Matt

 
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Age: 29 Year Diagnosed: 2009 Location: San Diego, Ca

“Diabetes can really suck, but it doesn't have to. Hear me out. We all have this chronic lifelong disease and (at this point) nothing can change that. What we can change however is our outlook. We control our reactions to the crap that life throws at us. One of my favorite quotes from Viktor E. Frankl says this, "When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves." Finding a single positive each day was my first step towards enjoying life again and fighting back against diabetes. The shocking part? I'm at a point now where I'm thankful for my diabetes (not to say I wouldn't trade my life savings for a cure), but having diabetes guided me into my career path as a heath coach for diabetics and it gave me a passion for fitness and nutrition. It showed me how much I thrive on helping other people. And on top of it all, it gave me a community of amazing people all fighting back against this frustrating disease. While diabetes does suck sometimes, I challenge you to look for the diamond in the rough. Find your positives, and learn to thrive with diabetes.”


Maribeth

 
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Age: 23 Year Diagnosed: 1997 Location: New York, NY

“In a world where being ‘different’ can be very isolating, a camp for girls with type 1 diabetes was the first place I ever felt fully comfortable and understood. Knowing how important this community was to me, I sought after those same feelings of comfort and understanding in personal and professional capacities. I've become a small part of an extraordinary network of people (and ride-or-die friends) who have shown me what true compassion and acceptance looks like.

Beyond making connections with others, I encourage those living with T1D to learn about the science of the disease. The developing research is fascinating, exciting, and moving faster than ever. Enroll in a clinical trial, investigate the advancements of therapies like beta cell encapsulation, and learn about the possibilities of immunotherapy treatment. There is so much to look forward to.”



Shaw

 
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Age: 36 Year Diagnosed: 1994 Location: San Diego, Ca

What a time to be alive... In less than 100 years, people with diabetes have gone from near certain death, to having technology that provides near constant blood sugar readings and automatically adjusts insulin delivery levels based on those blood sugar readings. From no information at all about the state of your diabetes to massive amounts of information 24/7 that can be used to inform treatment. From having no idea about how a child, spouse, or parent was doing with their diabetes at any given point, to having a real-time view of a loved one's blood sugar levels even when they're thousands of miles away. We've come so far, but the best is yet to come. Embrace all that's available to you, figure out what works best for you, and use it to improve your health now and in the future. Ask your doctor about options, or suggest them if they aren't brought up first. It's in your best interest to be the expert on your diabetes, including your options for things that can help keep you healthy.

YDMV (Your Diabetes May Vary). It's great that there's a thriving community of people like you that offer tips and hacks, but you're an individual and must learn how YOUR diabetes works. If someone else says a particular tactic works for them, try it out, but expect that it won't work exactly the same way for you. Be prepared to experiment over and over until you get things mostly right. Then be prepared for life to happen and throw you a temporary curve ball that you'll need to adjust to as well. This is the life. Just about everything you can think of can affect your blood sugar either up or down. The key to avoiding stress and frustration is to expect the unexpected, be flexible and prepared to adjust as needed.”



Basma

 
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Age: 22 Year Diagnosed: 2000 Location: San Diego, Ca

“The distinct moment I knew advocacy was my passion was my first time to Capitol Hill for the American Diabetes Association's Call to Congress. I was on the Hill with my mom and the rest of the advocates and we were getting ready to sit down with Congressman Scott Peters, our local representative for California. We all had our talking points, and I started explaining why insulin transparency and affordability was important to me. In that moment, while sitting with Senator Peters and truly speaking from the heart, I knew I was doing what I was meant to do - bringing a voice to the millions of people living with diabetes that can't be heard. That day, I felt that I was part of the change and contributing to the cause for diabetes advocacy. Our members of congress read enough about diabetes on pamphlets and various legislative bills, but talking to a group of people living firsthand with the disease along with their families forces them to listen to our concerns, answer our questions, and look into our eyes when we share our fears. Senator Peters was welcoming and listened to all of our stories, and shared his own ties to diabetes. But most importantly, the connection between everyone in the room was that of camaraderie towards one common goal that we all wanted to see. There is nothing more powerful then using your voice to make a change, and my first year on Capitol Hill will forever be the light that guides me to fight for a better future for everyone living with diabetes.

My advice to anyone with diabetes or someone who has been newly diagnosed would be to trust their guts. Diabetes doesn't get any "easier," but it gets better the more you encounter situations that might be scary at first or unknown territory. The more you experience the highs and lows (pun intended!), the more you realize that you can handle anything diabetes throws at you. We are not given a guide book, but we create our own - find what works for you and makes you feel the best and take the best care of yourself. Lean on people around you: family, friends, coworkers - find your "people" that understand you and are there for you whether you need to vent or need an opinion. You are stronger than you think - don't let the bad days or blood sugar readings get you down. You take care of your body everyday, and should give yourself credit for all that you do! You are beautiful, strong, and a warrior - and nothing, not even diabetes can ruin that!”


Tucker

 
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Age: 19 Year Diagnosed: 2018 Location: Summerville, SC

“The most embarrassing episode of diabetes comes just before I was diagnosed. I remember wetting the bed one night, and the day after blaming it on my dog. To this day, my family has no idea of the true nature of the incident’s origin.

A thought I would like to share is that while diabetes is considered a hindrance and a setback, I view my diagnoses as a catalyst for spiritual and mental growth. I have been a follower of Jesus and trusted Him as my Savior most all of my life, but nothing has made me depend on his Sovereignty more than having T1D. Searching for ‘why’ I have diabetes on my own has led to endless hours, dark thoughts, and lonely places, but when I look to Jesus and trust in His Word, His Light shines on the Darkness. Frustration and resentment are present, but I am learning to trust my Heavenly Father with greater fervor and love. As for making me a more mature individual, having Type 1 Diabetes has instilled an unparalleled since of resolve and confidence in me. If I can handle diabetes on a daily basis, I can handle anything. I am not ashamed of the pump I ware, so clearly seen my confused bystanders. It is what I have, not who I am. Because of the growth I have seen in myself, I do not see my diagnoses as an ailment, but as an agent of success.

The trick to handling T1D is always being one step ahead of the game. Following the trends, having a plan, never leaving the house without a snack. These are simple steps to ensuring you are staying happy and healthy.”




Charlotte

 
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Age: 23 Year Diagnosed: 2014 Location: Kansas City, Mo

A few weeks after being diagnosed my freshman year of college I was eating dinner in the cafeteria by myself when I noticed an upperclassman watching me inject insulin. I made eye contact with him and he immediately says "wow are you seriously taking drugs in public?". I jokingly responded yes but before I could explain that it was insulin, he grabbed all of his belongings and ran to a new table across the cafeteria. Later I heard other students commenting on my injection and took it upon myself to approach their tables with my insulin pen to explain their misunderstanding. Needless to say many students learned what type 1 diabetes is and it gave me something to laugh about.

Being diagnosed/living with diabetes can be isolating but there's a large community of people who want nothing but to support you during your triumphs and tribulations. Reach out to others living with diabetes, even if it's just someone you follow on social media and have never met before. You never know who you will meet in the diabetes community and what you can learn from them both in terms of diabetes and everyday life.

The best piece of advice I have is to attend diabetes events and meetups, especially as a young adult. I've learned so many helpful diabetes tips and tricks from conversations with other people my age also living with diabetes. I've met people from across the country experiencing the same highs and lows which has given me a group of people who I can call on when I'm having a rough diabetes day.”


Jiggy

 
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Age: 26 Year Diagnosed: 2011 Location: Oceanside, Ca

“Life with Type 1 Diabetes is so much more than a medical condition, living with a chronic illness, and having the discipline to choose to be the hero of our own selves every day (we save our own lives). It's so much more than what people see on the outside - the pricking, the checking, the injecting, the doctors, etc. For me, mental health is such a crucial part of this entire experience. I was diagnosed with depression before I was diagnosed with T1D, and I've seen my triggers skyrocket since I'd been T1D. There are actual studies done that showed that people with diabetes have a greater risk of depression than people without it. There ARE people out there who look to their supplies to attempt/commit suicide - including me when I was a Sophomore in college in my dorm room. Our community is thriving more than ever thanks to social media and the easiness to be able to connect with others. I'm taking it on as a personal responsibility to make sure my T1D squad is conscious of their mental health state and embracing their T1D journey with empowerment. I see our community as a family, and we all we got. Gotta take care of one another.

Get plugged in to the community right away. For hope, for inspiration, for recommendations, for tips, for DONATIONS, even. Our community is the BEST, most EMPATHETIC, and social media make it so easy to connect.”


Drake

 
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Age: 20 Year Diagnosed: 2005 Location: Hardinsburg, Ky

“Your life is yours and what you make of it. Nothing can hold you back, not even T1D. If anything use it as an advantage to go out and do fundraisers, meet new and exciting people, and promote a positive outlook from a negative disease. You are a champion! Let’s make Type One Type None!”



Sabra

 
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Age: 22 Year Diagnosed: 2007 Location: Fort Worth, Tx

“While I never would have CHOSEN to be diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I can't help but appreciate the role it's played in helping me become the person I am today. Diabetes has helped me appreciate each moment in my life more, since every moment I live with diabetes is one more than I would have had without modern medicine. It's helped create a sense of empowerment in me, because if I can handle diabetes, what else can I accomplish in this world? And finally, it's given me a sense of identity. No matter where I go, or what I do, I will always be "the diabetic girl". And I'm okay with that! It's my ticket to being a part of the amazing T1D community! A community where you have an instant connection with someone you have just met. Diabetes is why I am pursuing a career in nursing, and part of how I know that I'll be a good one.”

Belle

 
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Age: 20 Year Diagnosed: 2014 Location: San Leandro, Ca

“The year I was diagnosed I also got my first insulin pump. I have always been someone who isn't very shy, and will always speak up for myself. I was going to a concert one night, and I had to go through a metal detector. I was wearing a dress and had my pump clipped on my underwear underneath. When I went through the detector, it sensed my pump and made it go off. I told the security that I was a type 1 diabetic and my insulin pump is what made it alarm. The security didn't understand what my pump was and kept saying I alarmed the machine and they had to pat me down. I repeated that I had an insulin pump, but because they couldn’t see it, they still didn’t get it. I got so fed up with it that I pulled up my dress and basically flashed them. I told them that this was my pump and it was attached to me and that is what made the alarm go off. They looked at each other and just nodded at me and let me let me through. The look on their faces were priceless and they seemed to be more embarrassed than me!

When I was diagnosed I thought my life was over. I got very depressed and even went to therapy for it. At the time, my therapist told me something that I HATED. It made me so angry and I thought she was stupid because of it. She said, ‘You need to mourn. It is as if the old you is dead, and you are starting over as a different person. You need to feel sad and learn to accept the death of who you used to be. Then you’ll be able to accept the new life you have.’ Now looking back. She was right. You need to feel sad, and mourn your life before diabetes. Once you can do that, you are able to accept your new life and live your life to the fullest. I love the person I am now, and without diabetes I wouldn’t be the same resilient, hard working, and empathic person I am today.”



Paul

 
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Age: 26 Year Diagnosed: 1999 Location: Rochester, MN

“I’ve had diabetes for 20 years and through that time, I’ve grown to love it. Emotionally, it’s taken a lot of patience and acceptance to get to this point. For the first 10 years or so, I didn’t take care of myself. I never checked my BGs, I had scary lows and an incident with DKA. I distinctly remember during one of my endo appointments, my doctor sent my mom out of the room. He looked me square in the eye and told me if I didn’t shape up, I’d have complications in my 20s and I’d be dead in my 30s. This shook me to my core. We lost my aunt to T1D in her 30s. My uncles with T1D died young too. They were beautiful and loving people that were ripped from our family far too soon. It’s my mom and I now sharing this diabetes journey together, and I want to be there for her as much as she wants to be there for me. After that appointment, I talked extensively with my healthcare team and it was my nutritionist who really helped me turn things around. She treated me like a human being, not a number or another statistic. That is so important. I remember saying to her that denial had been holding me back, and that I was ready to accept my disease. I turned it around, and now that I’m almost 27, I’m so grateful I did. My disease is under excellent control. I’m hooked up to the latest CGM and pump technology. I’m researching T1D at the leading hospital on the planet. I started owning my diabetes, turned it into something positive and by doing so, I’ve built a life full of interest and purpose.

First, find your person. Someone who supports you and your diabetes 100%. A parent, a partner, a friend – anybody you know that will go to bat for you. My person is my mom, who also has T1D. I’m so thankful for her guidance over the years, and I honestly don’t think I’d be here today if it weren’t for her. Diabetes is messy, so it’s important to have your person that won’t judge you, your a1c, how you manage your BGs, etc. When you have diabetes, taking care of your mental health is so important and having that support system will get you through the really bad times and highlight your successes during the good times. Second, build a healthcare team that works for you. I LOVE going to my endocrinologist. At the end of the day, you’re paying your doctor to help you manage your diabetes, so find a team that honors this in a way that works for you and makes you happy. Finally, accept this disease and all it brings with it – the good and the bad. It’s easy to get discouraged, especially those days with stubborn highs. Embrace it. You’ve made it this far, and you’re stronger than you know. I always say God wouldn’t have given us this if it wasn't something we could handle. When allowed, diabetes might surprise you in the least expected way. You’ve got this.:



Fiona

 
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Age: 22 Year Diagnosed: 2015 Location: Hood River, OR

“Oh definitely the most embarrassing moment with Type 1 Diabetes was when I was on a first date. My friend knew I had type 1 Diabetes, but he didn't really know what it meant or what it was like to have type 1. We were sitting at the table chatting and all of a sudden I broke out in a sweat. I was crashing really fast with two arrows down on my Dexcom at 70mg/dL. He thought I had gotten so nervous about the date that I broke out in a sweat and was about to leave Thanks type 1, haha! I ordered a coke and came back to normalcy in a few minutes. The good thing was I got the chance to explain how Type 1 works and thankfully the evening got much better after that. We are good friends now and we still laugh about it.”


Jim

 
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Age: 66 Year Diagnosed: 1970 Location: Los Angeles, Ca

“Because I kept ignoring the sound alert I had on the Dexcom app on my phone, I switched the urgent low glucose alarm to a baby crying. And by crying, I mean screaming. I did this because it is impossible to ignore. The morning after I switched to this bellowing howl, I was going through security at the airport. As I stood in the line, I could feel my blood sugar dropping. When my bags were going through the x-ray machine, the baby started howling. What kind of monster sends his baby through the x-ray machine? It was an awkward situation. I turned to a woman who was waiting for her bags and said, "My blood sugar is low." The baby screamed. "Very low," I said. She stared at me. I don't even know if she heard it. I looked around nervously and made strange gestures at the x-ray machine. Thank gawd the TSA didn't pull me aside. I was not capable of explaining any of what was happening. When my bags came through, I swept it all up and ran to my gate, forgetting to get anything to eat - until it started crying again.

I’ve had diabetes almost 3 times longer (49 years) than I’ve not had diabetes (17 years). In the beginning, I warred with this stupid, destructive disease. And for the longest time, it beat the crap out of me. Lots of kicking, spitting, and scratching - with me always on the receiving end. But the truth is this: diabetes has been the most resolute, consistent, exacting guide for the bulk of my life. Diabetes has informed every single decision I’ve made about anything every one of the past 18,000+ days. I now think of it as a friend I need to take care of and keep my eye on, and the day I stopped fighting my chronic friend (because I realized he was I), and started accepting him, was the day WE stopped getting knocked around.”


Mary

 
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Age: 27 Year Diagnosed: 1998 Location: Palto Alto, Ca

“I think one of the highlights of my life was when I was in fourth grade and I got to speak about Type 1 diabetes at a San Francisco Giants Game, back when the park was still called PacBell Park. My brother and I got to stand on home plate and our names were on the big electronic sign for everyone to see. I still do some public speaking, but to this day I haven’t spoken at a cooler venue or to a bigger crowd than the one at that game…and I’m not sure I ever will? But weirdly I’m cool with that, because 4th grade me was clearly a boss and I’m so glad/thankful/lucky I got to have that cool experience.

Be confident in yourself and your diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is nothing to be ashamed of. Your marks, scars, bumps and bruises make you who you are. It can be hard to feel confident or normal - we are running around with machines strapped to our bodies, we whip out an insulin pen at a restaurant before a meal that we’ve carefully calculated the carbs for, we have to account for things and think in ways that most other people don’t - it’s hard to be playing the part of a human organ and still trying to live a normal life! But those things are what make us strong, unique and beautiful. Diabetes makes you grow more than you thought you ever could, and makes you realize just how capable you truly are. Be confident in yourself and your disease, and know that it is a strength, not a weakness.'“



Teresa

 
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Age: 30 Year Diagnosed: 2015 Year Diagnosed: Joliet, IL

The best thing I did when I got diagnosed was to immediately start finding other people with type one diabetes on Instagram. In this, I found a supportive community of people who get it. I found loads of tips and advice. I first learned about CGMs and pumps there. I learned to pre-bolus instead of taking the hospital's advice to take my shot when I'm about to eat in order to not ‘forget to eat.’ I learned that everyone does things differently to help manage their blood sugar. It's good to just not feel so alone in this.


David

 
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Age: 33 Year Diagnosed: 1998 Location: Humble, Tx

“I’ve recently been able to become part of the Diabetes community more here in Houston, and really enjoy being able to share the experience of living with T1D with my new friends. I’m a super techy person, so I’m always encouraging T1Ds to get a CGM or check out OpenAPS or Loop.”


Elizabeth

 
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Age: 24 Year Diagnosed: 2019 Location: Chicago, IL

“The first few weeks after I was diagnosed, I had a lot of “poor me” and “why me” moments. After having the disease for a few months, it may be weird to say but I don’t dislike my diabetes. I try not to think of diabetes in such a negative way anymore. Sure, it is a pain in the pancreas sometimes, but I have grown as a person through my diagnosis. I think one of the best things I did was reach out to other diabetics online and even ones that I used to know in college. Finding people who can relate to you and understand that diabetes is more than just a diet change can really help justify your feelings and create another platform of support. I went to a type one meetup the month after my diagnosis, created a diabetes-centered Instagram account, shared my diagnosis with all my friends and family, and started writing about my feelings in a blog online. I get frustrated at the lack of understanding in the world about type one diabetes, so it would be unfair if I didn’t try to educate and share my story with the people I surround myself with. I don’t want to hide my diabetes – I want to display the disease proudly and share my experiences with others to help them learn from my mistakes. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I think diabetes happened to me for many reasons. It’s only been a few months, and I have already found a few of those reasons— most importantly the many new friendships with people I would have never spoken to if we all had perfectly-functioning pancreases.

My best advice to anyone with diabetes is to not be so hard on yourself. After I was diagnosed, I went online and researched everything like crazy trying to solve every issue I thought I might have with diabetes before it even happened to me. I got worked up about my body not having “normal” reactions to my favorite meals, and when my blood sugar spiked I got discouraged. I am in dental school, and I have that perfectionist mindset which is a blessing and a curse. I learned a lot about diabetes in dental school and how much the disease can impact overall oral and systemic health if left uncontrolled. I had an A1C of over 13 at my diagnosis, so knowing this and having a general knowledge of how high blood sugar can damage your body scared me into basically banning most sugar from my diet and being a crazy careful carb counter. Thankfully, I have learned that I can still have decent control over my sugars without saying no to every food I used to eat. I have a huge sweet tooth, so it only took a few weeks of trying to unsweeten my body before I realized there was no way I could keep avoiding chocolate chip cookies for the rest of my life!! Does every insulin dose I give always cover my carbs exactly? No. Do I have to eat low carb every day to have good control over my diabetes? No. Do I still stress about going low or spiking too high after meals? Of course. I guess what I am saying is, I have found that it is better to laugh off the bad days with diabetes instead of dwelling on the mistakes you will inevitably make. I have noticed that when something is not going the way I want in terms of my diabetes management, beating myself up only makes my blood sugars worse! Diabetes isn’t a joke, but when you start to give yourself room to make mistakes and laugh things off, it really helps sweeten your perspective.”


Danica

 
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Age: 26 Year Diagnosed: 2003 Location: Portland, Oregon

“I think the hardest part of diabetes is that it is a chronic condition with absolutely no breaks. Diabetes doesn't sleep or take vacations. That's why I think it is important to take it one day (sometimes even one blood sugar!) at a time. Focus on today, and how to make today's blood sugars the best they can be. And if things don't go the way you planned, it's just today! There is always another chance tomorrow.”


Angela

 
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Age: 38 Year Diagnosed: 1999 Location: La Grange, IL

“Dating with type one is pretty funny. (*disclaimer* totes not dating anymore. totes engaged.) I went pretty low on a first date and I was a sweaty mess. I have hypoglycemia unawareness which means that I sometimes have no idea that I am low until death is upon me. When I felt my bangs wet with sweat against my forehead, I excused myself with all the casual coolness I could muster and looked like a drunk as I tried to find the bathroom. Needless to say, I fumbled with the Skittles bag in the bathroom stall and they spilled all over the floor, bouncing off my cute heels with some plopping into the stall next to me. I, of course, squatted down and ate them off the floor of a public bathroom in a Chicago bar. Standard rules don't apply when you are low. If you already read this story on my blog I'm glad you got to read it again here. It's that good.

It took me some time to put on my Type One Diabetic Pride sash. Being diagnosed at age 18 in 1999, when texting wasn't even a thing yet and Facebook did not exist, there was not a community for me. Years later, I discovered some type one Instagram influencers and my mind was blown. I was not, in fact, the only cool type one diabetic on the planet. Find your diatribe, find your diabetic people. Even if they are only your friends on social media, the connection and understanding is real. We alphas have to unite.

Diabetic Advice and Hacks: don't forget to subtract your blessed fiber from your blessed carbs**don't forget to bolus for protein and fat because everything we eat eventually turns to glucose, my pals**but do not treat a low with avocado or bacon**keep a paper clip with your Omnipod so you can puncture that sucker when she is screaming at you**don't assume that you can't lose body fat or build muscle cause you have type one**always run up to a stranger if you see that they also have type one**be nice to type twos**donate all of your unused diabetic supplies**use it freely to get out of stuff**rotate your sites**don't leave fruit snacks in a hot car**it's okay to eat when you are high (you know what I mean)**don't hide that you have it--let's bring awareness so we can find a cure.”



Anita

 
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Age: 37 Year Diagnosed: 1998 Location: Chicago, IL

“Well, early in my diagnosis, I was at the bowling alley and we were going to grab some food. So I gave myself my injection for what I wanted to order. Unfortunately, my dad got held up and by the time he was ready get us something to eat, my glucose levels had bottomed out and (I was told - because I don't remember) I was jumping from table top to table top dancing while the workers of the bowling alley were trying to get me down!

The more you fight against this disease the harder you will find it to be! I say this all the time but we should not try so hard to be "normal"! Anyone who has ever accomplished anything in life was never considered "normal"! So let's our amazing DiaBadAss selves!