. Go out and prove them wrong!



 

Diabetes: A Disease That Has Become My Life

Diabetes: A Disease That Has Become My Life

Diabetes: A Disease That Has Become My Life

By: Megan Mckay


Diabetes.

A disease consuming me,
Taking every inch of me,
Destroying any control I had left.

A disease that has become my life,
Making my body ache,
Craving perfection that will never come.

Not eating when you’re hungry,
Eating when the disease tells you to,
Too much insulin,
Not enough food,
A cascade of fatality sets in place.

Do you know what a low feels like?
Where your mind loses control,
Sweating,
Shaking,
Barely surviving as you race to get help,
Consuming anything that’s in sight,
Your only goal,
To save your life.

But,
You eat too much,
It happens more times than you’d believe,
The taste of Ketones in your mouth,
A body getting tired,
Eyes aching,
Mind fogging,
Insulin,
Your body craves it,
So you do as it demands,
You take it,
And oh my,
You just hope it’s enough
(Or maybe you hope it’s not too much),
And they wonder why we don’t have better control.

A constant battle,
From the moment you open your eyes,
Your first concern?
Blood sugar,
Is it too low or too high?
Can I eat breakfast today?
Can I even make it out of bed?
When will it end.

Not many get it,
But I do,
We do,
The battle within your own body,
A fight against yourself to stay alive,
I only hope one day the battle will stop,
The cure will come and the worries will fade,
One day,
I hope you wake up in the morning and do whatever the hell you want do.

~MM


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What It's Really Like To Have An Invisible Illness

What It’s REALLY Like To Have An Invisible Illness


It never occurred to me that one day I would wake up sick and never get better.

But here I am.

I have a chronic illness known as type 1 diabetes, that significantly impairs normal activities of daily living. An invisible illness that shows no outward signs, and to the rest of the world – I don’t look sick.

My invisible illness can easily be hidden, as I look healthy like everyone else. A smile can easily disguise any pain or distress that I’ve experienced that day. My clothing can hide the medical devices I need to stay alive.

I never let my invisible illness stand in my way. I’ve adapted and I know how to care for myself. I manage the best I can. Most of the time I just feel like I’m on autopilot as if I’m in “control”. Nobody can tell what I deal with behind closed doors.

It’s when days boil over, I look pale and disorientated, and reaching for sugar nearby. That’s when someone asks “are you alright”? That’s when I say “yes, I’m okay – I’m fixing my blood sugar, it’s low“.

“I hope you get better soon” –

I hear the sound of deep concern and empathy in their voice – I do. I’m sure I would say the exact same thing if I were them. However, as days here and there are better than others. I don’t get better.

Photo Credit: Ashlyn Mills

“Have you tried [insert herbal remedy or diet]?” –

As much as I appreciate others desire to help, there is unfortunately NO magic potion. In fact, I have had to adjust and make huge lifestyle changes. But no amount of healthy eating, exercise, or herbal remedy will ever eliminate the need for insulin – or cure my diabetes.

“Isn’t it caused by [insert myth]?” –

No, it’s not caused by something that I did. It’s not caused by sugar, lack of exercise, or from being overweight. It’s upsetting feeling blamed for having an illness that I couldn’t have prevented. Diabetes, and so many other invisible illnesses are placed into a isolated bubble of “what we could have done differently” to avoid this. When it could literally happen to anyone.

“My aunt has that and she’s doing just fine” –

I’m happy for anyone who is doing well managing. But reality is – every chronic illness is different for everyone. With type 1 diabetes especially, it often gets confused with type 2 diabetes and its treatment. It’s confusing and irrelevant to talk about how one person with an illness is doing compared to another. With any invisible illness, we all have different body chemistry and hormones. And with diabetes – different sensitivities to insulin.

 

“Well you’re lucky, it could be a lot worse” –

This is when the guilt kicks in. Yes I’m lucky I’m alive, but everyday is still a life threatening battle. Where no two days are the same. But no matter the good or bad days that I have, I just have to keep going. Have faith, and hope for a cure in the future. Until then, just make everyday count and live beyond this illness.

I’m trying –

It may take more for me to complete the same tasks others do, but I do it anyways. I may not have it all together, but I never give up. Some days I don’t know how I’m going to get through, but I always persevere. I have an invisible illness, and even though my symptoms may not be visible, it’s still there.


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My Dad, My Hero

My Dad, My Hero

Jaime McCurry

Blog: type1derful

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to recognize my diabetic hero, my dad.

Growing up, all diabetes was to me was the fact that our house was always stocked with Diet Coke and hearing my mom always check with my dad to make sure he had “his stuff.” I never really knew what that meant but I knew my dad had diabetes and one time when I was in intermediate school we even did a walk to raise money for the American Diabetes Association.

I also remember reaching a point in my life where I started getting worried about what having diabetes meant and I even asked my dad if I would ever have diabetes. Being supportive, loving, and always protective dad he is, he assured me I had nothing to worry about.

Fast forward to February of my sophomore year of high school.

We were coming up on the end of a week long February vacation and I was scrambling to finish a project I had barely started. Over the past couple of weeks, I had started to become very thirsty. I was finishing off gallons of milk on my own and drinking two gatorades before my recreation basketball game even started.

I was going to the bathroom…all the time. But to me, I thought this was normal, I mean I was drinking so much so it only made sense I spent the rest of my time peeing it all out right? Then I started waking up in the morning feeling like I just chewed juicy fruit which was bizarre.

I shook it off and thought I probably forgot to brush my teeth the night before. It wasn’t until my vision started getting really blurry that I brought it up to my mom and she put all the pieces together. She had been dating my dad when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, so all the symptoms I was having reminded her of what he had gone through.

She told me to have him check my blood sugar when I got home but the stubborn teenager I was shook it off and figured she was exaggerating. Three days went by and I started feeling worse so I finally approached my dad and had him check my blood sugar. The reading was over 500. I looked at him and said, “Is that normal?” And I will never forget the look on his face as he told me it wasn’t.

As I’m sure you can guess in the next 48 hours my official diagnosis followed and my new life with diabetes began.

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t know much about diabetes because my dad never really talked about what it was like. He kept his life with diabetes very private and most people outside of our family didn’t even know he had it.

Everything he did was “normal” in my eyes growing up and diabetes was really just a word. When I was diagnosed, my dad was with me every single step of the way. When I was too afraid to give myself injections, my dad was there (even though I was 16 years old).

He’d drive to the house I was babysitting at, to my basketball practice, or a friend’s house I was sleeping over just to help me give myself my insulin. For the first two weeks, he made every single meal for me and for the first couple months helped me count the carbs for every single thing I ate.

He was there for me for my first real meltdown and “why me??” moment following my diagnosis and sat there and let me cry and be mad about it because he understood.

Every single day my dad shows me how to not only be an extraordinary person but how to live beyond my diagnosis.

He’s run a half marathon raising thousands of dollars for diabetes research in the process, he’s started a support group in our town for families affected by Type 1, become a mentor for newly diagnosed families, and volunteered with JDRF on numerous occasions.

He encourages me to do anything I want and supports me following all of my crazy dreams. Although our choice in managing our disease is different, the best part is he realizes that my diabetes is different than his.

Many people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes don’t even know anyone else that has it for months or even years following their initial diagnosis date. I feel so privileged to have my dad there for me through every single high and low and as a role model to never let diabetes get in the way.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there thriving with diabetes, raising strong diabetic warriors, and loving their diabetic partners/other family members and friends. I think I speak for all of us when I say we love you and we wouldn’t and couldn’t do it without you.



10 Gifs That Nail What's Like To Have Diabetes

10 Gifs That Nail What It’s Like To Have Diabetes

10 Gifs That Nail What It’s Like To Have Diabetes

1.  Always being prepared.

I always carry along my snacks, juice boxes, glucose tabs, glucose meter, test strips, lancets, and sometimes if I have room — the most random things.

You just never know.

 

2. Serious math skills.

Doing math in my head has become second nature. I developed a knack for the simple diabetes arithmetic, thanks to the necessary carb counting and insulin mathematics.

I’m still not a fan of math though.

 

3. The expense.


Here’s to my insulin, insulin pump, test strips, lancets, CGM, sensor, doctor copays…

The cost to stay alive with diabetes isn’t cheap whatsoever.

 

4. The waiting game.

Having to stop what I’m doing at any given moment to treat a low or high blood sugar can be inconvenient at times. Diabetes forever interrupts the simplest daily tasks, and it always seems to be at the worst possible time.

Then it’s just the waiting game to get blood sugars back on track…

 

5. The cranky highs.

When my blood sugar is high, I feel pretty lousy and awfully cranky. Time to drink lots of fluids, check for ketones, and take it easy.

You might also want to keep a safe distance.

 

6. The tired lows.

When I’m low it’s hard to fight off the urge to take a nap.

I’m sleepy, sweaty, disorientated, and need sugar FAST!

 

7. The looks and stares.

When I bring out the insulin syringes or a family member asks if I’m “high” in public.

I’m sorry but I’m just keeping myself alive over here.

 

8. Seeing the Endocrinologist.

Nothing gives me more anxiety than trying to jot down and remember blood sugars for the past 3 months.
Then remembering what I ate 2 weeks ago at 3pm on a Tuesday.

No big deal.

 

9. The judgement.

Having a chronic illness, comes with a lot of stigma and misconceptions. But hearing that I caused it by eating too much sugar is the worst one.

And no, diabetes is not caused by eating sugar.

 

10. Just being awesome.

Not many people can say they work in place of a failed organ. It’s not easy but you have to give credit where credit is due.

I have diabetes, but diabetes doesn’t have me.

Source: GIPHY


10 gifs that nail what's like to have diabetes


 

Sugar Medical Diabetes Bag Review | The Diabetic Journey

Sugar Medical Diabetes Bag Review

I had the opportunity to try out Sugar Medical’s Avalon diabetes bag. I received a complimentary bag for a review and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

I’ve been recently looking around for products to help manage my diabetes and came across this amazing company. Sugar Medical was launched in 2009 by a family affected by diabetes. Their mission is to create fashionable, yet functional bags for people with diabetes. What I like the most about Sugar Medical is that they aim to customize bags that suit specific needs and lifestyles. With my lifestyle, being organized and comfortable is what I desire the most.

Avalon

The Avalon diabetes bag is designed to use with the Omnipod insulin pump system. I use the Omnipod PDM, so this bag definitely caught my eye. The bag is the perfect size and has a fun, appealing design. The bag tightly secures the PDM in place, only without any gel skin. I normally don’t use the gel skin protector, so that wasn’t a problem.

The mesh pocket area is able to contain an extra pod, lancets, or other essentials. My favorite aspect of the bag is the elastic loops where I can place my insulin vial, batteries, lancing device, and test strips. I’m also happy that there is a front pocket area (which I feel is important) so that I’m able to place my medical ID, drivers license, and phone.

I’m very pleased with the Avalon diabetes bag for its style and functionality. I plan to continue to use their products in the future.

Raising a teen with type 1 diabetes

Raising a Teen With Type 1 Diabetes

Raising a Teen With Type 1 Diabetes

Raising Ezra, Our T1D

By: Christie Meyers

Who knew that day at the pediatrician, we would be admitted to the hospital a few hours later.

My little boy, 5 years old, bravely getting insulin injections and checking blood sugars fearlessly. He said to his Endo, “okay I eat, my mom gives me a shot and I check my blood sugars. Can I go home now? My sisters miss me”. I was amazed as his ability to accept this new way of life. I thought “we’ve got this!”.

That continued for quite some time. Ezra, my “z man” as we call him, took diabetes head on. He began using an insulin pump at age 6. This allowed for more freedom as he went to play dates and played sports. I could administer a bolus by his meter and he wasn’t interrupted.

We both were feeling so confident; so optimistic.

I read about complications and about kids and adults with Type 1 diabetes refusing to care for themselves. I thought “thank God he is responsible. We’ll never have that problem”.


Now we’re here.

Age 12. Puberty. Entering the teen years. And it’s been a rough two years. He eats and doesn’t bolus. He lies about blood sugars. He doesn’t want to carry his meter when he goes outside. Ezra is tired of having diabetes.

He’s embarrassed of always having supplies with him. He’s overwhelmed by the process and never ending responsibility. And I now think, who can blame him? I’m his mother. I don’t have diabetes. And I hate it. The worrying. The midnight checks. The extra prep that goes into everyday. Counting every carb he eats. Measuring food. Packing supplies.

Watching him go through something that I can’t take away from him. I tell him to be positive. That it’s not a choice he has to neglect his health. But ultimately it is his choice. He’s growing up. I can’t be everywhere and I can’t make all his choices.

I believe in him.

I believe he’s going to be okay. He’s going to find a way to find his focus and to be successful mentally, physically and emotionally. What I see is diabetes affects so much more than the physical. And I’m so proud of my son for being who he is and being able to talk to me about how he feels.

It’s been almost 7 years since our lives completely changed. My Zman is my hero. He’s my little lion. Fearless and brave. And diabetes will not beat him down. He’s going to conquer before it has the chance.



Having a Brother With Type 1 Diabetes Means Being Patient

Having a Brother With Type 1 Diabetes Means Being Patient

Patient.

By: Meredeth Aponte

It is what I have to be even though I am not actually the patient.

That’d be my big brother, Daniel. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes more than 3 years ago, so he’s usually the patient. But since we’re brothers, we’re a team and that means I have to be patient. But I’m still just 4 years old and that can be tough.

Every time we sit down for a meal or grab a snack, I have to wait for Daniel to test his sugar, count his carbs, and dose. I have to wait in the doctor’s office every 3 months while Daniel gets his A1C checked and my mom and dad talk with the endocrinologist about how things are going.

Sometimes when we’re out shopping or at the zoo or an amusement park, I have to stop and wait for Daniel to have a fruit leather and let his blood sugar come back up. Sometimes I get even more frustrated because he gets to have a fruit leather and I don’t.

It can be hard to be patient, but at the same time, I am learning a lot about compassion and how to be loving and supportive.

When Daniel is doing a set change, I try to hold his hand. When he’s afraid that changing his sensor will hurt, I bring him his Lenny buddy to hold and comfort him. I’ve even pricked my finger to test my blood sugar just because I wanted to see what it was like and be brave like my big brother.

My mom and dad worry sometimes if I ask for extra glasses of water or if I wet the bed because that may mean I’m becoming a Type 1 kid, too, but for now, Daniel is still the only patient. And it’s up to our whole family to take care of one another and be patient.

We are a team. We pray together and work together. We pray for a cure. We work for a cure. That is the hardest thing to be patient for.


The "D" World - Type 1 Diabetes

The “D” World

The “D” World

By: Ashlea Mello

When my son Landen was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I had a predisposed idea of what type of people were affected by diabetes and why they were diagnosed. I mean if you look around in America, everything we read is in regards to Type 2 diabetes. Along with ways to help prevent which include dieting and exercising.

Type 1 is the darkest corner of diabetes and when it becomes your life you become a passenger or a spectator in your own life; controlled by the darkness and fear that is Type 1 diabetes. And when it takes your child it is consuming and crippling.

Your whole life begins to revolve around caring for that child. Every waking moment with Type 1 Diabetes is consumed with my need to control, to manage, and to not feel what this diagnosis has done to my perception of myself in the walk of motherhood.

I went 10 years without so much as an emergency ER visit. Both of my children totaled maybe 5 antibiotics together in their lifetime and one day we woke up to a new reality. The reality that Landen’s body waged war on itself and he was no longer healthy.

He now had to inject into his body a man made insulin to stay alive because his body could no longer do its job to keep him alive. No one understands this loneliness like fellow D Moms.

They can look at this photo and see in their own life the depth of what I see and feel in this photo.

When I had this made it was to commemorate the closing on our new home. But Sarah happened to capture so much more. She captured how I have felt this entire year. I know I’m not alone in this fight against this disease, but the fight is isolating.

It consumes you and makes you question your capabilities, but everyday you prove to yourself again that you are capable. The fight is ever going, even when you close your eyes it doesn’t stop. Diabetes becomes more aggressive at night. While your guard is down it lurks in the shadows threatening the thing you hold most dear.

This photo represents so much to me. Calmness, loneliness, fear, separation, darkness… but there is light. Somedays I feel like all I’m doing is chasing the light. I feel I see it only to be drained from trying to obtain it. It slips my grasp and I am left exhausted and defeated.

Somedays I am there looking out the window of my life feeling the warmth of the light. Only to not fully be able to obtain it because we are trapped by the “D” world.


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I Have Diabetes –

“I Have Diabetes”

By: Tiffany Slabbert

“I Have Diabetes”–

A phrase said by a number of people at any point in the day. It is a phrase that can limit you or it can motivate you – the choice is up to you.

In the beginning when I was first diagnosed –

I used to think it was some sort of punishment to be labeled as “the kid who is sick” and all the stigma attached to being diabetic. It was a combination of being slightly teased about being diabetic as well as the half-hearted: “I would never be able to eat sugar” or “Can you eat that?” responses. Or the constant blood glucose readings and injections and having to excuse myself from class or exams to eat due to low blood sugar. All of this somehow caused me to become ashamed of my diabetes.


why managing diabetes is a full-time job


It wasn’t my fault and it was definitely not a punishment –

Yet I felt as though saying that simple phrase “I have diabetes” would cause my world to shatter and fall apart. I felt judged, like somehow I did eat too much sugar or not exercise enough and that’s why I became a diabetic. When deep down I know there’s nothing I did or could have done to prevent this. It’s a disease that can happen to anyone.



It took me a long time to get over this mindset I had created –

It was a battle to change the way I viewed myself, I am not a broken human, but instead I am completely 100% me. Now wherever or whenever I say that phrase, I own it. I am proud to be a survivor and a type 1 warrior!

Be proud of how far you have come, and never give up. You are greater than your highs and lows.