Category: Success

Why Are They Judging Me?

Why Are They Judging Me?

Why Are They Judging Me?

By: Marrium abid Sandhu

Some people have a background or a story that is so central to their identity that they believe their life would be incomplete without it. Here’s my story..

Why are they judging me?

Is this the reality or do I suffer from schizophrenia? I’m not from another galaxy, I mean, I just have diabetes.

Society took it upon itself to delineate me as a diabetic. On the mention of my name, the ignorant minds of humans formed an image of a weak, disoriented, bewildered and egotistical teenager.

I was nine years old when I was first diagnosed with type-one diabetes. It shook me to my core. I was not old enough to even comprehend what diabetes meant. But the way people around me reacted; it felt as if I was an unstable nucleus emitting radiations.

My heart told me to be optimistic, persuaded me to look at life from this new perspective, but everything in my life went downhill. On various occasions during the early stages, I was able to pick myself up and do my daily chores the normal way but that did not last that way for long.

Pricking my fingers four to five times a day and taking insulin shots before every meal was never an easy task. Until high school, I used to go around hiding the fact that I was a diabetic. I had an irrational fear of people judging me. I hardly socialized. I kept to my room and to myself, reading miserable and depressing novels, injecting myself with something that was supposed to make me better but felt no less than a cruel punishment.

As I grew older,

things started to improve and diabetes became a part of my daily routine. I realized that having diabetes was a part of me but it in no way defined me. It had rehabilitated me. It had made me resilient, mentally and morally.

As I progressed through high school, I craved to do better in academics, sports, and life in general. Having diabetes gave me strength to face any challenge or problem that came my way.

Friends are of imminent importance, you cannot function without having someone to talk to, someone to associate yourself with. Socializing made me grasp the significance and need for someone to share my feelings with, someone to trust with my problems.

My family and I shifted a lot due to my father’s work. Being on the go, I constantly met new people who made me confident in my own skin. I went to Greece on a school trip for 4 weeks. Exploring a new country, a completely different environment was an experience I will trade for nothing.

Doing everything myself, from shopping to laundry, I gained a fair bit of poise and familiarized myself with adapting to a new place and a completely different way of life. The diabetic, anthrophobic girl had transformed.

My hard working and astute sense of nature led me to be selected as a part of my school’s student council and in addition I represented my school in various national level sports competitions. I volunteered myself to help the underdeveloped schools in my city.

I taught English and Mathematics to a group of class 9 students. I saw a whole new way of life within my culture in that school. And now I’m studying architecture in one of the best universities in turkey.

I am a diabetic.

And I do not have a problem with people judging me because of that. If they judge me, it does not depict who I am, it depicts who they are.

To sum it up in the words of Sonia Sotomayor, the current associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,

“Diabetes taught me discipline”.



 

Navigating type 1 diabetes and learning along the way

Navigating Type 1 Diabetes and Learning Along the Way

Navigating Type 1 Diabetes and Learning Along the Way

Monica Westley, PhD

Here is my story about our daughter Allison, and the incredible lessons she has taught us. We have always been a family of explorers and adventurers, readers of books and lovers of nature. We encouraged our kids to learn as much about the world as they could. Still, until four years ago, we like so many others, knew very little about type 1 diabetes.

Allison had been losing weight (but growing taller) thirsty (but it was hot here in SoCal) and then began to have flu symptoms. On the second day of the “flu” (DKA) we brought her to her pediatrician. I asked “Could this be high blood sugar”? The pediatrician said, “Oh its very unlikely but why don’t you go to the ER, we don’t have a way to measure that here!”

At the ER, our daughter was lying down, super sick, yet still we had to ask that she be seen several times. We waited for over 3 hours, along with those who were waiting to be seen for a common cold. Finally, in the back, the young doctor sampled her blood with the glucometer and turned to me. “Your daughter has type 1 diabetes. It’s a life long condition for which there is no cure. You will be taken by ambulance to the Children’s hospital where you will learn how to live with this.” And so began our journey.

Initially, its all a blur. You’re thinking,” Ok I think we can fix this if….”. Then you realize there is no way out of this condition, and you must move forward as a family. You start to learn all you possibly can about it and how to optimize blood sugars. For the first 2 years we checked her every night at 2am, and more if her blood sugar didn’t settle down.

Then came the advent of Nightscout, which was a group of amazing parents who hacked into the existing technology to allow the blood sugars to be visualized by parents. Quickly, Medtronic and Dexcom responded with their own “version” of Nightscout. The ability to see Allison’s blood sugars on our phones by our bedside and to be alarmed if she came out of range was invaluable. Our rattled nerves could settle a bit. Now she could go overnight with friends, and that was a freedom gained!

Then we learned about TYPEONE Grit, a low carb, high protein way of eating (WOE) endorsed by Dr. Richard Bernstein, and followed by many. Google him, he’s amazing. This WOE was not recommended by our pediatric endo or the CDE in the hospital, but it was an amazing and invaluable resource and has helped keep her blood sugars much more stable. Another win!

Finally, after she was experiencing many undiagnosable “Highs” I began to search for an answer. Allison uses the Medtronic pump, and I asked our endo to change her from the plastic cannula in the MIO quickset to the SureT needle. Their feeling was that she didn’t really need it. However, when I pressed they changed it. Almost immediately, she was in better control. Yet another win!

From all these experiences we learned, when your child has Type 1 diabetes, you MUST continually be your child’s advocate, you must be proactive, you must keep searching for new advances and ways of doing things. At times you will be exhausted, sad, maybe on your knees, but don’t lose faith! This disease will unexpectedly teach you many things.

What else did we learn? We learned that Allison has an amazing spirit! At times, diabetes dampened her spirit, but it’s ember has never gone out. Her capacity for resilience, tenacity and resourcefulness has grown stronger with every year.

What has she done since her diagnosis? Allison has been class president, homecoming queen, a runway model for JDRF, raised over $20,000 for JDRF. She has worked in a type 1 diabetes research lab at Harvard, started a Hands on Science program at a local underprivileged school and kept it going every week for 3 years, received the Presidential Service Award, National Honor Society recommended, straight As, Cum Laude Society, Peer Mentor leader, started her company Mermaid Medicine, acted in the school musical, created her column “In Someone Else’s Shoes”.

She was named “19 under 19 to watch” and completed 4 years of high school varsity sports. She currently runs the fastest mile on the track team. Allison has also recently been accepted to USC (Merit Scholar) and to Harvard. Right now she is preparing to go on a 2 week wilderness adventure off the grid in the Sierras where she will be the only person with T1D.

Pretty cool, right?

People say, “She makes it look so easy”. And she does. I do want to tell those on “the outside of diabetes” just don’t forget that behind it 24/7/365 she is walking the tightrope of blood sugars. It requires strength and grit. She is strong and most importantly, she is kind. Because of all she deals with in her own diabetes realm, her compassion muscle is very strong. She even gives those like our current US Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who think there’s one type of diabetes, and judge those who have it, compassion.

Heres what I would share to the “newbie parents”. Be your child’s advocate. Trust your gut, you are on the front lines of this with your child. Be proactive. Never stop learning about the disease and new technology, clinical trials, and ways of eating (WOE). Find community. I formed a group called “The Sugar Mamas” we meet for lunch and keep each other sane. Keep an eye on the online community of diabetes: GLU, CGM in the Cloud, CDN and especially TYPEONEGRIT are all important networks with helpful people, many who have great ideas and inspiration. Most are going through what you are going through. Strength in numbers!

Finally, keep your dreams for your child’s success alive. Encourage them to reach. Encourage yourself to stay strong. Play the song “You’re an Overcomer” really, really loud ! Don’t forget to have fun. If one day is terrible, try again the next day. Look for a sliver of humor in the crazy diabetes things that happen. And don’t forget to pray for the day when we all wake up to the front page headline ” A Cure for Type 1 diabetes has been found”.


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living a fulfilling life and going after my dream

Living a Fulfilling Life and Going After My Dream

Living a Fulfilling Life and Going After My Dream

Rachael Baker

Today marks 10 years since I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Since that day, for the past 10 years and for every day ahead of me, all throughout the day, I have to test my blood glucose, think, calculate and inject insulin to maintain my life. No days off, 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. A day off for me means I don’t make it to the end of the day.

Whilst diabetes is ridiculously complex and hard to understand if you don’t experience it, it is important to know I did nothing to get it and I can not fix it! This is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 is currently incurable.

So I have spent the past decade accepting that I can only spend every waking and sleeping moment working to make sure I stay alive. The balancing act of diabetes is affected by every daily activity and it is honestly so hard, I have spent days in tears, days where my blood glucose is so high I can barely stay conscious, and nights where my blood glucose is so low I can’t move enough to reach the lollies on my bedside table.

This is scary stuff and some days I don’t want to get out of bed and battle it and other days I don’t want to go to sleep just in case I don’t wake up, but despite this, I have never let it stop me from doing anything. I have kept up with my peers through every step of my life.

Being diabetic, whilst hard and extremely challenging at times, is amazing. It is an opportunity to continually grow and strengthen, as I face challenge after challenge and decision after decision, and still manage to see the next day.

I am healthy and continually strive to ensure my diabetes is optimally managed, whilst appreciating it will never be perfect – this has taken a long time to realize and I am so eager to help others do the same.

I am currently studying a post graduate course in Diabetes Education and Management whilst working full time in a Pediatric Emergency Department as a Registered Nurse. I volunteer as a Diabetes Educator at Camp Diabetes and help children and adolescents cope with everyday activities and teach them that they too can live a normal life.

I can easily lose my life if I slip up at any given second, but I can also live a long and healthy life and do everything a normal person can. This gives me the greatest perspective on life and makes me live to the fullest and appreciate everyday.

It has given me a passion and a dream to be a diabetes educator so I can motivate and teach other diabetics to achieve their full potential as well and I am now so close this dream. I cannot wait for what the next 10 years holds.


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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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Diabetes Has Become My Passion In Life

Diabetes Has Become My Passion In Life

Diabetes Has Become My Passion In Life

By: Austin Fuerst

At the age of two, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. This didn’t just mean that my life would change, but the lives of my parents, family, and friends as well. As a two-year-old, I clearly didn’t know what was going on so all the credit goes to my parents for taking care of me. My mom and dad were always wonderful with taking care of my diabetes and making sure everything was done correctly, from insulin injections, to counting my carbs.

Needless to say, I was very fortunate. My parents also taught me early on to be independent at a young age, starting off giving myself insulin injections when I turned four-years-old, and counting carbs when I turned six-years old. My parents also taught me to not hide, or to be ashamed of my diabetes. They refused to take me to the bathroom of a restaurant to take an insulin shot, and before every school year, they would have a class meeting with all the other kids and let me explain my diabetes to them; the lows, the highs, and how it all worked. That’s where my love of education comes from. My parents helped ingrain it in me at a very early age.

As I got older, diabetes became more and more of something that was a nuisance to me, with middle school being the worst stage of it. I went into the sixth grade with a new insulin pump; the Deltec Cozmo for those who remember it. It was honestly one of the best pumps I have ever had. The only problem with it was that as a sixth grader, I didn’t have the maturity to us it as it was intended.  I would bolus without checking my sugars or without even counting my carbs. This led to me lying to my parents about what my numbers were. Telling them that they were a perfect 120, when in reality it was upwards of 300.  I could only get away with that for so long because of the dreaded endocrinologist. You smile your way through that because, well, the numbers don’t lie.

When my A1c results came back I was honestly scared for my life. It came back at a 14. I was afraid my parents would be furious at me, and I was right. They weren’t furious at me for having a bad A1c, but they were angry because I had been lying to them about my numbers. That was a big wake up call for me. I realized that the number, whether good or bad, was vital and helped steer me on the path that I needed to be on. After the endocrinologist appointment, I took a break from the pump and went back on shots to bring my A1c down, and get my diabetes back under control.

Through all this time, I attended a summer camp called Camp Sweeney, which is a summer camp specifically for type one diabetics. When I was younger, I loved going just because it was fun. It wasn’t until I reached high school that I realized what the camp was all about. Sure it was fun, but they really opened my eyes to what my diabetes really was. Diabetes was a blessing and something that grew more and more to be a burning passion in my heart.

At Camp Sweeney, they taught us how to take care of ourselves in the “real world”, what was going on inside our bodies, and helped us understand what diabetes really is. They helped spark my dormant love for diabetes education. As I went through high school I became more involved and helped in programs where I was able to go to Children’s Hospital in Dallas, TX. At the hospital, I could talk to newly diagnosed families and their children about diabetes, encourage and give them hope that their life isn’t over- it just got a little more complicated.

I have always been a very active person. Up until my freshman year of college, playing lacrosse was a huge part of my life. Over the last 2 years, my passion has switched to personal fitness and working out . Throughout high school my blood sugars and A1c were always “ok”. It wasn’t until I started getting into fitness, working out and eating right that my blood sugars decided to be amazing! After about two years of working hard, eating right and working out five to seven days a week, my most recent A1c was the lowest it has been in the 19 years that I have had diabetes. My A1c was 6.5 and I couldn’t be happier with it!

Through my fitness endeavors, I felt compelled to find a way to help encourage other T1d’s that diabetes shouldn’t stop them from doing what they love and their passion. No matter if its fitness related or not. That’s when I came up with the idea of Everyday_T1d. My goal is to spread awareness, help T1d’s become more confident, and help them realize that diabetes doesn’t have to control their lives but just be kept on a leash. Diabetes can be a blessing rather than a burden, it’s all a matter of perspective.

Through all of my experiences with diabetes, it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. My passion started with music, then it was marketing, and it took me so long to figure out that it was in front of my nose the entire time. Diabetes. It makes perfect sense to do something I’m so passionate about as my career.  I’m currently going to school to receive a nutrition degree with hopes of being a registered dietician and one day, a diabetes educator. Now that I know my path, I am ecstatic to get there. To turn my passion and dream into reality. Diabetes has and always will be a part of me, and I am so blessed to have it in my life.


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To every warrior battling diabetes

To Every Warrior Battling Diabetes

Hey warrior —

I just want to say you’re doing amazing! Even on the days you feel weak. The days you feel tired. The days you feel you’ve had enough. Especially on those days because that’s when you’re fighting your hardest. Your vulnerability and even your weaknesses make you strong. Make you powerful, resilient, unstoppable.

You’ve made it thus far. I mean look how far you’ve come! Whether you’ve been diagnosed for a day—a week—1 year—5 years—20 years, you’re beating all the odds against you heroically. You continue to hold the weight of the world on your shoulders day in and day out with such profound grace and humility.

Don’t let those crazy numbers that show on the blood sugar meter discourage you from your success. I’m sure you might see at least one “high” or “low” number today. If so, keep going. If not, keep going. Either way, you’re winning because you don’t let diabetes stop you from living. 

Those needles that create those scars? Well, they tell a story. A story about how you wake up everyday to fight the same demons that left you so tired from the night before. You should never be ashamed because it just means that you are stronger than diabetes—and you have the proof to show for it.

Next time you go to take your insulin—just know you’re not alone. Try to not to let the fear overwhelm you and dwindle your spirit. This is an incredibly difficult and daunting challenge. Where you don’t always know what’s ahead. But you were given the strength to face this challenge. Just take a moment and marvel at what an amazing gift it is to just be alive. To be all that you can be. Go show the world how you live beyond this disease because it doesn’t define you.

Ask yourself today ‘how you can use this disability to empower others?’ ‘How can you turn a negative into a positive?’ Be bold enough to raise your voice. Speak for what matters, speak for others who don’t have a voice. Be the light in someone’s darkness. Use this as a higher calling for that there is a purpose in your struggle and all that you go through. Take the reins—because today you got this!

You are amazing.

You are heroic.

You are a warrior.

diabetic warrior

diabetic warrior

Here's To Another Year Of Conquering Diabetes

Here’s To Another Year Of Conquering Diabetes

Diabetes came into my life unexpectedly and forever changed the course of my journey in this life.

14 years old I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

And I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was 12 years old, being told I had an incurable disease and that my life was going to alter significantly.

I thought it was the end to the future I once envisioned.

I lost a lot that day. I lost peace of mind. I lost security. I lost much of my childhood.

But what I found on this journey is much greater.

I found myself.

Through all of this I’ve been able to grow and now heal.

I always questioned and wondered, “why me?” I wanted answers. I wanted purpose in all of this.

I’ve realized now that it’s always been right there in front of me.

After many years I was able to find myself again.

I had to overcome many obstacles and endure many failures.

But I found my strengths and my weaknesses.

I fought through many of my doubts and fears.

And by the grace of god, I made it through countless near death experiences.

And I was able to finally stand up and take back what’s mine.

My life.

I now have the life that I always hoped for, and even more so.

One thing diabetes has taught me is to appreciate every day for that it’s a gift. I was given a chance to live and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

The beautiful of this life I believe — isn’t getting to one destination. It’s the journey along the way.

It’s about helping people like me who are going through the same thing.

Making a small difference in the world that I once felt was so lonely.

I’m not only a survivor,

I’m a warrior.

Here’s to many more years of conquering diabetes —

Here's To Another Year Of Conquering Diabetes

 

The Positive Effects of Diabetes

The Positive Effects Of Diabetes

The Positive Effects Of Diabetes

When diabetes comes to mind, I often have negative feelings towards it. From battling my blood sugars, poking my fingers, taking insulin injections, constantly adjusting my insulin dosages, long nights, early mornings, and the rollercoaster of emotions. I feel it’s normal to get frustrated, even though I do the best that I can. I know that I’m going to have my bad days no matter what.

I don’t consider myself a “perfect diabetic“, nor do I believe those exist. But putting all the negativity aside, I feel it’s important to point out the positive effects of diabetes. Despite the hardships and uncertainty, I still continue on living.  I can see how it has shaped me into the person that I am, for the good. Lots of hard lessons, but also many blessings along the way.

 

I’ve learned to let go of what I can’t control –

It has given me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I can’t control the future or what will happen. I know that diabetes is as unpredictable as it gets. However, I won’t live in fear. I won’t let diabetes control my life. I focus on the “now” and worry less about the “what ifs”.

 

I take time for myself no matter what –

As much as I want to ignore diabetes or place it on the back burner, it’s always there. There will always be times, where I have to stop what I’m doing and take care of myself. No matter what — diabetes is always in the back of my mind. Those times where my body tells me to take those breaks, it just shows me what’s most important in this life. Without my health — I would be nothing.

 

It has made me a stronger person –

Very cliche — I know. But they don’t call us dia-bad-ass’s for nothing! I’ve been through the wringer and back with diabetes. I’m grateful to be alive today. But like they say “what doesn’t kill you WILL make you stronger.” It’s not how many times I’ve fallen, but how many times I’ve gotten back up that matters.

 

I found a passion –

If you would have told me when I was diagnosed that I would be where I am today, I wouldn’t believe you! It just goes to show you that it’s about what you’re made of, not your circumstances. Diabetes has certainly shaped my life. Everything serves a purpose. I found a community full of people who I can relate to and we all share a bond. I’ve also found a way to express myself and help inspire others. Yes, this disease doesn’t define me, but it helps to better explain me. It helps explain the person I am, my journey, and how I got here.

 

I appreciate life more –

I appreciate the highs, the lows, the setbacks, the comebacks, ALL OF IT. Diabetes has taken me to the lowest lows and the highest highs. I realize it could be worse. It could be much worse. But I’m still fighting every day. With every fiber of my being, I get up every day and tackle this disease head on. I realize that life is fragile and health is easily taken for granted. Having diabetes has given me a different perspective on life, that I may have never had without it. Through it all, I have finally found the positive effects of diabetes, which is amazing.

When it all comes down to it, diabetes has taught me to love myself even at my weakest moments. It’s taken me out of my comfort zone. I’ve had to grow up much faster and have thicker skin. I’ve learned to roll with the punches, and adapt to whatever life throws at me.

Granted — it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. I would take a cure in a heartbeat, no questions asked! But there are some positive effects of diabetes that I’ve come to realize along the way. It has shaped me for the better. The harder the struggle — the more glorious the triumph.