Age: 26 Year Diagnosed: 2014 Location: Chicago, IL

“I honestly wish people knew how difficult it is. I think because diabetes is so common in this day & age (T1 & 2) people assume that it's easily managed. Although we have many tools to use to our advantage, even on our best day things sometimes don't go the way we want. I also wish people knew about diabetes burnout. Along with everyday stresses, work, relationships, life we have to constantly think about our blood sugar & what we're doing that could potentially effect it. It can get exhausting and it's really important to recognize when we need to take a break to focus on our health.

Looking back on when I was diagnosed to now I'm really proud of how far I've come. I was shocked, angry, & depressed when I was first diagnosed. It took me time to realize what my new normal was but with the support of my family I was able to take care of myself. I know my diabetes isn't always under the best control but I work really hard to keep my A1C at a good number & make my life as stable as possible! It also helps to be involved in the T1D community with great people!

Although I've gained a ton of knowledge over my last 5Y I would say my biggest piece of advice is to take one step at a time. There is so much thrown at us when first diagnosed that it feels like drinking from a fire hose. Making a few small changes is a great way to start. Diabetes care becomes integrated in your life overtime but, starting with a few things can make it easier. I know I cut back on empty carbs like muffins, chips. I also made it a point to go on walks more when my sugars were high. Starting with anything can make a big difference!”