Coco

 
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Age: 23 Year Diagnosed: 2004 Current Location: Paris, France

“By the time I was in high school I did not tell anyone about my diabetes. Once, in class, the teacher ask for me to go write something on the blackboard. When I came back to my seat, I saw my friend playing with my insulin pen and shouting “What the hell is this pen?! it smells and looks really weird!”. I was so embarrassed, he could not figure out what he had found in my purse. Now, we laugh about that situation a lot.

People tend to think our community deserves what they have due to a "bad lifestyle", if only they would know how much we fight to preserve our health.. That is precisely the reason why I started my Instagram @cocoandpodie. I wanted to break all the clichés and show that diabetes means needles, insulin, pump and so on. I wish I can also help and inspire other diabetics through the account because I wish someone had told me I could do anything in spite of having type one.

I have always been attracted to fashion and I will never let diabetes take that away from me. In fact, I integrated my diabetes into fashion with my Instagram account. I kind of copy traditional blogger and I put my freestyle, needle, insulin pump in the middle of an aesthetic environment. I love this mix between two universes which are normally opposed: the medical area meets art in @cocoandpodie.

My piece of advice is that: I swear your life is not over, it is only the beginning. It will be hard sometimes, you will have bad days but you will grow up with this sense of empathy, with this courage and energy that will drives you anywhere. Moreover, you enter in an amazing community with incredible people and they might be the best people you will ever meet in your life.”




Léonor

 
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Age: 26 Year Diagnosed: 2016 Current Location: Paris, France

“Once, I went for lunch with two women from another team at work. One had organized this lunch, so I could discover the other one's job. We were about to start eating so I checked my blood glucose to know how much insulin to inject. During the process, I kept on talking and started to tell her that I had some questions. She suddenly felt very uncomfortable and told me "Oh! Ok, if you want we can do that". I didn't understand what she meant, so I told her that I had to do it to know how much insulin to inject because I was diabetic. Her face turned red. She thought I was going to record the conversation with my Accu-Check ! We both felt immensely embarrassed and laughed !

People often assume that Type 1 diabetics are responsible for their condition because they ate too much sugar or didn't exercise enough. They also think that you can't do some stuff that non-diabetic people do, like working in a stressful environment, traveling, running marathons, skydiving, scuba diving ... and some diabetics actually start believing that they can't do those things... I want to show that WE CAN DO ANYTHING ! The most annoying misconception about Type 1 Diabetics is that they can't eat whatever they want. People look at you and want to make you feel guilty ! I eat whatever I want!

My diagnosis story was not different from others: I ended up in DKA in the hospital. The first decision I made in my hospital room? Be stronger than diabetes. Never let it limit me. Live my life to the fullest. 1 week later, I ran a 10 km. 1 month later, I started a new job in an international environment-friendly cosmetics company. 3 months later, I moved into a new apartment and painted and decorated it myself. 7 months later, I had already visited 15 cities in 7 different countries. 9 months later, I signed up for a half-marathon to raise awareness and I launched my own fundraising campaign. Now, I've founded my own non-profit: Type 1 Family. And on November 4th, I'll run the NYC Marathon with 20 other type 1s with Beyond Type 1. Diabetes made me want to live my life to the fullest even more ! Because I realized how we take it for granted when it's not ! Sharing my story is not about complaining or talking about me. I feel grateful for the life I have and that “only” my pancreas gave up on me. I am sharing my journey because people with Type 1 diabetes are often forgotten or misunderstood. We need to give them their dignity back. We need to pay tribute to the families, to the caregivers and the nonprofits who fight this battle. We need to acknowledge that there is no cure and that we need one. This is my way to fight for a sweet life. I share my story and create a safe place so that children don’t feel ashamed of their condition ever again, so that they know they can do ANYTHING, so that they don’t feel alone and so that they can proudly say that they are everyday life heroes, T1D heroes, and they belong to a wonderful and caring community. And most of all, I run and raise funds hoping that one day we will be able to tell them this is curable.

It’s important to know that even if the only thing that you did today was just survive, that’s great. It’s not so easy to have Type 1 diabetes, and just going through the day without too many issues is already a big challenge. Connecting with other people with Type 1 diabetes is also very helpful. This last year, I connected with a lot of different people and met a lot of Type 1s and it has been very helpful for me — not because I want to talk about diabetes with them — but just to feel less alone, to feel like you belong to a community. It has been the most helpful thing this year.

Here is my advice:

•Accept that you can’t change it

•Think about everything you have

•Admire beauty in the little things around you

•Always find a reason to smile

•Enjoy every moment and capture the good times

•Be proud of your achievements, even the small ones

•Focus on what’s important

•Grow from the bad times and ignore mean people

•Connect with others, they will give you faith in humanity

•Find your tribe and love them hard

•Be the reason someone smiles today

•Every day is a new beginning: take a deep breath and start again!

I am just beginning my journey with this new reality but I understood that others have gone before me and their story can only help light the way. The T1D community on Instagram is a blessing for newly diagnosed like me. Today I want to see my diabetes as something that makes me strive to live life to the fullest. I hope that my story will inspire others and that my experience can help someone else along their journey. We live a daily-life that is almost unimaginable for ordinary people. I hope you feel extraordinary, because you definitely are. And remember, happiness is not the absence of problems, it is the ability to deal with them. Let’s all be Type 1 happy!”


Megan

 
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Age: 31 Year Diagnosed: 1991 Current Location: San Diego, Ca

“The only time I went into DKA, I was at the hospital and the nurse kept asking for my social security number, and I kept giving her my student ID number (I was in college). They didn't want me drinking water until I had blood drawn and a urine analysis, but I was SOOO thirsty. When they had me go into the bathroom to do my urine sample, there was a basket of sterile cups, so I used one to chug water from the sink!

A misconception I would change is that type 1 is just about taking insulin when you eat and not eating sugar. Every single decision we make involves our diabetes, and it's very consuming/not as easy as we make it look.

I love seeing how people are coming out of their shells and sharing their diabetes. Proudly wearing their devices where they can be seen. It also helps us find each other! I am 100% the person that will go up to another diabetic in a crowd just to give them a hug and say, ‘me too!’”




Samantha

 
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Age: 23 Year Diagnosed: 2018 Location: Orange County, Ca

“I wish that people understood how much effort goes into living with T1d. It's not just worrying about how much sugar is in foods. It's figuring out the amount of carbs, deciding what type of carb it is, and how those carbs will affect your blood sugar THAT DAY. It's about knowing that exercise is going to affect your blood sugars a certain way and adjusting accordingly. It's about waking up with an in-range blood sugar level and 20 minutes later being high just because you got out of bed. It's doing the exact same thing two days in a row and getting two completely different results. I wish people understood how exhausting and stressful it is sometimes to have to be constantly vigilant of your bg levels, because if you aren't it could cause you to end up in the hospital or worse.


I was diagnosed 6 months ago. Due to a mistake by doctors and my Guardian Angel looking out for me, my blood glucose levels were tested. With bg levels of over 600 and an A1c of 12.5%, I was diagnosed with T1d and my entire life changed. It was scary, it was confusing, and it was devastating. I did not know anything about diabetes and I didn't even know where to start. Luckily, I started seeing an AMAZING endo. He is so supportive and helpful. Three months later, my A1c was 5.8%. I just had my second three-month check up, my A1c is 5.3% and my bg levels are in-range over 90% of the time. Being diagnosed with T1d was so scary and in the beginning I felt so alone. But with the support of my husband, my endo, and the INCREDIBLE diabetes community, I don't feel alone anymore and I am proud to say that I am a Type 1 diabetic. Although, of course, I would rather not have diabetes... I look for every opportunity to talk with people about it and educate them the best I can. I want to help work towards a world where T1d is more understood. More importantly, I want to help work towards a world where every diabetic knows that it is possible to be happy AND in control of their diabetes and that they are never alone.”


Abby

 
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Name: Abby   Age: 29  Year Diagnosed: 2012  Location: Indiana

“There was a time a few years ago when I had a low in the middle of the night. I usually wake up my husband when I feel I need to for my own safety, but this time I didn’t because it didn’t feel that bad. I went into the kitchen and decided I wanted a small glass of chocolate milk for my treat, so I got the gallon out, and the glass. I went to pour the milk... and dropped the gallon on the counter, and it fell onto the floor, spilling chocolate milk all over the kitchen. I was low, tired, and now upset, so I just sat on the floor in the middle of the milk and started crying. Thankfully my husband heard the ruckus (and didn’t laugh when he saw the chocolatey destruction). He got me a glass of milk so I could treat the low and the cleaned up the whole mess for me. We laughed about it later, but at the time it was pretty upsetting. 

My piece of advice is if you can get your doctor to over-write your prescriptions just a tad, do it. Having a small stockpile in case of emergencies is so crucial. But don’t have them over-write for lancets. You don’t need 10 million of those laying around.”

Emily

 
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Age: 25 Year Diagnosed: 2001 Location: Orange, Ca

“When I was in freshman in college, I didn't tell any of my professors about my diabetes. I remember going in to take a midterm with a blood sugar over 400 mg/dL. I felt miserable and my anxiety about the exam was amplified by the high blood sugar. As soon as the exam was in my hands, I started crying- right there in my seat in the silent classroom. I cried for the first 90 minutes of my 120 minute exam, and didn't write a single thing down in my booklet. By the time I pulled myself together, I was able to answer 1 essay question before it was time to turn in the exam. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't even confront my professor to tell him what was going on. When I got back to my dorm after the exam, I sent him an email, explaining that I had type 1 diabetes and my blood sugar had been very high, and apologizing for crying during his entire exam. He was very empathetic and encouraged me to communicate with other professors BEFORE situations like that happened again, but was unable to allow a retake of the exam. I still managed to pass the class, but I have never again kept my diabetes a secret from a professor, nor allowed myself to take an exam with a high blood sugar.


I once had a CDE compare living with type 1 diabetes to living with a newborn- some days you have to drop whatever you are doing to address the crying infant, no matter how inconvenient the timing may be. Once I heard her put this into perspective, I was able to cut myself a little more slack. We deal with so much on a daily basis, trying to thrive as humans on top of acting as a vital organ. Some days are wonderful, but also some days are absolutely exhausting. Sometimes it feels like so much of my brain energy is going toward keeping myself functioning that it's a miracle I'm able to do anything else on top of it. The best thing I've done for myself to help combat this exhaustion is to get involved in the type 1 community. There is nothing more comforting after a long night of battling a roller coaster of high and low blood sugars than to share your story with other type 1s who chime in with ‘me too’ and ‘hang in there girlfriend, you've got this’.”


Keith

 
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Age: 43 Year Diagnosed: 1981 Location: Upland, Ca

“I was once with a group of friends and testing my blood sugar, did my finger stick and blood did not come out. Squeezed my finger so hard to get just enough blood and still nothing, then all of a sudden the geyser occurred and blood shot three feet in the air. I was so embarrassed by that!

I have so many stories, this disease has challenged me my entire life. I have blacked out behind the wheel due to a low blood sugar and crashed into a light poIe have had complications with my eyes despite having A1Cs that are suppose to keep you from complications. I was actually told my endocrinologist that I was just unlucky. Despite this, I have not let Type 1 slow me down, in fact it has done the opposite and made me stronger. I have an unbelievable support team in my wife, daughters and friends. I have a medical support team second to none. There will be a cure one day, until then keep fighting and stay type one strong!”



Greg

 
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Age: 43 Year Diagnosed: 1980 Location: Upland, Ca

“When I was like 12 or 13 years old I went for a bike ride with a friend of mine with his uncle and uncles friend from Buffalo NY where I lived at the time to Niagara Falls NY a 24 mile along the Niagara River on the Canadian side of the river. The trip started out well and we made it over half way before low blood sugar kicked in and delayed us. We stopped at restaurant along the bike trail that had a patio and cokes along with food were ordered to treat my low sugar. After the order was taken, I started taking ice out of the glass of water in front of me and started shooting the ice cubes with my fingers across the patio. The first few times no one was hit with the flying ice but unfortunately that changed. The third time was the charm or maybe not so charming as the ice cube shot from my hand across the patio ended up going right down the shirt of a woman about 4 tables over. A great deal of apologizing and explaining needed to happen. Needless to say that was one of the most funny or embarrassing things that have ever happened.

The saying or symbols for I AM GREATER THEN MY HIGHS AND LOWS has so much meaning to me and I am grateful to whoever came up with this. Highs and lows as diabetics in regards to our blood sugars is a daily struggle but so are the highs and lows we deal with emotionally and physically everyday are just as bad. We need to be greater then our high and low blood sugars, emotions and physical feelings.

Type 1 diabetes is not a death sentence and there are so many things worse then being diabetic. Follow the process and plan listen to your endocrinologist and live your life. Eat the piece of cake, go to the party have the glass of wine. Live your life to the fullest and thrive.”




Melissa

 
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Age:  36   Year Diagnosed:  1986   Location: Orange County, Ca


“Growing up, a classmate found out I had diabetes, and kept asking me in front of people if it was contagious. I  was so embarrassed and I kept ignoring her but she kept asking. Eventually, I  just said yes and rubbed my hand on her arm, that seemed to do the trick! 


I was diagnosed at age 5 in Central America. My doctor didn’t know about treatments other than regular insulin R and NP, taken three times a day. He didn’t even know about carb counting, so my food was strictly no sugar. After coming to California, it was so different(t1d culture shock). I learned about carb counting and got such  better control. I feel empowered to live a longer, healthy life now. I  want to help others with t1d, raise awareness, and make this community much stronger.”




Emily

 
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Age: 27 Year Diagnosed: 1998 Location: Orange County, Ca

“When I was first diagnosed I was the only kid in my tiny private school that had type 1. So my principal made the ENTIRE SCHOOL show videos in their classrooms about what t1d is and what it entails.

This may be controversial but in the grand scheme of diseases I think we were dealt a pretty good hand. It sucks and it gets so annoying. And I am aware that there could be huge issues in the future if not taken care of.. but for the most part we can manage this disease. As long as we reach out when we need help, this disease really can be doable.

Always remember that things could always be worse. And if you have a bad day don’t let it ruin your week. Fight this disease day by day and keep your head up.”


Ali

 
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Age: 21 Year Diagnosed: 2014 Location: San Diego, Ca

“After the endocrinologist prescribed me insulin, my brother and I wanted to celebrate and he decided we should go to Olive Garden. On the way there, my brother asked me, ‘Hey, do you think we should pick up your medication first and take it before we go out to eat?’ my response was, ‘nah, I don't think ill need it now...’ little did I know. I had a massive bowl of pasta and possibly a drink as my brother was updating my family through text messages that I was going to be okay and I could eat more now that I had been prescribed insulin. I got home to check my blood sugar, 400 mg/dL or so as I yell at my machine, ‘Why is it so high?!’ My mom's response was, ‘well, you just had a load of pasta maybe thats why!’

Being the odd character I am, when I first was diagnosed, I was excited. I was optimistic. I had something to struggle for and be somebody for. I felt like I had this for a reason. that destiny gave me it to become great at something in my lifetime. I had little knowledge of this disease, but in my head, I enjoyed setbacks. Just like never making the high school basketball team 4 years in a row, I took great pleasure in my losses. I know they make me stronger and wake me up.

Learn as much as possible! Cut your learning curve. You don't need to learn from your own mistakes. That means more hypos and hypers. Learn from people you want results from, have humility and absorb as much as possible like you know nothing. Listen to everyone, but its not necessarily what to do but what not to do.”




Marie

 
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Age: 27 Year Diagnosed: 2002 Location: Orange County, Ca

“I went to Olive Garden with my boyfriend once and I didn't feel like going to the restroom to inject myself. I thought I could be really stealthy by using the table cloth to hide. Just as soon as I was about to inject myself, our server came by and saw me pushing the syringe into my abdomen. Poor guy was in so much shock. My boyfriend had to explain to him it was insulin for my diabetes. Thank God I have a pump now and can discreetly bolus myself!

I wish people would stop assuming that I'm limited in what I could eat or drink. I just want people to know that I'm still human and I still have my chocolate cravings and that I will indulge in them if I can!

I feel really frustrated sometimes when people compare me to Type 2 Diabetics and try to offer me unsolicited medical advice. They compare my numbers to theirs or they're grandma's or whoever else's and act like they know everything there is to know about this disease.

A piece of advice if like to give us to find an endocrinologist that you like! I once had one that made me feel like complete shit for not being in control. Instead of helping me, she just guilted me and pushed me further into my denial. I finally found an amazing doctor who truly cares and is constantly working and collaborating with me to improve my overall health. Here's helped me bring my A1C down to below 7!”


Drew

 
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Age: 29 Year Diagnosed: 2012 Location: Sydney, AUS

“‘Exercise is Dangerous for People With Type 1 Diabetes’ This has to be the most gear-grinding myth of all. People with type 1 diabetes are often afraid of exercise because they aren’t on an appropriate insulin therapy protocol. If you are on the correct amount of insulin for your activity levels, not only is exercise perfectly safe - it is vital for optimal health! As someone thriving with type 1 diabetes, exercise is my fundamental management strategy to control my insulin and blood sugar levels. I like to say: “Exercise is a form of medicine that we can freely and happily administer to ourselves” My philosophy is: “In order to thrive with diabetes, I need to take 2 types of medicine daily: Insulin and exercise - with exercise being at the core”. 
In other words, my daily dose of insulin is dependent upon my daily dose of exercise - NOT the other way around. So on days when I don’t exercise - I require more insulin. It is quite simply a balancing act between two medications for optimal insulin and blood sugar control. 
 As an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, a big problem that I see in clinical practice is that people with type 1 diabetes are afraid to exercise (and even afraid to partake in activities of daily living) in case their blood sugar level drops too low. 
The result: a sedentary individual surviving on large amounts of insulin, rather than an active individual thriving on optimal amounts of insulin. 


They say “love the one you’re with”; an expression that I didn’t appreciate until I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’ve not only accepted living with diabetes, I’ve learned to love it and manage it so that it doesn’t manage me. Sure, my world shifted when I was first diagnosed, but after making positive changes to the way I live, eat, move and approach life, I can honestly say I am happier and healthier today than I was before my diagnosis. So in a way you could say that diabetes gave me the gift of health. My aim is to share what I know with others so that we can learn to love our condition as a partner that walks with us, not one that rules us.”

Mike

 
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Age: 33    Year Diagnosed: 1993    Location: Huntington Beach, Ca

"Get your mental health plan structured as early as possible. Chronic stressors cause Impairment to memory, attention, cognitive function and more. Just in case you were wondering why you seem so frazzled. T1d is about resilience and I believe positivity is a muscle. A muscle that needs to be worked out everyday. Meditation, therapy, community, if you need a place to start.

I’m excited to watch our community grow. It’s amazing seeing so many people living with t1d live meaningful, happy lives. This isn’t your grandmas diabetes!

Hannah

 
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Age: 22   Year Diagnosed: 2007  Location: Moorpark, Ca

"Once in high school, my blood sugar was really high, like in the 400s and I have already corrected but I had run out of water. I asked the teacher who has always been so supportive and generous about my diabetes that I needed to go to the bathroom and get a new water. He sternly told me no and to sit down. I was so confused because he never questioned me before, but I told him louder than I expected that I was HIGH and needed water. He looked stunned. He was so confused and was like “why would you tell me that?” I said “because I’m diabetic and need water....” he laughed for about a minute gave me $2 and sent me to get a cold water. He thought I had smoked before class and was high on drugs.

I’ve struggled with accepting myself and my disease since I was diagnosed. Well in October of 2017 I was in the hospital dying because of being afraid of showing the world who I really am. For months I hadn’t tested my sugar or even given insulin. I was so sick and it got to the point where no water was ever enough, and I was throwing up blood. When my parents took me to the hospital, they told me that if I hadn’t come in that morning, I would be dead by that night. It’s something that still haunts me and terrified me to this day. But it’s been my motivation to become more involved in the diabetic community and surround myself with people who want to learn and understand my disease. I don’t want anyone to feel as alone as I did. I’ve met some incredible people in my journey to recovery and I feel so blessed at where I am in my life and it’s all thanks to Type 1 Diabetes.

Get involved. You can’t do this alone and this community is the strongest most supportive community I have ever seen. I jumped all in and I had so many hands to guide me through it. I’ve grown closer to those I already know. Have I lost some people along the way? Sure. But it’s showing me who is really here for me and who is going to be there for me in the long run. You must stay true to yourself to survive this disease. You have to embrace it otherwise it’ll take over.

Louis

 
 

Age: 25    Year Diagnosed: 2005   Location: Los Angeles, Ca

"I use syringes to take insulin.. I always there. One time, in the ninth grade, I took my insulin, and I put my needle away. At the start of my second class, someone asked me, "what is that supposed to be, like a statement?" I was so confused! Turns out, I had put the syringe between my ear like one would with a pencil and just had it there all morning! I was shocked and embarrassed!

 

Alyssa

 
 

Age: 27   Year Diagnosed: 2007  Location: Santa Monica, Ca

"I went on a medical mission trip to India in 2016 where I set up medical clinics with doctors and nurses in remote villages. I met many people that had diabetes that had no access to medical resources like we do in America. They didn't even have a place to keep their insulin cold. It was in these moments, I felt so lucky to that I have access to life saving supplies and a loving community to support me with my T1D. I am so incredibly lucky to have an amazing boyfriend, friends & family, and my wonderful co-workers at Myabetic where I work to change perceptions about what it is to live with diabetes. I have been blessed with positive influences and knew I had to pay it forward. After my trip to India my heart was set on becoming a nurse. A few weeks ago I hired a interview coach that went to medical school to help with my nursing school interviews. This coach told me not to tell the admission council that I had type one diabetes because it was a disability, and it could prevent me from getting in. I could not believe that somebody was telling me to hide my T1D! To hide the very thing that inspired me to become a nurse and help others. I politely told him that I could not do that because this is my true authentic self, and that I would never hide my diabetes. My entire personal statement was about being diagnosed with T1D and the journey I have been through overcoming my diagnosis. I am happy to say that I have received a interview to every single nursing school that I applied to. I wanted to share this story because nobody should hide their true authentic self while reaching for their dreams. Our imperfections are beautiful! You should always be yourself. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Mark

 
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Age: 42   Year Diagnosed: 1985   Location: Detroit, MI

"I’ve had T1d since 1985, I was Dx 6 months after my oldest sibling. The best part is, I’ve been able to use my knowledge and experience to work in the insulin delivery and have made a career of my misfortune.  The most challenging part is the daily burden diabetes takes, this can be very overwhelming at times.   Having grown up with a sibling to lean on, and directing one of the largest diabetes camps in the US, I’ve learned no one should take this journey alone.  When I look at a dining hall with 250 T1d campers or a pump support group with 10, I see people willing to help and share their experiences with one and other, this is how we get up each day and fight the good fight that we do."

Racquel

 
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Age: 24  Year Diagnosed: 2007  Location: Toronto, On

"My one piece of advice is build a community. I spent the past 10 years pushing away the fact that I have diabetes - never participated in walks, events or camps, didn't even want to talk to another diabetic. I ended up isolating myself, feeling constantly angry towards it, and poorly managing my diabetes. This year I have met so many incredible T1D's that have inspired me and helped me completely change my attitude towards it all. A simple convo with someone that literally knows exactly what you are going through, makes you feel less alone at the end of the day."

Jillian

 
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Age: 30   Year Diagnosed: 1997  Location: Detroit MI

"One morning, back a few years ago, I found my mom sitting on my bed crying. I woke up and asked if everything was alright, why was she she on my bed? She looked at me bewildered. She said 'you don't remember anything?' I said, "Remember what, mom?' She had tears down her face, she said I woke up screaming and yelling around my house and I couldn't be controlled. She said I then laid back down in my bed and went to sleep. I started crying because I had NO MEMORY of anything that took place. I was scared, why couldn't I remember? I had no control of my body, my memory, nothing. This was before my Dexcom. I slipped into a weird state due to my blood sugar. I hated diabetes even more that day.

People often think you are "limited" with Diabetes. Maybe it's because we look like robots with all these different machines attached to our body parts, or maybe because we have to "shoot up", so that makes us "unable", I don't know, but I'm here to show the world that diabetics are NOT limited to anything, we are limitless! Traveling the world, scuba diving, hiking, dancing, singing, body building, I mean we are called diabadasses for a reason, no?