Molly: Staying Positive with Diabetes

Image courtesy of Greg Weintraub
Image courtesy of Greg Weintraub

When were you diagnosed and with what type of diabetes?

“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on Christmas Eve in 1997. I was four years old at the time.”

What is your greatest daily struggle?

“My greatest daily struggle is to maintain a positive attitude. Some people might assume that having a condition like diabetes has a largely negative impact on my lifestyle. That can be true on occasion, but over time, I’ve realized how important it is to maintain an optimistic outlook. I find it far more motivating when it comes to diabetes related and non-diabetes related issues alike. It’s easier said than done, but I accept it as a challenge that improves the quality of my life overall.”

Have you found any positives about having diabetes?

“I think the most positive aspect about having diabetes is the fact that it has brought me closer to many people. For instance, my mom is also a type 1, so our bond is made even more special. It’s also brought me closer to my dad, who does everything he can to help take care of me and my mom. Last, but certainly not least, it’s allowed me to connect with other people with diabetes in a truly unique way. Through my involvement with the College Diabetes Network and the Diabetes Online Community, I’ve heard innumerable and incredible stories that reflect the resilience of people affected by diabetes. As such, my diabetes has introduced great relationships to my life that I wouldn’t replace.”

What is the best advice you would give to a newly diagnosed person?

“The best advice I could give to a newly diagnosed person is to take everything one day at a time. Some days they will have much better control than others, and I think this is important to acknowledge. It can be tough to handle the ups and downs of diabetes, but acceptance of the lifestyle is a major component of succeeding at it.”

Do you test in public? Why or why not?

“I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel comfortable testing in public. I grew up with my diabetes, so it just feels natural to test and administer insulin regardless of my location. Of course, this means that I might get a few funny looks or curious questions from time to time, but I don’t mind at all because it’s another outlet through which I can be a diabetes advocate.”

What is your greatest accomplishment?

“One of my greatest accomplishments so far is earning my bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I completed my undergraduate career in three and a half years, signifying a huge achievement both professionally and emotionally. My transition to life as a college student was a big adjustment, and I was concerned about how I would handle my diabetes away from my support system at home. I quickly proved to myself that I could do anything I set my mind to and excelled at school, meeting a variety of wonderful new people and engaging in life on campus. Moreover, I was extremely lucky to find full-time employment mere weeks after graduating, which showed me that my hard work was bound to pay off.”

You can learn more about Molly by reading her interesting and creative blog posts at asweetlife or follow her on twitter @mj_asweetlife

Robin: A Story Of Strength

Robin and Gov Island2

When were you diagnosed and with what type of diabetes?

“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was six. Almost thirty years ago!”

What is your greatest daily struggle?

“My greatest daily struggle… If I weren’t writing these answers for a blog on diabetes, I don’t think diabetes would even come to mind for this question. I’d probably answer along the lines of: unfriendly co-workers, sprinting drill exercises, filing taxes/paying bills, or being on time.”

It’s not that diabetes is easy to live with. It challenges me physically, emotionally, and psychologically on a regular basis. It’s more that I try to avoid wasting time feeling sorry for myself about it. There’s no cure for T1D (at least, not yet!), so I accept the ups and downs as a part of being who I am. By staying upbeat and healthy, I’m able to keep diabetes from becoming a negative focus in my life.”

Have you found any positives about having diabetes?

“Yes, definitely! I appreciate that diabetes has made me a more emotionally resilient, physically stronger, and overall healthier person. For more on this, you can read my article, “Thanks, Diabetes!” at https://brightlyfe.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/thanks-diabetes/”Robin and CGM2

What is the best advice you would give to a newly diagnosed person? 

“You can do it. Learn as much as you can, work closely with your medical team, reach out to your support network. Do your best, and remember to forgive yourself when things don’t always work out perfectly.”

What is your greatest accomplishment? 

“It might be the fact that I’ve achieved a lifetime of triumphs, both large and small.

It’s so common for people to express regret as they age; trying to hold onto their youth and pretending they aren’t getting older. But for me, I don’t think I will ever feel this way. I did a good job of being a young person. I learned a lot and succeeded on so many journeys. And I’m proud to be where I am now.

I look at every birthday as a badge of success, because I’ve overcome so many obstacles to get here! I’ve demonstrated incredible strength, endurance, compassion, self awareness, and motivation over the years.

So I might say that turning 34 is my greatest accomplishment so far.”

Learn more about Robin by following her on twitter @Robinrjsmith or read her posts at http://www.lyfebulb.com/blog/ . If you would like to contribute to our “Humans of Diabetes” blog please see the contact info on our “about” page. 

Doug: Conquering Marathons With Diabetes

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1. When were you diagnosed with diabetes?

“May 24th 1999, just under a month before my 21st birthday.”

2. What is your greatest daily struggle? 

“My greatest daily struggle is putting too much energy into what my #’s are too often. I find myself constantly looking at my pump display to see what my CGM is reading.”

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3. What is your greatest accomplishment? 

“My greatest accomplishment is the first marathon I finished. I couldn’t run a quarter mile on February 1, 2011 and in October I ran my first marathon. It wasn’t pretty but I finished. Since then I’ve done 6 more and have another scheduled for 10/4.”

4. Have you found any positives about having diabetes? 

“I’ve meet a lot of great people because of my diabetes and when I say met I use that word loosely because I haven’ t met 99% of them.  A lot of great diabetics on Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs.”

5. What is the best advice you would give a newly diagnosed person? 

“Things happen, you go high and you go low but test 8-10 times a day and make the necessary adjustments. I hear too many stories of people who don’t test and run all day in the 300’s and to be honest I usually ran 250 when I was diagnosed.”

6. How does having diabetes affect your ability to train for marathons?

Doug and his niece conquering the toddler trot four years in a row!
Doug and his niece conquering the toddler trot four years in a row!

“Diabetes affects my ability to train for marathons because of the constant struggle in maintaining blood sugars. No two days are the same, this weekend I ran 9.5 miles the same as I did two weeks ago and during the run two weeks ago I ranged 70-90 and needed to consume 150 carbs during whereas this week I only needed 30 grams of carb. I figure the difference was the amount of insulin on board prior to my departure and what I set my temp basal at during my long run schedule. I have found it is helpful to document everything you do so you can try to mimic the result and attempt to repeat it in the future. I know I need to see a dietician and probably should do some sports education to learn more about what I can eat to help sustain normalized blood sugars for long run activity.”

 Learn more about Doug’s training and accomplishments by following his entertaining and inspiring blog sweatabetes.wordpress.com or stay connected with Doug through twitter @salguodmai

Ally

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Does diabetes define who you are? 

“Diabetes is one aspect of who I am, but it is not the totality of who I am as a human being, friend, sister, coworker, grad student, coffee enthusiast, and more.  Has advocating for diabetes grown into a passion of mine which makes me a better person?  Absolutely.  I have learned through the example of strength that so many advocates and healthcare professionals provide.

My life is not all about diabetes, but diabetes affects decisions that many people on the outside probably would not guess that it does.  For example, I do not get on the elevator at work without my purse, just in case the elevator becomes stuck and I need insulin or juice while waiting to get out.  Little things like that shape you as a human being and teach mental fortitude.  They become a part of subconscious understanding with yourself: This is the hand I was dealt, and this is how I am going to handle it so that I can live my life fully.

No matter how difficult the day may be, I have never extinguished the hope in my heart (and in my pancreas) that there will one day be a cure for diabetes.  Until that day, my role is to continue the conversation about diabetes- to make sure that others understand how strong our community is in the face of a disease that is so often misunderstood in society and in the media.  We are human beings first and foremost, and numerous things make us who we are.  Advocacy is just one of them, but it is an important aspect of finding your purpose in the world.”

Learn more about Ally and her life with diabetes by visiting her light hearted and intriguing blog at verylightnosugar.com or follow her on twitter @verylightnosuga

Miss Idaho Contestant Overcomes Obstacles to Become National Inspiration

Cole Anneberg

Just one year ago, prior to taking the stage at the Miss Idaho competition, a contestant and now Congressional Award Bronze Medalist suffering from Type 1 diabetes, felt confliction about accessorizing her insulin pump during the Swimsuit competition in front of thousands of people.

Ultimately, Sandison chose to wear her insulin pump on stage to show support for Miss Idaho’s Outstanding Preteen McCall Salinas and her first-hand experience being a diabetic as well.

“She told me that she was too scared to get a pump herself, because she didn’t know what people would think or if they would say she looked weird,” said Sandison.

Miss Idaho's Sierra Sandison took the stage at the state's competition wearing her insulin pump during the Swimsuit Competition portion. Sandison stated on social media "Honestly, it is terrifying walking out on stage in a swimsuit, let alone attached to a medical device. My message to everyone, diabetic or not, is that we all have something that doesn't "measure up." Contributed Photo/Sandison Miss Idaho’s Sierra Sandison took the stage at the state’s competition wearing her insulin pump during the Swimsuit Competition portion. Sandison stated on social media “Honestly, it is terrifying walking out on stage in a swimsuit, let alone attached to a medical device. My message…

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