Age: 27 Year Diagnosed: 2008 Location: Los Angeles, Ca

“When I was about 12 years old I was on a youth group trip that had a chaperone who was diabetic. Me, being 12, had no idea what it was and me, being annoying, asked the million questions that kids ask. Why are you taking a shot? Does it hurt? What does it do? You have to do that forever?? But I remember him having such a light-hearted, funny attitude about it. He was really good at wake boarding and when he would do a trick he'd just shrug it off like "yeah, it's because I am diabetic". Fast-forward to my diagnosis 4 years later, and I remembered his attitude about it and making it seem "cool" rather than hiding it. I'm not a cool person, but I always strive to mimic his attitude about it - especially around younger kids. It's a good way to teach about it, make others more comfortable to ask questions, change stigmas, and just have fun with it rather than hiding it and shying away from possible judgement.

I think the best thing that has really helped me improve my taking care of myself is finding a doctor who advocates for me and takes an approach to make my diabetes fit my lifestyle, rather than trying to force me to have a lifestyle that accommodates my diabetes. I've always taken "okay" care of myself, but having a doctor (and nurse, CDE, etc.) who all want me to be better helps motivate me to not disappoint them. I've had so many doctors in the past who I've dreaded going to appointments with because it was never a positive experience. The timing of finding a new doctor came in tandem with me personally wanting to take care of myself better, getting more active, and tracking food choices and blood sugar effects more closely - but having a medical team who is there to cheer on the efforts is really motivating. My doctor was the first to introduce me to Afrezza, and my nurse spent the better part of 5 months to get it prescribed to me. Find a doctor who doesn't put you in a box and only has a textbook solution of how to manage your diabetes, and will advocate, motivate, and support you through the ups and downs (literally) of T1D.”