Age: 23    Year Diagnosed: 2016   Location: Pittsburgh, Pa

"The definition of type 1 diabetes itself is something I wish I could change. I wish everyone knew the real medical definition of what it is, how it works, and how it impacts the daily lives of type 1 diabetics and their caretakers.

The T1 Yinzers, a very special group of Type 1 diabetics based in Pittsburgh, PA, changed my journey as a Type 1 diabetic for the better. We all met through a combination of Instagram and the Beyond Type 1 app and finally met as a full group in person in March 2018 for breakfast at a popular spot in Pittsburgh. After we all ordered our meals, the table was crowded with conversation of “how many carbs for this?!” and all of the sudden, it got silent as we all took out our insulin pens and pumps to bolus. It was truly the craziest moment because for once we weren’t the outlier at the table and no one thought the beeps or needles were weird. It was an incredible moment of feeling understood for the first time in person!

1. IT WILL BE OKAY. I was told this when I was diagnosed, but I didn’t believe it. I wish I had. I think we all have to process our diagnosis in a way that works for us, but I want all newly diagnosed patients to understand it truly will be okay. That life is changed, but in a way that becomes second nature. I’m not even two years into life with Type 1 and while I know there is plenty more to experience and learn, I’m confident in my decision making, my knowledge, and my experiences thus far. 2. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. My diagnosis and my journey would be so different without my Type 1 diabetic friends, most of who I met through online support groups and T1 fundraising and awareness groups. It is so much easier being with people who just get it. Surrounding yourself with great, positive minded people who bolus with you at a breakfast table for all of the bread is truly one of the healthiest things you can do for your journey.