Age: 21  Year Diagnosed: 2001  Location: Pomona, CA

"I have had diabetes basically all my life, and my dad did the best he could do without making me feel like I was different. In high school, I started to neglect my diabetes so badly because I read that Insulin is a fat growth hormone. I would starve myself that would then lead to days of binging. As a diabetic, that would lead to unstable and constant high blood sugars. It got so bad that I would stop wearing my insulin pump for days at a time and not check my blood sugar for weeks. I did not want to have diabetes, so I ignored it. I felt so much pressure to have perfect blood sugars, to lose weight, and still be a teenage girl.

I had a heart to heart with my self when I graduated high school and realized I needed to relearn everything I knew about diabetes and health. I started making friends that were type one, and reading a ton of books and articles. I even took myself off my insulin pump and went back to insulin shots like when I was first diagnosed. It has taken a lot of work to break my bad eating habits, and stop neglecting my diabetes and I am not done yet. I am not perfect and diabetes is the best teacher of that. We all cope with life differently and diabetes is the same exact way.

Recently I changed to diet to be a vegan, it is a slow adjustment for me but I love it. For so long I always told myself I could never be vegetarian/vegan because it is too high carb for my diabetes. Then, I would proceed to eat a whole pint of ice cream and two bowls of cereal, okay, obviously I did not care that much.... I just chose to be ignorant. I have only been vegan for 2 weeks now and I can already see the benefits with my diabetes. I get most of my protein from beans and high fiber vegetables which is beautiful for regulating blood sugars! It has taken me years to learn that food is such a powerful tool and eating healthy does not mean salads and starvation. Food for me is nutritious and a lively, and it should not be something to fear.

Not every journey is the same! Some people are diagnosed at 30 and adjust quickly and for some it is not that easy. My piece of advice is join the type 1 community, whatever that means for you. I made an Instagram and followed hundreds of accounts and messaged practically everyone.

The doctor is great for helping with A1Cs and taking tests, but they are not with you everyday telling you to take your insulin or to eat right. I feel less alone knowing that many other people out there with type 1 are living normal lives with similar highs and lows. "