Category: Awareness

At War With T1D

At War With T1D

By: Izzy Myszak


Imagine fighting a battle against yourself everyday.

If you let your mind win, your body fails. If you give into your body you lose your mind. Imagine fighting a battle that will never end. One that will follow you for the rest of your life. Imagine yourself becoming a battleground. One where the debris lingers and the destruction never repaired. Think about waking up sick one day and realizing that you are never going to get better.

What is the ammunition?

Is it is the rude comments and hurtful jokes? Maybe it’s the level of ignorance that you face in one day. Is it the endless questions and assumed answers. Oh wait it is the level of acting you put on everyday to act like you are fine. Maybe the ammunition is the multiple daily injections and the countless number of finger pricks. You become forced to learn to calculate the correct amount of the life saving or live ending drug.

I never dreamt that one day I would be a drug addict. That is what I am though. I take drugs so I don’t go too high and die, but if I take too much it will have the counter effect and kill me in a different way. You have to be perfect.

One word has changed my life.

One diagnosis has changed my normal and sent a countless number of fears into my life. I’m scared to sleep at night with the fear that I could never wake up. I am scared to have children, I don’t want to be the reason that another child has to deal with this. I am scared to be by myself. I am scared to love anyone and to be loved because this illness could become a ticking time bomb at any moment.

There are many things that are worse than this.

Cancer. Hunger. War. The list goes on and on. There is no finish line to diabetes though. At the moment there is no cure and diabetics are forced to live this life each and every day. It is not just a physical challenge though, but a mental one. Diabetics go through many emotional trials in their lives. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The stages of grief are prominent to those who get diagnosed with a chronic illness. Sometimes the sight of the bruises on your flesh become unbearable. It is hard to go through this by yourself. Eventually though, you find those souls who will always be there for you and you don’t let them go.

Diabetes is awful, but it is manageable. You learn about a part of yourself you never knew existed. You become stronger and more responsible than you ever wished you would have to. Diabetes forces you to grow up quickly.

I still look back every day on what life was like without this.

I miss that life, but I don’t miss who I was as a person before everything happened to me. I am stronger now. I am smarter. I am more vulnerable. I am kinder and more empathetic. I have learned not to judge others because you don’t know what they are going through. I learned that to be strong you have to be weak sometimes. I am a better person than who I was before. I hate diabetes and I would never wish it upon anyone else, but I do not regret who I have became because of it.

I refuse to let a 6mm needle rule my life. No blood sugar will ever prevent me from becoming who I want to be.


I Am Not My Diagnosis

I am NOT my diagnosis

By: Shaily Parmar


“You don’t look diabetic?”

“Did you eat too much sugar as a kid?”

“So does your sugar stays high or low?”

“Can you eat that?”

“But you’re not even fat!!!?”

“You should try alternate therapy”

“Please don’t do that in front of me!”

“I thought only kids have type 1!” (Seriously?!)

“I don’t know how you puncture yourself several times a day/I could never be a diabetic …”

Like we could make the choice not to have it!!

Being a type 1 diabetic, you must have probably heard one or more of the above things and many more other responses when you tell someone for the first time that you are a diabetic.

I was 21, when I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic with a BG of 553. So I have spent more time with my active pancreas than my other type 1 friends who were diagnosed at a much early age. I know it’s a huge amount to take in when you’re newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The memory of the moment of the diagnosis is a profound one. The moment that distinctly sep the past and the future. A choice is made for you without your consent. It’s usually a huge shock and we wonder how we’re going to cope with such life-altering news.

Most of us are misinformed, have little or no idea about this auto-immune disease. It’s not unusual. I, for one, had absolutely no clue about type 1 diabetes prior to being diagnosed. I was hospitalized for a week.

After I was discharged, I tried handling this new world of diets, medications and monitoring blood glucose levels. Life style changes that I made were not so difficult but they were not so straightforward either.

It could be overwhelming and terrifying and naturally one would feel that: ‘Now my life will be limited. This disease will weigh me down’, but fortunately I felt no such hindering emotions.

I don’t know why but from the moment I was diagnosed I accepted the fact that this is happening and I needed to readily accept it to control it before it could control me and my life. I knew this was life’s reality. I had to do what was required and I did. There is no escape, especially not by repeatedly asking, ‘Why me?’

There is denial first, then there is bargaining, then comes acceptance and then finally the peace of acceptance.

The faster you accept it, the easier it becomes to live with it. I wouldn’t say to get over it because you cannot get over it. But yes eventually it becomes easy to carry it with you. We all come to terms with having diabetes in our own way and at our own pace.

There are challenges everyday in living with type 1, injecting yourself with insulin and pricking your fingers to check your blood sugar multiple times a day being the most challenging and painful(yet tolerable). You’ll hear this remark from others from time to time: “How could you do this to yourself every day? I could not.”

But I say, “Yes, you could.” It takes 15 seconds to take one insulin shot. Four times such shots adds to one minute. It takes probably 8 seconds to check blood sugar. Doing it (at least) three times takes 25 seconds. So that sums up to only a minute and half in your entire day.

I think I can manage that because I love my life and want to keep living it.

I know it isn’t just one day. Its going be everyday for the rest of your life until a cure is found. No breaks. No vacations. Wherever you go diabetes will ride along with you. But isn’t your life worth it?

Taking timely insulin shots, eating healthy and following a decent exercise regime should ensure good control; still it is highly possible not to get normal blood sugars. But hey that’s why you’re called a diabetic!

The thing is that even after doing everything right sometimes you won’t get perfect blood sugars. It’s not easy and it’s tricky but don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t live up to those expectations. Give yourself some room to make mistakes.

Managing diabetes is a huge learning curve. A curve that never stops teaching. So be a constant learner.

Higher the mountain, treacherous the path. There will a lot of blood sugar swings which can and will get your emotions messed up. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go as you planned.

It is a progression over time. Gather as much knowledge as you can. We are all trying our best and we can’t let diabetes get the best of us. Just remember there are bigger problems than a 4mm needle.

I thought I have got it all sorted out. Eat right (and by eat right I don’t mean give up your favorite food). Count carbs. Take your shot. Check blood sugar. Too high? Take correction dose. Check again. Too low? Have a snack. Be physically active. Don’t take stress. Sleep well. Repeat. Day after day it’s a silent battle. No finish line. So is that it? Sounds simple! But that’s an oversimplification.

It is far more complicated than I could precisely explain because food and taking insulin are few of the hundred other things that affect blood sugar.

The other hundred things play a huge part and they are hard to calculate. Of course we are required to be consistent in our efforts but that doesn’t guarantee a consistency in blood sugars.

I have been a diabetic for almost 5 years now and I am still learning. You change one factor and then there is a whole new curve to learn.  Some good days everything is so smooth and simply a part of routine, like brushing your teeth. And on some not-so-good-days, diabetes is determined to break our spirits. And in days like these, the fear of long term complications haunts us.

Although this fear never quite eludes us. There can be too much negativity and darkness in battling with type 1. Please don’t let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.

Diagnosed with non- preventable, irreversible disease is a life-transforming event. It could take you on a roller coaster of emotions. In the blink of an eye, your life is changed. Your ambitions, desires and priorities need re-adjustment. Those spontaneous plans you used to make, now needs planning ahead and always being primed to avoid the worst simultaneously being prepared if things don’t go as predicted.

Doing the same thing a hundred times and getting different results. Living just like others with school, jobs, and sports but with just a few extra hassles. Looking just like everyone else knowing we are not just like everyone else. Why? Because when diabetes allotted us the task of performing the job of an internal organ, it also gave us adequate strength to be one.

Diabetes gives us tears, yet it also makes us proud of ourselves. If diabetes has given you a huge responsibility, it has also made you mature beyond your age. I have never met an immature diabetic! It scares you but also gives you courage and hope that you’re not alone. Hope that a cure will be found.

Yes, my life has changed. I believe it has changed for better.

I have a wonderful life. A loving family. Amazing doctors and fantastic friends. I have not lost my dreams to diabetes. I have obtained a significant knowledge about diabetes. Education and encouragement are what we need to live longer and better lives. You’re NOT your diagnoses. You’re a fighter. You have a mission and a purpose. And if despite all these, I am here and if I can do it then you can too.

Let me conclude this with a quote from Mary Anne Radmacher, especially for those who are newly diagnosed, and for those who are struggling with diabetes and looking for inspiration-

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

After all, we have tomorrows for a reason!


“Don’t You Ever Get Tired Of Talking About Diabetes?”

By: Jodie Lopez

Blog: Type One Mom Blog


Not too long ago, I was asked, “Don’t you ever get tired of talking about diabetes?”. The question took me back a minute, because I wasn’t sure how to react. I didn’t know if I should be offended, confused or laugh. Did someone really ask me that? I didn’t know what to say, but within a split second I was able to give the most simple answer. Yes. I absolutely get tired of talking about diabetes. I wish I didn’t have to talk about it at all. I wish this silent, invisible disease didn’t exist.

Who wants to talk about a disease that could potentially cut someone’s life short?

Who wants to talk about a disease that their child has?

Who wants to talk about a disease that is so unpredictable?

Who wants to talk about a disease that there is no cure for?

So yes, I get tired of talking about diabetes. Wouldn’t you?

Here’s the other piece to this, though. Giving up is not an option.

As tiresome as it might be, as long as we keep pushing forward, there will be a cure in my lifetime. I look forward to the day when my son doesn’t have to wear an electronic device to keep him alive. I look forward to the day when getting up three times in the middle of the night doesn’t mean life or death. I look forward to the day when people, young and old, all over the world, don’t have to go to sleep wondering if their going to wake up because of a low blood sugar. And when that day comes (and it WILL come), I’ll know that all those people will never have to worry about going to sleep in fear of not waking up.

Blue November is officially Diabetes Awareness Month, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to tell you about the question I was asked not too long ago. But most importantly, I hope you’ll join me in the fight to find a cure, because giving up is not an option.


when it's not the flu - life threatening illness

When It’s Not The Flu: A Life-threatening Illness That Is Commonly Misdiagnosed

It is fairly common when someone becomes thirsty, tired, nauseous, or begins vomiting they’re diagnosed with the flu. While it very may well be the flu, it could also be Type 1 Diabetes and should always be ruled out. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the beta cells in the pancreas and therefore can no longer produce insulin.

Type 1 Diabetes isn’t always the first cause that comes to mind because diabetes is thought to be linked to diet and obesity. But Type 1 Diabetes is not a result of lifestyle choices. There is no known cause or cure at this time. But researchers believe genetics and environmental factors can play a role in the onset.

Normally Type 1 Diabetes isn’t considered until the adult or child is severely ill with DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis). Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a toxic condition where the blood sugar levels rise and can’t distribute energy to the cells in the body due to lack of insulin.

For someone that was initially diagnosed with the flu, they would soon notice the symptoms not getting better but progressively worse; over a few days to weeks. However, time is very crucial to begin treatment for diabetes in order to avoid varies complications or death.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes can come on suddenly

There has been many cases where a patient has been sent home with the flu. Without further evaluating if it could possibly be Type 1 Diabetes. A mother of type 1 diabetic (Amy Waddington) shares about her son’s diagnosis and hopes her story can help educate and inform others of Type 1 Diabetes and the symptoms to be aware of.

Mother states: 

“3 years ago he was 13. He was eating and drinking like a typical teenager yet he was fading away. He had energy of a 90 year old man, he was pale, his eyes were sunken in, his clothes were hanging off his bony body because he had lost about 15 pounds. We took him to his pediatrician, desperately wanting answers. We were told to “bring him back next week if he still wasn’t feeling well.”

“Two days later, my dear friend came over. She looked at my son and instantly started sobbing. It was then when I realized I wasn’t waiting until next week. I quickly took him to the emergency room. The triage nurse took one look at him and asked me if he was diabetic. Of course I said no. She said she smelled a fruity odor on his breath. I wasn’t really sure what she meant by that. She immediately rushed us to the back…within seconds of getting there they were pumping insulin into his failing body. I felt like I was watching the show ER…it was so scary.”

not the flu - type 1 diabetes symptoms“I did not know then, what I know now. We could of lost our son that night, or that weekend had we not taken him to the hospital when we did. His body was starving for insulin. His pancreas was no longer producing it. One more day without insulin and our story could be different. I believe God used my friend to spare my son’s life and he is now using us to share our story & educate people about this horrible disease.”

If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, consult with your physician immediately for further testing.

All it takes is a simple blood glucose test that takes 2 seconds to rule out diabetes. To have an accurate diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes a test for the diabetes-related (islet) autoantibodies is necessary. Once starting insulin therapy, monitoring blood glucose levels, and consulting regularly with an endocrinologist; Type 1 Diabetes can be well managed.

“The misdiagnosis of type 1 diabetes is on the rise. Educate yourself, your family and your friends on the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes as minutes make all the difference.” –Dancing4Diabetes

For more information on Type 1 Diabetes:

http://www.jdrf.org/about/about-type-1-diabetes-t1d/

https://beyondtype1.org/what-is-t1d/

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/recently-diagnosed/

“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.



 

10 Gifs That Nail What's Like To Have Diabetes

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

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

1.  Always being prepared.

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

You just never know.

 

2. Serious math skills.

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

I’m still not a fan of math though.

 

3. The expense.


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

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

 

4. The waiting game.

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

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

 

5. The cranky highs.

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

You might also want to keep a safe distance.

 

6. The tired lows.

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

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

 

7. The looks and stares.

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

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

 

8. Seeing the Endocrinologist.

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

No big deal.

 

9. The judgement.

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

And no, diabetes is not caused by eating sugar.

 

10. Just being awesome.

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

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

Source: GIPHY


10 gifs that nail what's like to have diabetes


 

Perfection Does Not Exist In a Life With Diabetes

Perfection Does Not Exist With Diabetes –

Perfection Does Not Exist With Diabetes –

By: Christina Blackmon

15 years ago my life changed forever when I was told I had Type 1 diabetes.

I didn’t even know what diabetes was. I think I thought it meant you can’t eat sugar anymore. Little did I know that when I turned 20 years old my pancreas unexplainably stopped working properly and that would mean that my entire life would now depend on a hormone called insulin being injected into my body for the rest of my life.

Without those insulin injections I would die.

Little did I know that for the rest of my life I would be completely dependent upon this hormone. I also had no idea that my days thereafter would consist of being measured 8-10 times per day by a number. A number I get from pricking myself. Knowing that important number so that I can mathematically calculate how much insulin to inject to maintain good blood glucose range based on a formula that changes hourly without notice.

I also had no idea how unpredictable and unreliable my body would be and that there would be factors outside my control that dictated what my blood glucose levels would be despite eating and calculating “correctly”.

That my blood glucose would go up and down like a roller coaster ride and effect every fiber of my being. That sometimes I would want to crawl out of my own skin to escape the pain I was enduring. That I would go from being completely calm and rational to completely angry and irritable. That my pain would be invisible to others because it’s all happening internally without notice to anyone else.

There is no exact science or prescription to manage diabetes and everyday is a guessing game. Knowledge became my power and I studied and researched everything I could about this unforgivable disease. I found that it’s high maintenance and takes no breaks or vacations.

But I also found some tools that would help me. Tools like an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor that could help me manage every second, every minute, every hour of every day for the rest of my life.

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. I will always be dependent upon insulin.

Even with my tools – just like every piece of technology they fail me. But despite this disease I have 2 beautiful healthy kids and one on the way and no diabetic complications. Some days I feel so strong like I can do anything then others I lack the motivation to keep going.

But I never give up. I keep fighting and will keep fighting till there’s no fight left in me.

I don’t ever see any other option. I’m very thankful for the tools I have to manage this disease with everything I have and love when I can encourage or inspire other diabetics to do the same.

People ask me all the time is your diabetes controlled and I just want to laugh…what does that even mean??!! I just always say it’s not perfect and will never be. I don’t try to maintain perfection because diabetes means having bad days. I try to have more good than bad days and not focus on perfection.

Perfection does not exist in a life with diabetes.



 

Top 10 Myths About Type 1 Diabetes

Top 10 Myths About Type 1 Diabetes

(Photo Credit: Josie Nicole)

Top 10 Myths About Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is one of the most misunderstood diseases, and it accounts for 5-10% of all diabetes cases. Not many people understand the complexity or severity unless personally affected by it. Much of the stigma surrounding diabetes is brought on by myths and misconceptions. But as the prevalence is increasing worldwide, it’s important to debunk many of these myths and share the facts about Type 1 Diabetes.

 

MYTH: Type 1 Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar –

FACT: Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. There is no known cause but it’s believed that genes and environmental factors play a role.

 

MYTH: People with Type 1 Diabetes can be cured with diet and exercise –

FACT: There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes (YET). Yes, diet and exercise is beneficial for anyone including those managing diabetes, but it can not treat nor reverse it.

 

MYTH: Sugar is off limits with Type 1 Diabetes –

FACT: People with Type 1 Diabetes are not limited to what they can eat. Insulin is administered to cover the carbs or sugar they eat. Too much sugar is bad for everyone, but moderation is key. Sugar is also needed and life-saving for diabetics with low blood sugar.

 

MYTH: If it’s sugar-free then it’s okay for Type 1 Diabetics to go ahead and consume –

FACT: Actually, many sugar-free foods are loaded with carbohydrates. In many cases where they have more carbohydrates than a product just made with pure sugar.  It’s always important to check nutrition labels because product packaging can be deceiving.

 

MYTH: You won’t get Type 1 Diabetes if you live a healthy and active lifestyle –

FACT: Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by ones’ lifestyle choices. Diet, activity level, and weight have no effect with the onset of Type 1 Diabetes.

 

MYTH: If a Type 1 Diabetics blood sugar is low or high then it’s their fault –

FACT: A low or high blood sugar can happen for many reasons – (insulin, exercise, illness, stress, hormones, etc.) There is no fault, just the nature of the disease at hand.

 

MYTH: Type 1 Diabetes is hereditary –

FACT: Genetics can be complicated and more studies are being done on this. While many who are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes may have no family history; research shows genetic factors play an important role in disease susceptibility. The pattern of inheritance is complex, and the development of disease is thought to be determined by an interaction between genetic predisposition and environmental triggers.

 

MYTH: People with Type 1 Diabetes shouldn’t have children –

FACT: Women with Type 1 Diabetes who manage their diabetes well during pregnancy can give birth to healthy babies.

 

MYTH: Type 1 Diabetes is the bad kind –

FACT: All types of diabetes are serious. Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes being the most common types. But with proper management, people with diabetes can live relatively normal, healthy lives.

 

MYTH: Adults can’t get Type 1 Diabetes –

FACT: Type 1 Diabetes does not discriminate – it affects babies, children, teens, and adults. While type 1 diabetes develops in children or adolescents, diagnosis as an adult happens as well. Which is why the name Type 1 Diabetes no longer goes by “Juvenile Diabetes”.


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Would You Kill Me For a Tax Cut?

Would You Kill Me For a Tax Cut?

By: Ashlyn Mills

Blog: A Trail Of Test Strips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would YOU kill ME for a tax-cut?

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

TAX CUT

Please contact your senator, my life depends on it.

-Ashlyn 

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

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

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

Diabetes…

How do I describe diabetes?

Or what is it like to live with it?

When you look on the internet it’s defined as mostly sugary foods, cake, BigMac’s, soda, and a Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks. A Unicorn Frappuccino is loaded with sugar, but it WILL NOT cause diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes:

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

It’s funny right?

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

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

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

When I was diagnosed

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

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

I grew up hiding my diabetes.

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

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

This all seems harsh and dramatic.

But unfortunately it is.

Yes, life is tough. But so is diabetes.

I don’t let this disease define me.

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


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