Category: Support

The Little Girl With The Sugar Diabetes

The Little Girl With The “Sugar Diabetes”

The Little Girl With The “Sugar Diabetes”

By: April Langston

Hi, my name is April and I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was only 11 months old! Yes, you read that right 11 months! It was winter at the time and I was sick, the doctors kept telling my mom that it was just and ear infection, or just normal flu things that little kids get. They told her she was just an overly worrisome first time mother. Time passed and I continued to get more sick by the day until eventually, I wasn’t able to even recognize my own family.

At that point my parents rushed me to the doctor, my mom said that when the doctor was checking me over he immediately smelled a sweet odor from my diaper.. aka ketones. From there I was rushed to the hospital and then life flighted to KU Med. At KU I spent 11 days in ICU where my family learned how to check blood sugars, give shots, and count points (now known as carb counting). SCARY times!

Throughout my whole life there have been several people that don’t understand what diabetes is and to them I have been known as the little girl with the “sugar diabetes“. You know that kind that doesn’t make you fat, but the kind that you can’t have any sugar. Those of you with diabetes can relate to this I’m sure.

I am now a healthy 26 year old type 1 diabetic! I have gotten married, had two successful pregnancies with diabetes and have had the opportunity to work with other children going through the same struggles. I just celebrated my 25th diaversary!

There has been many ups and downs along the way. Teenage years were especially hard with diabetes. But I made it through. It’s a continuous battle daily, a battle that not everyone understands. Battling the shaky lows, the high blood sugars that make you irritated, the endless needles, and supplies, and blood sugar checks.

The battle is never ending. But we do it anyway. I fight not only for myself but also for my kids, my husband, my family, and friends. This disease may be part of my life, but it will never beat me. I will continue to fight day after day until there is a cure!

I think it is extremely important to raise awareness and to get the facts out about Type 1 diabetes. I also think it is important to know there are others going through what you are going through and that you have support!

With that being said….

To the worried mother or father of a diabetic not old enough to manage the disease themselves, THANK YOU. Thank you for being the rock that gets us through the day. Thank you for the sleepless nights and the endless worrying. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

To the fed up teenager that is just over it.. hang in there, I promise you one day it will get better. Do what you’re supposed to do to take care of yourself and embrace the fact that you are a little different than others around you. It will only make you a stronger person.

To the pregnant type 1 diabetic, constantly worrying about your blood sugars and worrying that you are going to do something wrong. I promise you that checking your blood sugar 10 times a day and constantly adjusting your insulin will soon pay off and you will be more blessed than you ever thought possible. Do the best you can do and know that it is all worth it.

To the diabetic just trying to get through the day. You got this! You will make it, you will kick diabetes butt and you have so much love and support in the T1D community!

Sincerely,
“The little girl with the sugar diabetes”


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You Are Never Given More Than You Can Handle

You Are Never Given More Than You Can Handle

“You Are Never Given More Than You Can Handle”

By: Amy Payne

“You are never given more than you can handle” — I have heard this many times over my life, and it has never really stuck until this past year. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 36 years ago at the age of 6. I never really thought much about it thanks to my amazing family who never made me feel different.

The only thoughts I had were that I would likely have horrible complications and die young from my Type1 Diabetes. Besides those thoughts, I truly did not think too much about it. I lived my life to the fullest thinking I should live a big happy life now because my future was going to be bad and short.

As time went by technology/drugs improved greatly and after living a somewhat reckless no fear life through my late teens and twenties my diabetes changed. All of a sudden I could not feel my lows/hypoglycemia anymore and my no big deal Diabetes had changed.

After a few years of trying to manage the lows with my new husband we moved to Denver, CO and went to the Barbara Davis Center. They told me I had had Type 1 Diabetes for over 25 years and had most likely avoided any major complications (except for my eyes, etc). I started crying right there in the office. Endocrinologists had stressed my whole life the importance of tight control otherwise I would have complications.

They have since changed their way of advising diabetics as they realize the old way of instilling fear of complications did more harm than good. Unfortunately being from the generation of 1980 diagnosed Type 1’s and even after being told I have bypassed most complications I still would rather be low than high and to this day feel the same, ironically it is the lows that threaten my life now.

Let’s cut to 6 years later –

The cost of Type 1 Diabetic supplies have skyrocketed (the US insured populations out-of-pocket costs for insulin increased by 89 percent from 2000 to 2010 for insulin alone) and with the 89% conservative estimate increase of my insulin alone depression entered my life.

I lost it one day at the Barbara Davis Center- United Healthcare was forcing me to change from Novolog Insulin (that I had been on for approx 10 years) to Humalog Insulin (due to their contract with the manufacturer of Humalog, not for the best interest of their clients).

I was so upset because of the forced switch and how dare they when my Diabetes was so hard to control on a strict regimen and now you are forcing me to change insulin because of your financial interest vs my health best interest, I literally had a breakdown in the Dr’s office.

This along with the never ending increasing expenses to manage my Type 1 Diabetes just to simply stay alive seemed too much to handle and the happy and strong Amy had finally broken down after 34 years of being a tough Type 1 Diabetic.

Barbara Davis was amazing and helped me with my depression (by the way Type 1’s are prone to depression due to insulin is a hormone that we inject multiple times a day, the fluctuation of our blood sugar levels makes us feel bad, loss of sleep, stress and the 24/7 never ending demand of our disease). I also have an additional theory that the blood glucose testing numerous times a day or with a CGM every three minutes along with your A1C results contribute to depression in Type 1’s.

You are judged by a number constantly –

(You are high, you are low, you are good, you are bad). It is a constant number that gives a judgement on your control of a disease that is impossible to control and I firmly believe it does a number on your psyche.

I am sure Dr’s would agree with my thesis. It was a relief to know what I was feeling was normal, and it is okay to finally say you know what this is hard, I have a lot to deal with and guess what I don’t feel that great most days!

Yes it could be worse and I could have cancer but you know what Type 1 Diabetes sucks and is really really hard to manage. It is a very misunderstood disease, being confused with Type 2 and people thinking you caused this by eating too many candy bars vs the fact that Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where my body attacked my beta insulin-producing cells in my pancreas preventing it from ever producing insulin ever again.

The misunderstanding hurts –

You hear comments like you don’t look like you have diabetes and you know you can reverse it with diet. NO, you cannot! I am good today. I am tired. I continue to be strong and continue to fight Type 1 Diabetes EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Type 1 Diabetes builds character, strength, and maturity. Every experience, every interaction, no matter how bad it might seem, has the ability to shape you, to mold you, and to help you become the person you were born to be.

And if it seems that life has given you “a lot” to handle; it is only because it knows how powerful you truly are. It wants you to discover the courage, the wisdom, and the strength that lie deep within you.

Type 1 Diabetes does not define me — it has built my strong character to handle anything!


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I've learned to take control of my diabetes and not let it control me

I’ve Learned To Take Control Of My Diabetes And Not Let It Control Me

I’ve Learned To Take Control Of My Diabetes And Not Let It Control Me

By: Alejandra Varela

Ever since I was seven years old I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It was not easy at the beginning, since I had no prior experience in regards to this matter, nor my parents, many changes had to be done e.g.(food habits, testing my glucose levels at least five times a day, insulin shots, to mention a few), too much to go through for such a little girl. Even though I never felt alone during this adaptation process, I always had my family, friends and teachers supporting me.

The most difficult stage was the adolescence, by the hormonal changes that affected my glucose levels and emotions. It was like a rollercoaster, hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia (my body felt tired all the time). I had to take responsibility and become conscious about my reactions to people. I learned to control my character (to think before act), and that not everybody would understand what diabetes is.

In the college years, the glucose levels were stable and the HBA1c (6.5- 7.2), but I was still injecting insulin 3 times per day and always at the same hour. Since 2014 I decided to use tandem insulin pump and it changed my life. I can wake up late not worrying about insulin and food schedules, the basal doses are more accurate to my needs, the hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia decreased.

Being a diabetic is a challenge, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, is a fight against yourself (trying to keep controlled the glucose levels or eat all the carbs that you want knowing the consequences), is depending on insulin to stay alive, is carrying always glucose and a glucometer on your purse, is to have blood tests (HBA1C, cholesterol, T3, T4, etc.) at least twice per year.

Diabetes taught me to be more sensitive, to know the fragility of human being and that life is borrowed. Sometimes I wish I did not have diabetes, but I cannot change it. I just must accept this and do everything possible to control the disease. The most complicated thing was to change my negative thoughts and my low self-esteem. I do not consider myself sick (everything functions well, except the pancreas Beta cells), I am complete, but I depend on insulin to live.

If you are getting through a difficult time, do not be discouraged. Diabetes is not the end of your world, it is an opportunity to find your inner strength. I know that there are many things to worry about (what would happen if my glucose levels go high or too low? what if I do not get enough medications? etc.), just focus in the present and change whatever is necessary.


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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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My Journey With a Type 1 Diabetic

My Journey With a Type 1 Diabetic

My Journey With a Type 1 Diabetic

Written by: Mitchell Jacobs

I remember the first time I met Brittany, it was like yesterday. She was this cute, bubbly, giggly girl. But mostly what I remember is how beautiful I thought she was. We began dating when I was only 19, I was fresh out of high school without a clue of what the world was or even what diabetes was.

All I knew was my pickup truck, my dog Petey and this girl I couldn’t stop thinking about. Then one day I was with her and she introduced me to this disease I had never been familiar with. Known as Type 1 Diabetes. We were out to lunch like any couple would be and Brittany began to explain to me the details of her disease. I didn’t know anything, and at the time it didn’t really phase me much either.

As months passed we moved in together. This is when I really started to see how ugly of a disease Type 1 Diabetes really is. Her family had recently dropped her from the insurance and Brittany and I began to feel the repercussions of it, barely being able to afford food, let alone insulin.

I began to see Brittany’s blood sugars crashing to lows so severe that she would become unconscious. I was having to wrestle with my girlfriend going from normal to extremely combative to unconscious, and having to call 911, all within an hour. I was flabbergasted by this disease. “What in the HELL was going on!” Why is her blood sugar so wacky and why can’t we figure this out?”

I remember becoming so involved in trying to figure this disease out and be as supportive as I possibly could. One day she had an appointment at the endocrinologist’s office, and I stayed up the whole night thinking about questions to ask this Doctor, so I could write them down in a notebook. I needed to know how to fix this disease. “it’s simple” I thought, the blood sugars are numbers, carbs are numbers; “there has to be an answer to this equation.” I was wrong. I soon realized how complex diabetes was and that I couldn’t fix “it”. I couldn’t do anything but be her rock.

We continued to live our life from hospital visit to hospital visit, DKA, and many close calls. We were trying to be 20 something-year-olds, going out having a good time and trying but barely managing this disease. In all honesty, I noticed times through our past that we tried to ignore the fact the Brittany wasn’t a “normal” girl. We would go out and be irresponsible while trying to ignore this MONSTER. When I finally realized that I was going to have to really step up for Brittany was when I had recently turned 22, Brittany and I went out for a few drinks at a local restaurant.

We went home and the next morning Brittany woke up to take her insulin. Which at the time she was taking a long lasting insulin while supplementing with a short acting insulin. Well, she took the short acting insulin on accident and I woke up to find her walking through the house. Pale white, sweating profusely, and incoherent. I immediately knew her blood sugar was low. Coffee was brewing, and the sugar was sitting out with a teaspoon already in the tupperware.

So I grabbed the teaspoon and coerced Brittany into taking the spoonful of sugar. This is when her grand mal seizure began. She clenched her teeth, her eyes rolled to the back of her head, and I grabbed her as she began to collapse, screaming for my mother nearby to come help and call the police. The minutes felt like hours waiting for the EMTs to arrive on the scene.

I can only remember crying this hard as a child. “What have I done, what am I doing to this girl?” I felt like I wasn’t doing the best that I could do. I became well aware of how fragile her life is every single day. Yet, she embodies such perseverance and courage that I’ve never seen before. I began to think about diabetes constantly and how I can help Brittany live a long life.

This is the person I want to spend my entire life with, and I better figure out how to keep her around. Shortly after this incident, I left for Naval boot camp, Brittany became my wife, the mother of my children and was able to get health insurance. She now has the best health care and products to assist her in managing this disease.

However, the battle may be easier, we have not won. I have been blessed with this woman. Whom I am so proud of for how far she’s come and for showing me not only her weaknesses but her inevitable strength. She has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. Thanks to her I am the man, the husband, and the father that I am. This journey has been paved with failures and victories but, it’s only the first chapter of my life with a Type 1 Diabetic.

When I vowed.. in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.. I meant it.

Feeling Judged With Diabetes

Feeling Judged With Diabetes

Feeling Judged With Diabetes

Dealing with diabetes is more than just a number. It’s more than an A1C result, a blood sugar reading, or the amount of carbs I’ve eaten throughout the day. It’s the endless minutes, hours, days, and years that I’ve been battling this disease.

If diabetes wasn’t hard enough—I often feel shame or guilt for how I manage my diabetes. I get the sense of anxiety and nervousness before going to an endocrinologist appointment. As if I have something to prove, and I’m needing acceptance.

It’s a look—or unspoken judgment that is presented. I feel uneasy and withdrawn—thinking to myself that maybe I’m not doing as great as I thought I was. Being told what I could be doing better, rather than all that I am doing right.

I think it’s a lack of communication and understanding. I feel misunderstood and judged with diabetes. I know that my health care team work towards helping me, but I sometimes feel like they don’t understand me. It’s one thing to be educated in something, but it’s another to be truly in depth with it.

Don’t get me wrong—I take a huge part in this as well. There are ways I could better communicate to my endocrinologist and health care providers. After all, there’s no one else who knows my diabetes better than myself. I know what works and what doesn’t. It’s been a lot of trial and error over the years. What’s great is when I can find a doctor who is on my team and we work great together. They understand where I’m coming from—while I can correspond with their recommendations.

By explaining that I’m trying my best but maybe could use help in certain areas.

Even when trying my hardest my efforts don’t always seem to show.

Why I don’t wish to try a certain medication and why I’m avid about it.

That having different views or ways of doing things doesn’t mean “noncompliant”.

How I’m feeling a certain way and that it’s okay to feel this way.

That sometimes just by having a solid conversation, helps ease my mind a bit. Hearing that I am doing a good job makes all the difference going forward.

Receiving some appraisal for being at this appointment, that I care, and to make me feel a little better leaving.

Feeling less judged with diabetes and being understood by my physician helps my diabetes management which ensures a better meWhile I do need their expertise and care, I also need myself in this more than anything. I know in the end it will be methat will get me to tomorrow, next week, 5 years, 10 years, 30 years down the line. I know what I’m capable of, and how far I’ve come. Nobody knows that but myself—that’s all that really matters. In this journey, I’m my own captain, leader, worst enemy, fan, advocate, everything.

diabetes burnout

Dealing With Diabetes Burnout: How It Is Different For Everyone

When hearing the phrase “Diabetes Burnout” the first thing that comes to mind is a form of severe distress. But when having type 1 diabetes for so many years, I know this isn’t always the case.

How can we directly define what dealing with Diabetes Burnout means for those that are diabetic? How come we pinpoint the exact symptoms or signs of having Diabetes Burnout?

We can’t. It’s not a one-size fits all scenario.

Just like how diabetes affects everyone differently, so does the effects of feeling burnt out by the disease. This disease is an everyday, lifelong battle. With no days off, no vacation – it’s a full-time job.

There’s been a time in my life where I would go days without checking my blood sugar – aimlessly taking insulin – and consciously avoiding my diabetes.

That is what I would consider some of the worst effects of being burnt out.

Now at the least, from time to time. I feel unmotivated and inconsistent with my diet.

All of which I would consider feeling “burnt out” by diabetes.

Does feeling burnout mean you’re a bad diabetic? Absolutely not. With anything in life, things can become too much to handle at times. But with diabetes, there’s no escaping it.

While battling ourselves, it’s also easy for others to judge. By making assumptions without knowing the actual demands and sacrifices that consist of having diabetes.

I’ll admit it’s hard to break free of feeling burnt out. I’ve battled with feeling helpless, depressed, and overwhelmed with caring for my diabetes.

diabetes burnout

But how can it be avoided? Dealing with Diabetes Burnout is not easy. Are there ways to help bounce back from it?

I went ahead and asked some diabetes groups of how to prevent or reduce the effects of feeling diabetes burnout. Here’s what others have suggested:

1. Taking vitamins.

By taking vitamins such as B-12 has helped others boost their spirits, energy, and helped them stay motivated. As well as Vitamin D, which helps boost your mood. Vitamins can help our bodies where we have a deficiency.

2. Exercising and staying active.

Exercising helps to lose weight and increases serotonin in the brain. Serotonin helps enhance mood, which helps to make you feel good.

3. Getting involved.

Participating in support groups, volunteer events, fundraisers, charities, and diabetes advocacy are all great ways to support the cause. By being involved helps you stay focused and determined to make a difference. Not only are you making a difference in your life, but others as well.

4. Setting a goal.

When setting goals, it’s important to be realistic. Making small changes can help achieve those goals, rather than setting expectations too high in a short amount of time. Whether it be lowering your A1C, losing weight, or making certain lifestyle changes.

5. Starting from square one.

Sometimes the best thing to do is start from where you began. It’s a task to break bad habits and develop new ones. But it can be revitalizing to start fresh. By re-evaluating how to manage diabetes, re-educating yourself, and essentially gaining a new perspective.

diabetes burnout

This journey we’re on is a crazy ride. What I’ve learned from having diabetes, is it’s a lot of trial and error. Seeing what works and what doesn’t. Our bodies, minds, and our diabetes are each our own . By identifying and accepting our flaws, we can make improvements for the better.  I’ve taken the unnecessary pressure off by knowing there is no such thing as perfection with diabetes. “I am human after all“. All I can do is strive to be better. Strive for improvements in my life. That’s my success story.

“Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it.”



why managing diabetes is a full-time job

Why Managing Diabetes Is A Full-Time Job

Why Managing Diabetes Is a Full-Time Job:


I don’t think ‘we‘ as diabetics give ourselves half the credit that we should.

After all.. managing diabetes is a full-time job.

Having diabetes is like running a marathon where there isn’t a finish line.

Some days you’re keeping up to pace, and other days you’re falling behind.

It’s an around the clock job. No days off. No vacation.

You can’t forget about it and come back to it later. (Even if we wish we could).

There are days where diabetes gets unintentionally placed on the back burner.

It get’s mentally exhausting and we go through periods of feeling burnt out.

Maybe it would be easier if managing diabetes was all that we had to do.

But it’s not.

Then comes life.

Having to go to work—go to school—raise a family—and the list goes on.

It’s not ALL about “managing diabetes“.

It’s managing life on top of it all.

We tend to be hard on ourselves.

We forget that we’re only human—we’re imperfect.

We’re not always going to have the “perfect blood sugar“.

We’re going to have bad days where nothing seems to go right no matter how hard we try.

But we embrace each day with its own challenges and it’s own variables thrown at us.

We don’t get a paycheck.

We get an evaluation test called an A1C.

Sometimes this test doesn’t justify all the blood, sweat, and tears we put into this disease.

7 days a week—365 days a year

We feel a lot of pressure to do well.

For our health—For our loved ones—and for our future

Sometimes we think “what do we have to show for it?

When will this all pay off?

That answer is ‘today

Through all the frustration, grief, and exhaustion we experience.

We have today.

We may have one of the hardest full-time jobs.

But we have control over diabetes.

Diabetes doesn’t control us.


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