Amy

 
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Age: 24   Year Diagnosed: 2000   Location: Richardson, Tx

“I could write a novel full of thoughts, feelings, events, advice related to T1D, but this quote pretty much sums it up for me – ‘Although you didn’t choose to be a warrior, you were drafted into this battle, and you are bravely fighting.’  And thank you mom (!!!), for being my biggest advocate, motivator, and caretaker.”

Yves

 
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Name: Yves Age: 41 Year Diagnosed: 2016 Location: Madrid, Spain

“I was diagnosed almost 3 years ago in Mexico. No one in my family has diabetes. I was unable to realize that my body was showing symptoms. I did not know what my body was going through. I ended up in the ER and was diagnosed at the hospital. I had purchased a ticket to Europe prior to my diagnosis. After leaving the hospital I was afraid I would have to cancel my trip! I was very weak both physically and mentally. Luckily my Endo showed me so many things in 2 visits and told me that I didn't have to cancel my trip. From that day I knew everything would be different but I could manage to do everything I wanted to do, I just had to learn again in some cases how to do it.

Most of my challenges are emotional, how my highs and lows affect my mood, the three things that have helped me with this condition is having support from people around me, creativity and meditation, by creativity I mean watercolors, drawing and making things with my hands.

The best advice I have is to not limit yourself, always research and see how other T1D's have done it.”

Carr

 
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Age: 19 Year Diagnosed: 2008 Location: Orlando, Fl

“When my Dad was trying to teach me about money and asked me what I would do if I had $100, I said I would use it to donate to JDRF.

Don’t let your condition bring you down. Know that you can still eat whatever you want and do whatever you want as long as you fight.”



Jade

 
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Age: 26 Year Diagnosed: 2000 Location: San Pedro, Ca

“On the first day of one of my previous jobs, I had to call out, because my blood sugar was over 500 that morning. What a great way to start my first professional job ever!

In high school I was sent to the principal’s office by our school security for giving myself an insulin injection publicly on campus. Once I met with the principal she apologized to me for the situation. Unfortunately, the security guard had thought I was “shooting up”. He was clearly very wrong.

I would recommend to always keep a positive attitude! Type 1 Diabetes will never go away (unless we suddenly get a cure), so might as well have a good mindset.”




John

 
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Age: 36  Year Diagnosed: 1992  Location: Tustin, Ca

“My pick up line for my eventual wife was ‘hey, thats a nice insulin pump’.

My biggest piece of advice for other type ones is that carb counting and pre-bolusing make the biggest differences.

Take it a day at a time, you don’t have to be perfect.”


  





Saira

 
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  Age: 33  Year Diagnosed: 1996  Location: Tustin, Ca

“My most special story happened while I was serving in the Peace Corps. I was walking back into a meeting, he was walking out. I happened to be bolusing on my insulin pump and he commented: ‘Nice Insulin Pump’. I stopped in my tracks and asked him how he knew what it was, so pulled his matching one out. We've been together ever since. 

This disease can be overwhelming on some days, and just be something you manage in the background on others. Know that you are not alone on your hard days, and have a tribe cheering for you on your good days too. 

Find your tribe: it can be lonely without people who understand so being a part of the community can help shine some positivity on something that can overwhelm you otherwise.”


Aiyla

 
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Age: 4  Year diagnosed: 2016  Location: Tustin, Ca

“Sometimes I wish I could be like my little sister, who doesn't have Diabetes and doesn't have to wear pods or sensors. But I love Miss Lexi (my babysitter), and my friends Sebastian and June who I wouldn't have met without Diabetes. 

Painting pods, especially the ones my aunt made to look like Mickey Mouse makes it more fun to do site changes.”

Shawn

 
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Age: 29 Year Diagnosed: 2005 Location: Marina Del Rey, Ca

“When I was in college I was living with my roommate and at the time we hardly saw each other because of our class and work schedule. We had planned a guys night out and as fate decided it was a pump site change as well so to be safe I changed before going out. I had just started pump therapy and had no concept of ‘bleeders’. Needless to say, showing up at the bar to meet some friends gets a little awkward when the front of your shirt is bled through and you didn't notice!

It does get easier if you let it and take the time to understand. Try new things and know every T1D is different; what works for them might be disaster for you.”



Ariel

 
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Age: 29 Year Diagnosed: 2006 Location: Newark, NJ

"Growing up, I often found myself in circumstances where I was the ‘only’ in a room—the only woman, the only person of color, the only black girl, the only person with diabetes. That was enough to intimidate me and render me silent. But, as I’ve aged, I’ve realized the importance of my voice, my unique experiences and my opinion. My thoughts matter, they are valid and they are deserving of the attention of others. My one piece of advice for those of you feeling a bit timid, and afraid to claim your space within this chronic illness community is to feel your fear and do it anyway. We need your voice. We need your perspective. Claim your seat at the table.”


Taylor

 
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Age: 20 Year Diagnosed: 2009 Location: Freeland, MI

“Some students were bringing my government teachers some extra deserts they had made in cooking class. He was looking over the plate when he made a comment about how the plate should of come with extra insulin. I told he that I had some extra that I could spare. The whole class laughed and he looked super embarrassed!

Type 1 Diabetes can be an extremely hard disease to have, but I wouldn't regret a day of it. It has lead me to have some amazing opportunities, like attending JDRF's young adult conferences or working as a undergraduate research assistant in a lab that's working on advances towards a cure for Type 1. These opportunities have also led to me to meet some equally amazing people. Most importantly my diagnosis has allowed me to find something in life that I'm truly passionate about. I currently am pursuing a career in nursing, but my end goal is to just to help other Type 1 Diabetics.

Be prepared for everything! I can't count the amount of times I've ran out of insulin in the middle of school day, needed to change my pump site and didn't have one on my for gone low with nothing to treat it with. It causes a lot of stress that isn't necessary. Keep a kit in your backpack or purse that has everything you could possibly need, it may seem like overkill, but trust me! My diabetes motto is to hope for the best but, prepare for the worst!”



Chris

 
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Age: 31 Year Diagnosed: 2002 Location: San Diego, Ca

“February 5, 2002. I was 13 years old and in the 8th grade. I had recently been called into the school office, along with my mother, as I had been missing a lot of school that year. They said that it wasn't normal to miss as much school as I had been, and stated that if I am truly sick this much, that they have reason to believe something may be wrong. So I get picked up this day and head to the Dr appointment which has been scheduled as a result of that conference. Get checked in, walk to the back, and as normal, weigh me before leading me to my room. First red flag. I had lost 20 lbs. A 13 year old boy who never had weight to lose to begin with. They run a few more checks from there, then as a result of everything so far, they bring this device in, where they have to poke my finger and apply a drop of blood to it. It came back with a number somewhere around 480. They say it's diabetes. We have no clue what this means yet as there were no other members of my family with type 1 diabetes at this point. (A cousin of mine was diagnosed with T1 a few years later.) They tell my mom to take me to the local hospital where they will be getting a room ready for me. I spent the next 5 days there, learning about diabetes, counting carbs, calculating and injecting insulin. I'll never forget how hard it was to give myself that first shot. After 5 days there, I spent about another week out of school adjusting to and learning about this new life and how to control it. I finally went back to school about 2 weeks after that appointment. I came back to a lot of questions from my friends and teachers, but I was back and felt better than I had in months!

The first piece of advice I would like to give other newly diagnosed type 1's would be to learn to accept it as a part of your life and embrace it. You don't need to shout it from the rooftops but do not hide in the closet with it either. Having those around you aware of what is going on can be crucial in the event that you ever need help in an emergency.”


Liana

 
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Age: 20 Year Diagnosed: 2006 Location: Oceanside, Ca

“Here's a story/event of mine that I like to call ‘Right Place At The Right Time’. I was diagnosed at age 7 and I started helping in the childcare at my church at the age of 9. One day, in the class I was helping in, there was a boy who I knew was diabetic also. I remember this day so vividly. I remember him sitting on the floor saying he didn’t feel good and saying ‘I feel low’ as he started to lay down. I instantly ran to his side and asked where his supplies were. He seemed so out of it so I ran and grabbed my supplies and tested his blood sugar. I cant remember the number correctly, but I remember he was very low. After I got him juice and his blood sugar back up, I met his parents and explained everything. That is a day I will never forget. None of the other helpers were aware of how serious his medical condition was, they knew of it but paid no attention to it. I'm thankful that God had put me in the right place at the right time.”


Benjamin

 
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Age : 40  Year Diagnosed: 1983  Location: Thousand Oaks, Ca

“An embarrassing story is when I was maybe in 1st grade and I was having a low BG. The school had to call my mother because I was trying to drink my milk carton using a pencil with the eraser in my mouth.

We all are living with this disease and it gets tiring and crazy at times. We feel like we are outsiders or just want to be like everyone else and be healthy and not have to test our blood or take insulin regularly. We get to the point of burnout. I want to tell you that burnout is normal but ask for help if and when you get to that point. I did not have family close by and thought I could handle it on my own. I was tired do living with diabetes after about 20 years. I stopped taking my insulin and kept eating  normal. After a week of this I starting vomiting and feeling really bad, but still chose to not take my insulin. I was determined to be normal. My roommate at the time bought Pedialyte because he thought I was dehydrated. I was drinking that. My parents and sister kept calling me and eventually called the paramedics from Northern California. By the time the paramedics had arrived I was in a coma. I remember nothing for the next day, but was told I was yelling and had to be strapped down by my wrists and ankles. I had a BG of 2,000 when I was admitted to the hospital and fluids had to be drained from my head. I am very lucky to be alive. Life is precious and everyone has a reason to be here. Please don’t let diabetes veer you off course of taking care of yourself.  Find a purpose to use your skills and knowledge to help others. We as a community can always use help from others whom can relate. 

My piece of advice is that we are always learning about diabetes and no one is an expert. I feel like I know a lot because of my 35 years living with it and still learn more on a daily basis from those that have lived through things I have not. Don’t pretend to ever be an expert and always listen to others”

Kiley

 
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Age: 20 Year Diagnosed: 2013 Location: Madison, WI

Shortly after I started using an omnipod I was on vacation and by the water so I had a swimsuit on. Someone approached me and asked, ‘Excuse me, what is on your back?’ I sort of freaked out for a second and said, ‘I don't know what is on my back?’ He then pointed to my pod and I laughed and responded, ‘Oh that's my insulin pump.’

Living with diabetes is hard and I would not wish this disease on anyone. However, I would wish the friends that I have met because of diabetes onto everyone.

Meet other type 1 diabetics. They will make living with this disease so much easier and it is so nice being with other people who truly relate to your struggles.



David

 
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Age: 23 Year Diagnosed: 2005 Location: Tampa, Fl

'“When I made it a big deal about someones pump going off in a lecture hall. I yelled out, "Who is wearing a MI don't want to feel like I should be ashamed of my diabetes. I don't want people assuming how I should be living my life with diabetes. We constantly have to deal with ignorant comments that makes it harder for individuals that may be struggling with their diabetes.

I don't want to feel like I should be ashamed of my diabetes. I don't want people assuming how I should be living my life with diabetes. We constantly have to deal with ignorant comments that makes it harder for individuals that may be struggling with their diabetes.

Diabetes isn't a disease that is good or bad, it is a lifestyle. You can build a community out of it and meet great people.”




Louise

 
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Age: 20 Year Diagnosed: 2000 Location: Danville, Ca

“For as long as I can remember, my life has been a never-ending cycle of checking, counting, dosing, treating, volunteering, and hating my diabetes with the white-hot rage of ten thousand suns. Since I was barely a year old when I was diagnosed, I have no clue what it’s like to live without T1D - I don’t know what it’s like to eat a meal without turning it into a math problem, or how it feels to go to bed at night without the underlying worry that my pancreas might try to murder me in my sleep. For the longest time, I believed that there was no version of myself that existed independent of my disease. I couldn’t help but feel that it defined everything about me, and I couldn’t stand it. It weighed on me, until I felt like I was drowning; until the burnout was so overwhelming that I didn’t care for the person I was anymore. It wasn’t until recently - at a JDRF Young Adult Conference - that I realized that I was torturing myself for no reason. Of course having diabetes has defined me. I mean, how could it not? But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It has shaped me, pushed me, motivated me, broken me, and remade me into a force to be reckoned with. Because of my struggle with Type 1 Diabetes, I know now that there is no obstacle I cannot overcome, no hardship I cannot endure, and no goal I cannot reach if I put my mind to it. I’ve spent most of my life fighting against this disease, but let’s be real: you can’t beat the ‘betes. Moving forward, I know now that it’s not about being stronger than diabetes. It’s about being strong WITH diabetes.”


Kristina

 
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Age: 25 Year Diagnosed: 2001 Location: Chicago, IL

“The best general advice I can give a new T1D is to find a doctor (and CDE/RD/RN...really a whole medical team) that you like and get along with!! I have had 6 different endos since my diagnosis and I feel like I have finally found one that is on the same page as me! He gets that I am a 25 year old who was dealing with the stress of a Masters degree/internship program that didn't really allow for me to have BG issues. Also be sure that the team understand how you want to manage your diabetes. If you want a pump or a CGM they should support that decision.”


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.”