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mothers of type 1 diabetics

To the Mothers of Type 1 Diabetics –

To the Mothers of Type 1 Diabetics –

It’s often that we hear how heroic people with Type 1 Diabetes are, but it’s not very often that we give thanks to the ones behind the scenes that help us get to where we are today—which include the t1d mothers and fathers.

“This disease takes a team of people to manage it, and when it all seems to be falling apart around us, it’s thanks to you for holding us together.”

We couldn’t do it without the people who love and support us.

So this is for all the mothers of type 1 diabetics for Mother’s Day:

Thank you-

To all the mothers who’s hearts were shattered into pieces the day you heard the news of diagnosis but told us everything was going to be okay. The mothers who have found and continue to find the strength every day to fight this disease along with us—especially on the days we feel weak. The ones who get up throughout the night and instinctively check our blood sugars to make sure we make it through to the morning.

Mothers who advocate for us and give all of us a voice in this world. The mothers who get up every day exhausted and take on whatever the day brings, just hoping that our day is a little better than the last. The ones who encourage us to reach for the stars and never let diabetes stand in our way.

Mothers that are always checking up on us and letting us know that you care. The mothers who have to be prepared at all times on how to handle life threatening situations if and when they occur. The one’s who try to stay as calm as possible during difficult moments when deep down you’re breaking.

Mothers who have to fight tooth and nail for authorizations and approvals through insurances for—prescriptions, doctor visits, medical devices, and insulin. The ones who have to fight back tears when administering insulin, knowing that it’s the only thing keeping us alive. The mothers who always have to plan everything ahead of time. Whether it be our meals, snacks, in case of emergency essentials, making sure we have our insulin and at what time, sensor changes, and the list goes on.

Mothers who carry guilt from not knowing if you’re doing a good job – (but believe me you’re doing amazing)The mothers who are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Day in and day out, 24/7, 365 days a year. Whether you’re new to this disease or you’ve been helping manage a type 1 diabetic for many years; what you all have in common is that you are all heroes. You are trying with everything you have at a disease that ultimately cannot be controlled.

You were unexpectedly handed a difficult challenge because you are STRONG enough to endure it. And you rise to the occasion every day without hesitation. There’s really nothing more you can ask for.

Thank you to all the mothers of type 1 diabetics from the bottom of my heart! You are all appreciated more than you know. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

 

Sincerely,
A Type 1 Diabetic


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Would You Kill Me For a Tax Cut?

Would You Kill Me For a Tax Cut?

By: Ashlyn Mills

Blog: A Trail Of Test Strips

Before I get into the meat of this issue, I want you to imagine something…

You are 19 years old and a sophomore in college with your whole life ahead of you. Suddenly, you begin feeling ill. You are thirsty all of the time, you feel lethargic and can barely make it through 5 hours of classes without a nap in your car, something is not right and you know it. You finally go to the doctor after you’ve lost 10 pounds and the doctor tells you that you have Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).

The doctor tells you that T1D is an autoimmune condition that has no cure and teaches you what you must do to keep yourself alive. After learning about carb counting, insulin injections, blood sugar testing, and life threatening high and low blood sugar, you’re sent to the pharmacy to pick up your life saving tools.

For the next 3 months supply, you are given 900 blood glucose test strips, 900 lancets, a blood glucose meter, 6 insulin pens, 50 ketone test strips, and 540 needles to use for insulin injections. All of these supplies would have been upwards of $5,000 without good insurance coverage and even with insurance, your first trip to the pharmacy cost you $400.

Now that I’ve painted a picture for you, let me put a face to this story. This is me, Ashlyn, and this is what a pre-existing condition looks like. The story above is my story. 

As you probably know, yesterday the House of Representatives made the decision to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care. Obama Care has been a major topic of debate for Americans over recent years. With the ACA, many American’s saw their insurance premiums skyrocket, which made the Affordable Care Act not so affordable.

With the ACA did come some positives such as protection for those with pre-existing conditions and the ability for an adult under the age of 27 to stay on their parents’ health insurance. At the beginning of his campaign, President Trump began pushing the issue of the ACA and saying that should he be elected, it would be one of the first things on his agenda. President Trump also insured that with this repeal, he would protect those with pre-existing conditions. Yesterday, however, the House voted against protecting those with pre-existing conditions.

If you aren’t someone with a pre-existing condition or don’t have a child with one, you probably don’t understand how serious this is. Let me tell you what this could do to people like me.
Insurance companies will be able to decide if they want to cover me or not. I will have to search high and low for an insurance company who will cover me and when I finally find one, they will charge me 3x what they charge the average patient because they know I will be a guaranteed expense.

I will then be paying $3000+ per month just for insurance premiums, which will make many of my daily meds and technologies unaffordable. I may have to limit how many test strips I can afford, which will then limit how many times per day I can test my blood sugar. The less I am able to test my blood sugar, the greater my risk for life threatening high and low blood sugars and long-term complications due to poorly managed diabetes. Meanwhile, some celebrate because they got a tax cut. But those who celebrate don’t know that their tax cut could kill me or the other millions of American’s like me living with a pre-existing condition.

Would YOU kill ME for a tax-cut?

 It all boils down to this, republican or democrat, it is important for you to understand how much this decision could impact me if the senate votes yes in the next few weeks. PLEASE, do your research and contact your senator to let them know that this is NOT okay. I am actually registered republican, but that does not mean I have to stand for this and neither do you. While I believe some MAJOR changes need to be made with our current healthcare system (the ACA) in the US, I do not believe that changes need to be made at the expense of people who have no control of the cards they were dealt. Life with diseases like T1D is hard enough as it is, please don’t make it any harder on us.

TAX CUT

Please contact your senator, my life depends on it.

-Ashlyn 

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Studying Abroad With Diabetes

Studying Abroad With Diabetes

By: Maria Sweezy

(Sugarfree & Sexy Blog)

This past January, I packed my bags full of my most essential articles of clothing (not enough socks as I later realized), a travel journal, and over three months worth of diabetes supplies and boarded a plane for Florence, Italy.

I was surrounded by exclamations that I was about to experience “the opportunity of a lifetime” and that my “life will be forever changed.” Studying abroad is a big deal. It is an even bigger deal for someone with diabetes. I spent months leading up to my trip on the phone with insurance people, both my current and past doctors, my mom, and my pharmacy. I felt like I left America in a bold attempt at looking like I had my shit together, deep down being fully aware that I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I have fallen in love with Florence, Italy…as one does. I have never felt so at home in a place in my entire life. My heart sings with joy every time I can sit down in Caffe Notte with a cappuccino and write for this blog, or skip across Ponte Vecchio on my way to class. I sometimes feel as if I could stay here forever. As wonderful as this time has been, diabetes has also been her usual self. Following me around everywhere I go.

Being abroad, diabetes has left me feeling impossibly alone in ways that I honestly wasn’t prepared for.

Although in my day to day life back home in America I am usually the only person I encounter that has diabetes, I have carefully and meticulously built up a safety net around me. I have a support system. I would spend evenings with a boyfriend who knew a great deal about diabetes from witnessing it first hand and also independent research (bless his heart).

I would be at work with coworkers who I disclosed small bits of my disease with, the important details as they would experience moments where I had to step away to treat a low. I would talk about diabetes amongst my close friends in hopes to make it more present in their reality as it is so perpetual in my own life.

I also keep in touch with dear camp friends who I have grown up with, my “diabesties.” Although we are spread out across the country and world right now, we have been able to find a save haven in a group chat where we can disclose details of our personal lives (sex, drugs, gossip, and school life) and countless diabetes struggles. Our secrets, heartaches, and stresses bounce around freely among unbelievably strong, diverse women that truly get it.

Yet still, 7,025 miles away from anything familiar, I do not have that refined support system physically available to me.

As they tell you, this is a major part of studying abroad.

I was prepared for myself to be thrown into a new environment, surrounded by beautiful new things, a different culture, and foreign language. I was not prepared for the harsh and sudden reality that struck me once I realized that glucose tablets can not be bought at the pharmacy or supermarket.

Or the fact that I could pass out on one of these little cobblestone streets due to low blood sugar and I’m not even sure how long it would take the ambulance to get to me, let alone if they understand English. Of course I am not the only person in Florence, Italy with diabetes. It just has felt like that at times.

I have a constant internal dialogue here that is ferocious and frustrating at times. All of my friends I am surrounded by are deep in the sense that we have all thrown ourselves into the unknown together, but also fresh in the sense that it has only been a few months. The type of understanding of diabetes that allows someone without diabetes to have a meaningful conversation comes after months of exposure.

It has been difficult to not have many people to candidly vent to because as much as they are supportive of me because they are my friends, they do not understand my words in a wholesome way. They hear me proclaiming “I am low” or “my blood sugar is high” but they certainly do not know what these words mean on a technical level. They are understanding of the occasional need to stop for gelato due to low blood sugar and embrace these moments with reassuring smiles as their indulgence is also benefitting my health.

I am grateful for moments like this. With time, I have also befriended a local barista who has diabetes and even though our interactions are brief across our language barrier, it is heartwarming to know she exists in moments when I feel isolated within this disease. She also makes the best cappuccinos.

This journey here across my travels, from Italy, to Hungary, to the Netherlands, to Greece, has made me realize more than ever that as a person with diabetes you must be steadfast and tenacious in ways that many people will never understand. You can’t afford forgetful days. You must always be on top of your game, prepared for the worst case scenario.

Diabetes, and the anxiety that can accompany it, will be in your mind because it is inside of you. I have been working on befriending it as best as I can. Learning about it, everyday is different after all, and learning about myself as I go along. I am recognizing at what point my patience breaks, the moments where I feel fearful, and the moments where I feel confident.

I do not think you can love diabetes, it is a monster at times that robs you of time and energy and has taken the life of a friend of mine. I do believe however that you can certainly love your ability to try to control it. A knight may not love the battle, but perhaps he loves knowing his armor will protect him and the feelings of victory that come from championing through the fight.

All my Love,

Maria


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One Drop

One Drop | Diabetes Management

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the diabetes management platform called the One Drop. This diabetes management subscription model has paved the way for easier, more affordable and reliable access to many diabetes needs.

I received a complimentary Chrome kit and had the opportunity of trying it out for a few weeks before giving a review.

This platform offers:

Unlimited test strips and 24/7 in-app Certified Diabetes Educator support – all for $40 a month.

The One Drop is not covered by insurance. This is a direct-to-consumer service. You will pay roughly around the same that you currently pay with insurance by copayment. But now you don’t have to deal with the hassle of getting test strips approved.

The One Drop offers a free award winning application to manage your diabetes. You can Download One Drop for iOS and Android, You can track all of your information in one place: glucose, meds, food, activity.

What I Like About The One Drop Management System:

  1. The glucose meter is slick, shiny, and easy to store.
  2. The app is easy to use and gives me insight on how I’m managing throughout the day
  3. Having the option of unlimited test strips gives me flexibility. I no longer to worry about running low on test strips.
  4. I have online support for any questions I may have using the product and how to better process the information that I receive.

The customer management team has been very helpful in assisting me on setting up my account on the app and syncing my bluetooth meter. Once they were both paired, it was easy to keep track of all my readings directly on my phone.

 

The glucose meter is very accurate and glucose reading corresponds to the ones that I receive on my CGM and compare to other glucose meters that I currently have. I would highly recommend this product for anyone needing a positive change at a lower cost.

To get started on the One Drop Premium Plan. (Available in USA, EU, and UK)

It's Like I Fell Into a Deep Well

It’s Like I Fell Into a Deep Well –

It’s Like I Fell Into a Deep Well –

By: Krystal Konzal

For the first time I felt completely consumed by diabetes. It’s always been a part of me and to onlookers I have it under control. It must not be so hard, they say. She looks fine. It’s so hard I don’t even know how to tell you.

It’s like I fell into a deep well.

The water creeps up past my neck. Will I make it through this day alive? How do I get rid of these feelings? I’m strong and independent. Why do I feel so weak and longing for someone to hear me. Surrounded in darkness and pain, I feel so alone.


This is when I see a rope. I do all I can to stand on my tippy toes. Reach. A little higher. There, got it. I call this rope faith. God sent it down to remind me He is there, even if it feels I’m walking through hell, trapped in a well.

How will I ever climb out?

Muster all you can to find the beauty in life, do not be consumed by my circumstance, I say to myself. I need to climb out of this well, some knots in this rope will make it possible. I tie the first knot, that was my choice.

My husband helps me tie the next. He loves me, accepts me and is so patient with me. My angel mother, she ties the next. She listens and loves and knows the dread, she carried me through it for years. My father he ties one, because that’s what he does. My family and friends, they don’t know what I do daily to stay alive, but I know they love me. So, they tied one. My nieces and nephews look curiously at me and ask the greatest questions. They make me feel noticed. They tie knots in that rope and allow me to tie a few more because they remind me I am strong and I must show them sometimes we have to fight no matter how hard it is.

Keep going.

I find myself inching my way out of the deep well water. Suddenly the doctors, the nurses, educators and assistants they all surround the well and cheer me on. With their knowledge and supplies they give me strength. They let me know it’s possible and that they will help. I just have to climb a little higher.

Don’t let go.

Finally I see light and I’m above ground. All along life was beautiful, my circumstance, not so much. Surround yourself with support. Find it and fight for it. Climb and tie a knot whenever you can. Connect with others who can relate and they may keep you away from the well.
You may will fall in again, but this time the rope is there and the knots are formed. You must not forget, you know how to climb and life is beautiful.


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What Diabetes Really Is: (Spoiler) It's Not a Unicorn Frappuccino

What Diabetes Really Is: (Spoiler) It’s Not a Unicorn Frappuccino

What Diabetes Really Is: (Spoiler) It’s Not a Unicorn Frappuccino

Diabetes…

How do I describe diabetes?

Or what is it like to live with it?

When you look on the internet it’s defined as mostly cookies, cake, BigMac’s, and a Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks. A Unicorn Frappuccino is loaded with sugar, but it WILL NOT cause the onset of Type 1 Diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes– where the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. And Type 2 Diabetes– where the body doesn’t use insulin properly and can sometimes be controlled with diet and exercise. But genetics can also play into Type 2, where it had nothing to do with one’s lifestyle. But I digress…

It’s funny right?

Sometimes I question whether I’m too sensitive about it. Whether it’s not that big of a deal. Right?! You have to laugh to get through life.

I get it. The memes are humorous to those who don’t know anything about it. Ignorance is bliss. But is the disease humorous? Is it really? I mean I wish I could laugh it off.

But I face this monster everyday. And it is a monster. It’s not funny. It’s not a joke.

When I was diagnosed

My mom didn’t know the signs of diabetes. No one in my family had diabetes. I had symptoms similar to the flu: fatigue, thirst, weight loss. Little did I know that my pancreas stopped producing insulin. I was slowly dying and by the grace of god I managed to get diagnosed just in time. I now needed insulin injected into my body for the rest of my life in order to sustain life. It’s easily misdiagnosed and many die because so many people including doctors are misinformed about this disease.

I was 12 years old! No, nothing I ate caused this. My mom cried and blamed herself thinking she caused this. The stigma is that diabetes is self induced. That if you live a healthy, active lifestyle you’ll never get diabetes. THAT’S FALSE. I was diagnosed at 12 with type 1 diabetes and my life changed forever. It wasn’t funny then and it’s not funny now.

I grew up hiding my diabetes.

Kids at school would make fun of me. I didn’t want to be different. “Oh did you get diabetes from eating too much sugar?” “I heard if you eat a balanced diet you can cure it.” I’ve pretty much heard everything you can think of. People have laughed in my face about my own disease. But nobody knows what happens behind closed doors. They think it’s a “food” disease. Well that insulin I need to stay alive, also can potentially kill me. It’s a 24/hr job to stay alive.

Unless you personally experience diabetes and it’s many affects you just won’t get it. I understand that. There’s been many times where I’ve gone unconscious from a low blood sugar, I’ve had a seizure, I’ve been hunched over in pain from DKA (where my body wasn’t receiving enough insulin). I would do anything to cure this disease. To get rid of this monster. To not have this disease inflicted on anyone, not have the fear of losing limbs or damaging organs, and not have the fear of suddenly dying.

This all seems harsh and dramatic.

But unfortunately it is.

Yes, life is tough. But so is diabetes.

I don’t let this disease define me.

But I sure won’t let others define my disease as something it’s not.


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Finding My Purpose By Educating and Helping Those Affected By Type 1 Diabetes

Finding My Purpose By Educating and Helping Those Affected By Type 1 Diabetes

By: Ali Dugger

I have taken over 20,500 insulin injections over my life so far. That’s a lot of syringes. I’ve pricked my fingers about 30,000 times. It’s what we as Type I Diabetics must do to check our blood sugar. Now I only need to prick my fingers twice a day. I wear something called a continuous glucose monitor. My CGM is usually worn on my arm. I’ve pretty much decided it officially makes me half cylon.

The day I was diagnosed was July 10 of 2003, ten days after my 18th birthday.

During that summer, after my high school graduation, my days were filled with lifeguarding, zipping around town in my T-top, white, 1998 Camaro, wakeboarding on Lake Travis wiping out every other turn, and a steady diet of pizza.

I had not been feeling well on that particular day. My mother said, as she always did when one of us was feeling ill, “Test your blood sugar.”

She had been a nurse for eight years already and had been caring for my TID younger brother for about ten. With eyes rolling, I dragged my feet downstairs to do the obligatory finger stick to humor her. Earlier I had devoured some pepperoni pizza, a slice or two of chocolate cake (Carinos’ chocolate cake which is the BEST in the world), and had washed it all down with half a bag of sour patch kids.

Usually I would fake it and call out, “It’s FIIINE, mom, 98!” but this time I sensed I should follow her advice. The meter counted down the five seconds and read, 480. I guffawed to myself thinking I must have had sugar on my finger from my candy craze earlier. So, I tested again. It read 485. I stumbled into the living room and collapsed on the floor letting out a wail. My mom flew down the stairs. The look in her eyes was enough to register she already knew the answer to why I had sounded such an alarm.

Within moments my brothers and father were surrounding me. We all wept. It wasn’t just a few minutes after that the doorbell rang. It was my first date with a boy I had met on the fourth of July. I opened the door and dramatically sobbed, “I have diabeteeeeees.” Before he knew it he was loaded up into our family car, all six of us packed in tightly, and carted off to the hospital.

Type 1 Diabetes is also referred to as Juvenile Diabetes. Only 5% of diabetics are TID. The disease is caused not by diet and exercise rather the immune system turning on the body and killing off the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Most people are diagnosed under the age of twelve. My brother had even joked that since I was no longer a child, being 18, I was in the clear of ever being diagnosed. To this day I am a firm believer in knocking on wood.

When we discovered my brother had TID I was terrified. He had slowly been wasting away (TID prevents your body from storing fat if untreated) for over a year. My parents had been seeking answers everywhere from the city’s best pediatricians to homeopathic doctors. It wasn’t until my father took him to the ER refusing to leave that they did something. His son was obviously at death’s door.

My brother was only six. Being three years older than him, my mom trusted me to stay home alone with the neighbor boy (I hadn’t gone boy crazy yet so she had no idea what was in store for her down the road). She raced off after them to the hospital. It wasn’t too much later in the day she called home and told me the news, “Your brother has diabetes.” I hung up, looked at the boy, leaned my head on his shoulder with tears in my eyes and said, “My brother has rabies!”

As the years passed diabetes became a part of all of our daily lives.

From time to time I would overhear my mother’s fears about his future and all of the complications TID can cause. It was terrifying and I believed the universe had spared me because lord knows I loved flip flops and couldn’t imagine having to wear tennis shoes all of the time (feet are a big issue with TID due to how it prevents wounds from healing). One of my first thoughts when I was diagnosed was how screwed I would be because I ran around outside like a wild banshee all day.

Even though my life had changed dramatically, I still moved into my university dorm that fall. I also still lived life as if nothing had changed. Halle Barry is a TID and I heard an interview where she said it took five years for her to get it down pact. So I thought, “I’ve got five years until I’ve gotta figure this thing out.” Five years passed, then ten, and even though I had a mother who begged, pleaded, and prodded me to take better care of myself, I always waved her off saying, “Mom, I’m perfectly fine!” I would test my sugar every now and then, take my shots hours after I ate, and sometimes would altogether skip my insulin. I felt and looked like a healthy person! I also ate like a superstar and was a yoga instructor (and we all know yoga cures everything in India).

My complications began to arise a few years ago.

It happened so slowly it snuck up on me. At the time, I was a middle school teacher. I attributed my exhaustion and fatigue to stress and managing a classroom of 34 students. Eventually I went to the doctor and I was told I had a leaky heart. They recommended I reduce the stress in my life and really take my TID seriously. I resigned from teaching the next day.

But, that still did not move me to get my act together completely. There was a sense of procrastination when it came to accepting my TID just like most of us do when it comes to going to the gym. Every day I would tell myself, “Oh tomorrow you’ll test your blood sugar at all of the right times and take the right amount of insulin.” It wasn’t until 2016 when the gravity of my situation hit me.

My health was suffering to the point where I couldn’t hold down a job.

My relationship of several years had deteriorated. I had a sense of dread and despair clouding my mind every day. I was confused. I really had no complaints in life! Why was I suffering on the inside so much?

Well, let me tell you. Uncontrolled TID messes with everything, even your hormones. My body was imbalanced from head to toe and it was screaming in every way possible for me to do something about it. Many mornings were spent with my head in the toilet after sleeping on the bathroom floor all night. I experienced uncontrollable bowels while out dancing with my friends (oh do I have some spectacular stories about that!). I kept my apartment at a cool 55 degrees because I felt I was about to combust half of the time. I drank gallons of water daily and looked as if you could blow me a kiss and I would fly away. Some days my vision would be so impaired I would have to pull over on the side of the road and practice squinting until I could see well enough to drive again.

My boyfriend and I eventually broke up and I moved out to LA back in with my parents. I planned on staying with them for a few months while I looked for a new job and place to live. Little did I know 2016 would be the toughest, roughest year of my life.

Every person experiences diabetes differently so I won’t go into the details of what I endured. However, I will share that I spent about a quarter of that year in the hospital, and the other three quarters holed up in my bedroom buried under my blankets. All of my complications came pouring out of me like the Hoover dam opening its floodgates. Gastroparesis, Retinopathy, Neuropathy, and then some really off the wall complications such as Dupuytren’s Contracture started filling up my medical records. I became incredibly depressed.

But soon I buckled down, turned it around, and started to change my daily habits.

Towards the end of the year I had nearly done a 180 degree turn around. To celebrate, I decided it was time to start dating again! So of course, not knowing how to really go about doing that, I signed up for Tinder. I went on a few dates here and there but there was one date in particular that would change my life forever.

I can’t even tell you his name. But I can tell you what kind of motorcycle he rode, a Triumph. It was 9:00 at night and I was feeling restless. We had briefly chatted on text and he mentioned he was going for a ride around LA to check out the skyline. Giggling, I replied, “Why don’t you come pick me up, Night Rider?” and he did. We rode around LA for about an hour. I clasped tightly to him as we raced down the 405. I realized quickly over In-and-Out this was not a crazy Irishman I could ever see myself taking seriously.

He dropped me off back home and said cheesily, “You’ve inspired me to be a better man. May I kiss you?” I promptly said, “No.” (demurely of course) referring back to my Tinder caption OLD FASHIONED. He rode off into the night and I made my way up the old rickety brick steps to our house.

It wasn’t until I was showered and in bed that I noticed my sheets were wet. “What in the world?” I thought annoyedly assuming one of the dogs had dragged some slobber coated toy under my sheets. But to my horror, it was my feet! They were leaking fluid like water faucets.

The podiatrist would tell me two weeks later (yes I waited that long to see the foot doctor. Neosporin and gauze does NOT do the trick) that I had third degree burns down to the bone, even exposing some tendons in my toes. I had burned my feet on the Triumph’s tailpipes and had not felt the heat due to my already existing neuropathy.

I didn’t walk for nearly four months. I’m a gamer so I thought, “Perfect! Now I can hit level 60!” I saw the situation as a little break from adulting for a bit. So, when the doctor gave me the okay to walk again I was feeling even more ready and refreshed to get out there, get employed, and finally move into my own place.

My first day out on the town I headed to the mall to buy my interview outfit. I had just landed a dream job opportunity at a gaming studio and couldn’t wait to impress the recruiter. It was only after about two hours that my feet began to ache. Assuming they just needed a break, I went ahead and called it a day. The next morning my feet were black and blue. Still, I wasn’t worried. However my mother, true to form, made an appointment with my podiatrist the next day.

I knew everyone very well at the doctor’s office by that point and sat in the patient’s chair giving the tech advice about how to smooth things over with his wife, “Foot rubs fix everything and you’re the master at cleaning mine!” I said as he scrubbed my feet. Within a few minutes the doctor flew through the door in a rush and was in his stool poking and prodding at my feet. There was a quietness about him that usually didn’t stiffen the air the way it did that afternoon. He smacked his lips together and said,

“Well, we need to get X-rays.”

I was planning on going on a blind date immediately after my appointment so I hobbled off as quickly as I could. Before we left I mentioned I had plans. The doctor said he preferred if I didn’t go unless the guy looked like Brad Pitt (which he didn’t so, that was a no go). It was only a few days later the doctor sat my mother and me down and mentioned something that sounded like, “Shark Hot Foot” which I found really funny. It’s actually not really that funny.

Charcot Foot is a very rare condition that affects people with diabetes.

It is an autoimmune disease which causes the bones in the feet to break when one walks on them. Doctors don’t know much about the disease except for the fact that the circulation pumping through the bones causes them to splinter and crack from within during acute episodes. Acute episodes occur when the immune system decides to go Rambo and attack the feet. Medical professionals still do not understand what triggers a “flare”. It’s during these episodes that the bones break and crumble. Healing can take months and a lot of people find themselves wheelchair bound. Most only have Charcot in one foot. I have it in both.

Now, here I am.

I’m currently in a wheelchair but hope to someday walk again with the aid of orthopedic shoes and a walker.

It did take me a few weeks to process this news. I probably (most likely definitely) still have a lot of processing to do. However, the moment I realized how life changing this condition would be I closed my eyes and thanked my lucky stars. I thanked the world for preparing me in 2016 in a way nobody or nothing could have. If it had not been for all of my trials and tribulations I don’t believe I would have had the strength to accept such life altering news. I now know that all of the pain I have endured was to prepare me for Part II of my life, which is already filled with wonder and awe of the community of people I’m discovering who live with disabilities every day.

In closing, if you were to ask me for one piece of advice after everything I have been through so far, I would say, “No matter how terrible it may seem right now, know you are being prepared to do something great.” I have never recognized my purpose as fully as I do now. And that purpose is to help, even if it is just one person, but hopefully many people, to understand TID and its complications and to see that life can still be an amazing thing to live.

If you are a TID, or you’re the loved one of a TID,

you’re courageous, you can do this, and I will always be here if you need someone to cry with, vent to, or just ask a simple question. As my favorite poet of all time would say, “Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson


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Diabetes Won't Stop Me From Living

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

By: Nickie Eckes

I have type one diabetes. I was diagnosed back in February of 1990, at 5 years old, because my body decided it wanted to wage war upon itself and destroy the beta cells in my pancreas.

I remember going to the hospital, and I remember being terrified and having no idea why all these doctors were “torturing” me. I just wanted to go home with my mom, dad, and brother. They said my blood sugar was over 1000 and I had to stay.

The weeks that followed in the hospital were not fun. I had gotten used to getting up and playing and running on stop. Now I was being told I had to live on a strict schedule, only able to eat a certain amount of food at certain times, along with a shot of insulin to ensure that my blood glucose levels were maintained.

They also informed my parents of a place called Camp Sioux, a camp for kids living with diabetes to go and have a “regular” camp experience, but also learn about diabetes. I loved going and it made me feel not alone because everyone was diabetic, and I made some lifelong friends. The type that understands me when I just need “a minute” or “a snack” and understand all those diabetic jokes that make my stomach hurt from laughter.

I’ve dealt with the highs and the lows of this disease now for over 27 years. I’ve handled people telling me if only I would take better care of myself, I wouldn’t be this sick. I did nothing wrong to get this illness, it’s an autoimmune condition. My body can’t make the hormone insulin, which is what is needed for the simple sugars you get from food to enter your cells for energy.

I have to calculate everything I do in a day, from what I eat, to how much I’m going to be moving, along with stress levels and illness (such as common cold or the flu) just to ensure that my blood glucose level stays within a good range and I don’t pass out due to a low blood sugar, or go so high that I get diabetic ketoacidosis (meaning your body is producing a thing called ketones and those can make you very sick). And what works one day may not work the same the next day.

I had the years of rebellion and not caring what my numbers were. I did the whole I’m gonna die young anyway so who cares. And then I decided, I wasn’t going to let this disease keep me down. My friend calls diabetes livebetes because he says “it won’t stop me from living!”

 

Research has made many amazing developments since then, so much now that newly diagnosed people are being told that not much in their lives has to change; they just need to know where their numbers are and how much insulin flow take for those different numbers. We can even program those numbers into a pump and have it do the dosing for us (although not completely without thought from us).

We now have faster acting insulins that instead of having to wait 30 minutes after taking them to even start eating, we now only have to wait 5 minutes. We have what is called a Continuous Glucose Monitoring system (or CGM for short) that can tell us our levels every five minutes, which helps a lot given it can predict a high or a low before they occur, and we can correct the issue before it becomes an issue.

In fact this year, with any luck, I will get to obtain the new diabetes pump, with the first ever closed loop system on it! Both my doctor (who is also diabetic) and I are rather excited for this and are not so patiently waiting. There’s still always planning and calculating everything. It helps, but it’s not a cure. All of these advancements sound amazing and are fantastic, but it’s still a heavy load to carry.

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

I will keep fighting. I am strong. I hope to one day be able to say “I used to have diabetes.” And because of all this, I remind myself while I may have diabetes, it does NOT have me.


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TheFitBlog – Strong With Diabetes Challenge

The Strong 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 Strong With Diabetes Challenge!

I’m lucky enough to have Brittany as part of my diabetes tribe and I am very excited that she wants to share this challenge with all of you. Thank you Brittany!!

The Strong With Diabetes Challenge is a free 4-week program. I have teamed up with a group of the top diabetes experts to take you through the most important things you need to know about diabetes and exercise, healthy nutrition, and how to deal with the mental and emotional aspects of diabetes. The challenge starts May 3 and it’s completely free to participate.

I have type 1 diabetes myself, and inspiring others to live a healthy and active life with diabetes is my passion, so I really hope you will join my challenge. More than 2,500 people with diabetes took part in my last challenge in January and we have one of the friendliest and most supportive communities you can imagine.

How the Challenge works

The Strong With Diabetes 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 strength 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 Strong 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:

Each week, there will also be a giveaway where you can win awesome diabetes products from sponsors like One DropMyabeticLauren’s HopeReal Good Pizza, and Beyond Type 1.

You can sign up for the challenge on TheFitBlog!

About Christel

Christel is a blogger, certified personal trainer, and diabetes advocate. She has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1997 and at an early stage decided that it wasn’t going to slow her down. Her motto is “There is Nothing You Can’t do With Diabetes”. She writes about Health, Fitness and how to be Fit With Diabetes on TheFitBlog.com. She also trains people with diabetes from across the globe, online and in person, and supports them in meeting their health and fitness goals.

I Have a New Dream

I Have a New Dream

I Have a New Dream

By: Lachy Sim

My names Lachy,
And this is the story of the day my life changed.

Ever since I was about 12 I had my mind set on being an air force fighter pilot. I was going to fight and defend my country, I was meant to fly planes. That’s as simple as my life was. That’s what I wanted to do.

Consequently, I joined the air force cadets, worked so hard in maths and physics and did every single thing I needed to purse in what I thought was to be my life. I even overworked myself last year (2016) in year 12 (final year) to get the university entrance score that I needed to get in. it was my destiny to fly jets and fight for my country.

I had applied for the job, and, extremely confidently completed the entrance test. That was my life. I was to be a fighter pilot and fight for my country.

Being my last year of high school I was under a lot of pressure to perform well and get the score I needed to fulfill my destiny. I was to be a pilot and fight for my country.

The stress in which I put myself under started to lead to weight loss, or so I thought it was the stress. But the weight kept falling off. It got to the point where I had lost over 15 kilograms (roughly 35 pounds) in a month. At work I was drinking up to 6 liters of water in 3 hours and urinating every 20 minutes.

It was at this point, 3 months after school finished I knew it wasn’t just stress. Something was up.

After consulting doctor google, and checking off every symptom it became clear I had T1D. But not me, being an 18 year old young, extremely fit and active man I was in denial.

“Not me, I walk 5kms a day”
“Fit people don’t get diabetes?”
“Nah I eat way to healthy for that to be me”
“As if, I don’t even have a family history of diabetes”
“Nah you’re born with it, how does that make sense?”

But after a family holiday mum caught on and insisted on taking me to my doctor “just for a checkup” she told me. “We will just get some blood tests to make sure you are okay”.

Sure enough, a day after going in for my “checkup” I get a call at 8am from my doctor.
“You must come in this morning. I need to discuss your blood tests”
And sure enough, my research had been confirmed.

That morning, with a HbA1c in the 20s I was diagnosed as a type one diabetic. That morning, the eleventh of January 2016, my life changed forever. That morning, I was never to join the defense force. That morning my dream was crushed.

Being told I can never achieve a dream I had worked so hard for, for so many years was initially absolutely heart breaking. I was going to be a pilot and fight for my country. That was why I was alive.

But instead of letting this drag me into the hole it most definitely had the potential to do, I lay in bed that night and thought to myself “I’m going to own this. I will be the best diabetic to come out of Geelong, or even Australia.” Since that day I have absolutely grabbed T1D by the horns and owned the fact I am a proud diabetic. I was no longer to be a pilot and fight for my country, it was that simple in my view.

I have a new dream…

I am to be an endocrinologist and help everyone in the world with type one. I am to tell my grandchildren that I once had diabetes. I am going to invent the artificial pancreas.

The hard work and dedication I put into my school was the best investment I ever made. I am off to start my journey in medicine at one of the best universities in Australia. This is just the start of an ever so exciting journey where I hope to use the drive and passion I withhold from my diagnoses and failure to fulfill what I thought was destiny, to punch diabetes right in the face, like it can sometimes feel like it does to its victims.

Another ever so important message I’ve learnt from my experience is that no one is indestructible, even a fit 18 year old. You never can tell when the crocodile of life will snap. As cliche as it is, Live every day like it’s your last.


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