Blog

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.


share a story

 

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.


share a story

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.


share a story

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!


share a story

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.


share a story

 

Gym and Lifting Weights with Diabetes

Gym and Lifting Weights With Diabetes

By: Taylor Pierce


I remember sitting at my desk in the third grade and having the constant thought of, “why am I feeling this type of way?” The constant rush to make it to the bathroom and the question that ran through my mind constantly was, am I supposed to be on this Earth to be a fish?

I remember thinking this because I wasn’t content with just a gulp of water, I wanted the entire ocean I was so thirsty. I remember at the age of eight I always felt weak, but I continued to try my best to compete in competitions with cheerleading and hauling booty on the basketball court, but something wasn’t right. I was weak, pale and exhausted.

We put aside my health and would just take it day by day, until one night after a basketball game. We went to a restaurant that served food that you would never want to pass up. I didn’t eat a single thing and trust me, I’m the type of girl who loves to eat, especially carbs. My mom and dad sat me down and began to question me. “Taylor what is wrong?” they would ask.

I didn’t know what was wrong.

Finally on December 13th I was admitted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at the age of eight.

My blood sugar hit 1,100. I wanted to die and I was angry. I remember asking myself, “How am I even alive right now?” I knew exactly why, it was because of my wonderful savior, Jesus Christ.

I remember after two weeks in the hospital, I had the mindset of how I didn’t want diabetes. I attended camp Kudzu and would mentor kids my age with diabetes. A lot of people have asked me, “How do you still act happy through all the trials of your life with all the issues that your body faces?” I simply knew I didn’t have to face this alone, and that is where it all started and I wanted to beat diabetes.

I would research diabetes and do many projects on the disease. I would find articles on the death rates and percentages of complications and it scared me. I was scared until I knew that my body was capable of big things.

I also had younger eyes watching me. My younger sister was also diagnosed with diabetes and it broke my heart. I knew I had to fight this disease, be strong, be bold and be an influence to her and others. I didn’t know how to stay healthy and keep my mind strong until I hit the gym.

I have never in my life felt so close to a cure then I do when I’m at the gym.

There were nights that I would cry because I couldn’t make it to the gym. The gym allowed me to escape. Everything went away, my problems and my insecurities and I am so excited to eventually work towards competing in power lifting competitions.

My boyfriend is a Personal Trainer and has pushed me in the gym. I’ve never wanted to work so hard until I started to see myself grow. From my deadlifts starting at 66 lbs to 155lbs within weeks to bench press, and squats, I saw progress and that’s what I started to get addicted to.

If I could give advice to anyone with diabetes in the gym I would tell them to take care of yourself and to take breaks if you need to. I have lost almost 11% of body fat since I have been lifting weights. My A1C has dropped five points, and I cannot wait to watch my body grow even more!

gym and lifting weights with diabetes

This has been the healthiest I have ever been since becoming a diabetic (and a “Gym Rat” as they call me) . I have also decided to pursue my career in Nursing.

I have had my ups and downs, but diabetes has taught me so much.

I would say having this disease for thirteen years has made me super blessed. I will never let diabetes control me and I will always have the upper hand.

A piece of scripture that keeps me moving forward and that I always keep in mind is:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10

Until Type One turns into Type “None”, I will never let this disease win. Find that inner fighter in you and join me in beating what the statistics have fed to us.



 

A Night In The Life Of a Type 1 Diabetic

I wrote this poem last night at 3 a.m. Seems like almost every night I am up at that time. Truth be told though I am not alone. Multitudes of others share a similar experience when caring for someone with this disease. If you know someone with Type 1 Diabetes and they are managing it so well know that there is a whole lot of hard work behind it.


A Night In The Life of a Type 1 Diabetic

By: Mary Williams

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray to God I catch some Zzz’s.
The first alarm goes off at 12
Time to make sure all is still well

A blood sugar reading of 65.
Time to down juice to keep her alive.
“Wake up sleepy head, it’s that time of night
Wake up so momma can make you alright.”

15 minutes later its time to re-poke
A drop of blood reveals its time for some Coke
Still too low to go to bed.
So we patiently wait to lay our weary heads.

15 minutes go by and the Alarm bell rings
Another drop of blood…141 it sings.
Set the alarm to wake up at 3.
My head hits the pillow and my alarm startles me.

Another drop of blood into the machine.
350 is what it now currently screams!
Freakity Frack!
I want our old lives back.

Time for a shot to bring them back down.
Set the alarm for 6 this time around.
My head hits the pillow its time for a snooze.
The alarm interrupts The Rock giving me booze,

On a nice sandy beach, enjoying a walk.
The alarms jolts me back to type 1 diabetes talk.
Another drop of blood says she needs to wake up.
65 again! This royally sucks.

night in the life of a type 1 diabetic

Time to down juice, we know the routine
I hate this disease, it makes me feel mean.
Another drop of blood is what I request
From small little hands that are trying their best

To be brave when the needles cause so much pain
Fingers riddled with scars is what has been gained
And now its time to start a brand new day,
With one step forward, there’s no other way.

Sleep is for the privileged and caffeine is on ice
A cure for type 1 diabetes sure would be nice.
To be rid of the burden that this disease brings
Would ease this mommy’s mind and end my baby’s suffering.


share a story

“Diabetes Isn’t Even That Bad”

“Diabetes Isn’t Even That Bad” …

When I hear this statement it frustrates me. Not because I wish to allow someone’s opinion or thoughts to affect my life.

Not because it is the worst possible condition, because I know it’s not.

I’m extremely thankful for everyday I’m alive, the technology, advancements, and the chance to live a long life.

But because of how UNTRUE that statement actually is when you truly understand the disease.

Diabetes doesn’t seem bad until it enters your life…

Diabetes is when your body basically wages war on itself. In Type 1 Diabetes the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas and no longer produces insulin. Now it is an everyday battle to maintain normal blood sugars that affect how we feel, our moods, and how we are able to function.

Diabetes is where children are dying from diabetic ketoacidosis because the doctors thought the child had the flu.

Diabetes is where parents are not able to sleep throughout the night, constantly checking their child’s blood sugar, being in fear of their child having a seizure or going into a coma.

Diabetes is where you wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, feeling lost and confused, and having to fight to save your own life by guzzling juice or eating whatever you have nearby.

Diabetes is being dependent on an insulin that costs more than most people pay per month for mortgage. Having to find ways to make food stretch so that you don’t have to go without your insulin to stay alive.

Diabetes is constantly having your eyes, kidneys, and feet checked to see how the diabetes is affecting your body. There is always the risk of complications and the unknown is scary.

Diabetes is finding yourself exhausted all the time, fighting through some really bad days and wishing you could be healthy again.

Diabetes is where you’re constantly managing a disease that will never get better. You sometimes beat yourself up for the lows and high blood sugars, but deep down you know you’re doing the best you can.

Diabetes is having people say “lose weight” or “try this diet” and it will go away. Or someone telling a parent their child’s diabetes was caused by “eating too much sugar”.

Diabetes is living with a disease that could cost you your life while politicians blame the people who have diabetes for costing the healthcare system money. As if it’s our fault that our immune system decided to attack our pancreas.

Diabetes is life-threatening, costly, and an all-consuming disease. And the more we acknowledge “the bad”, the more we can change how this disease is perceived and can help those who battle it everyday.



 

A Positive Outlook Leads To a Positive Outcome

A Positive Outlook Leads To a Positive Outcome

Anita Brown

http://anitanicolebrown.com/


My name is Anita Nicole Brown and I am an 18 year Type 1 DiaBadAss! On November 12th, 2017 I will be celebrating 19 years with this disease and I will be celebrating!

I want to change the perspective of what it means to be a Type 1 Diabetic!

So how do I plan on doing that? By celebrating everything I have learned since being diagnosed with T1D and by bringing attention to this disease so that others can see the strength we actually have!

So my story is simple:

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on November 12th, 1998 (my father’s birthday and an A1C of 28)! Shortly after, I was also diagnosed with diabetic nerve damage in my legs and feet that cost me the ability to walk for about a year!

Now, this was in no way caused by me or how I was taking care of myself. It was later determined that my diabetes should have been discovered in 8th grade. However, it was not diagnosed until my senior year of high school! And because it went so long without treatment, the nerve damage set in.

As you can guess, it was a difficult time! I mean it was my senior year of high school! A time I was to be excited about prom, homecoming, graduation and college! Instead I spent most of my senior year either at home or in the hospital! And I was so afraid that because of this disease, I would not graduate!

But, I do believe I am a bit too stubborn for that to have been the end of my story! See, when my doctors told me it was a possibility that the nerve damage would never go away and I may see permanent damage….. I was not in agreement!

So I kept fighting.

Kept working at getting my levels in order and learning as much as I could about this new disease. And one morning I woke and my nerve damage had gone away! I do not think I can express the feeling of being able to walk, run, dance without help or assistance or pain!

And to graduate 2nd in my class after all that! But that was not the end of this battle with T1D! There was more to come that (at 18) I could not have been prepared for! You see, I also found myself dealing with many failed pregnancies and even a thyroid problem and even more!

It got to the point that I felt that life was not worth living if this was going to be my life! And I did try to end it all. I did throw in the towel! I remember when I came to this decision and I told God (or whatever power above you believe in) that I could not continue. That it was too hard.

But, I also told Him that if I woke the next morning….. I would know I had a purpose. A reason for being. As you can see I did wake the next morning. And I woke with perfect glucose levels! As I saw this I looked up to God and said: “Message received….. Just tell me what You have in store for me!”

From that moment, I knew I was stronger than I had given myself credit for.I knew I was given this disease because I could handle it. I can learn from it and I can grow! And that has been my mission!

I know how hard it is to have this disease. To constantly have to count carbs, make insulin adjustments, keep up with doctor’s appointments and pay attention to what my body is telling me! It is a JOB! But I now confront it with a positivity I did not have in the beginning!

Instead of being angry or upset, I look to find the positive!

And the biggest positive is the fact that I woke up this morning when so many did not! This tells me I have more to do! That my reason for being has not been fulfilled!

So I decided to go even further! I mean why not be a T1D Actress, Model, Action Fighter? I mean who says we can’t do these things and still be upfront about our disease? Still keep people informed! Still spread awareness? When I was 17 and trying to find someone….. ANYONE I could look to, I had NO ONE!

I am the only type 1 in my family so when I was learning and dealing with this….. I felt so alone! Now, I know I am not alone and I love the strength this T1D community has! I want to show the good and the bad with being a type 1 diabetic. And I hope that by showing both sides, the good is what can be seen and looked up to more!

We are so much stronger than we know and give ourselves credit for! We were given this task of balancing our lives around this disease and making it look….. easy even when it is not! But I know we were selected because we have that power….. we ARE that power!

We may never be “normal” and that is a beautiful thing! No one who has ever accomplished anything was considered “normal”! So let’s let be loud….. Let’s be vocal and show this world how DiaBadAss we truly are! We have the power to tell our story…… So let’s tell it!



 

teenager with type 1 diabetes

Teenager With Type 1 Diabetes –

Teenager With Type 1 Diabetes –

By: Sarah Ball


I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just nine days before my thirteenth birthday. I was excited to start a new chapter of my life. I was about to start my last year of middle school and officially become a teenager.

Becoming a teenager is rough. We all know it. At this point in your life, you’re so desperate to slip under the radar and fit in as much as possible. And with something that resembles a pager on my waist, it became difficult to fit in.

For my first year of diagnosis, I had to go to the nurse’s office everyday to give myself an injection after lunch. I remember clearly a classmate of mine being in the nurse’s office when I gave an injection one day.

He later called me out in front of my entire class asking “why did you give yourself an Epipen shot earlier?” I didn’t know how to respond. I was frozen. My teacher, who overheard the conversation, tried to change the subject and move on. That was the first of many times in that first year that I was humiliated for being different.

Later in the year one of my friends, who didn’t know I was diabetic, saw me check my blood sugar. She immediately asked me what my meter was. I froze again. I felt that same rush of humility. I ignored her.

Later that day, she messaged me and I explained that I was a diabetic and I didn’t want her to think I was a freak because I wasn’t like everyone else. She responded with compassion and explained how she would have never thought that, even if I am different. I started to feel better about being different after that conversation.

The first year of high school was also the first year I had an insulin pump.

I noticed as I walked down the hall, people would eye my waist, where my insulin pump would sit everyday. I felt that same rush of humility, yet again. I became embarrassed by diabetes again.

So much so, I stopped checking my blood sugar everyday at school. This made my A1C levels rise, but I didn’t care. This increased blood sugar spikes during the day which affected my performance in school, but I didn’t care. I would accidentally give too much insulin, which would plummet my blood sugars, but I didn’t care.

I risked my health to seem normal. It became unhealthy. It was affecting my grades, my mental health and of course, my physical well being. As I grew up and realized that differences are what make us interesting, I started to embrace diabetes.

I started to be proud that I was one of the 3 million people in the United States to have Type 1 Diabetes and empower people to not be embarrassed by something that they can’t control.

After 5 years with diabetes, I still notice the stares in public when I check my blood sugar. And notice people staring at my waist, but my outlook has changed. I wear my insulin pump proudly and answer questions with confidence. I help people understand that it isn’t uncommon or weird.

Diabetes is difficult as it is, don’t make it more difficult by trying to pretend you’re someone you’re not. Embrace the 1 AM lows, embrace the subconscious carb counting, embrace the impromptu insulin pump site changes in public. It’s apart of who we are. And it’s okay to be a bit different.