Age: 41  Year Diagnosed: 2013  Location: Los Angeles

"I was at a neighborhood bar and walked into the restroom to inject and a woman, standing at the hand washing sink, was watching me through the reflection in the mirror. She proceeded to say to me, “wow, you have no shame.” I just stared at her and said, “no, I don’t.” When I was back at my seat, I noticed she kept looking at me and I began to wonder if she really thought I was getting high and was waiting for me to behave a certain way. I did consider acting erratically just to trip her out but I was too busy enjoying my cocktail! Needless to say, I no longer go to the bathroom to inject. I do it, shamelessly, anywhere!

A common misconception I wish I could change is that type 1 diabetes is not only developed in infancy/childhood. Many adults develop type 1 but are misdiagnosed as type 2 as was my case and as was my brother's case. My brother was diagnosed with type 2 in his 20s because he was overweight and had an unhealthy diet so the doctors assumed it was type 2. He was unable to maintain control of the disease because he was being treated for the wrong disease and in the long run, he was damaging his vital organs. It wasn't until about 10 years after his initial diagnosis when he met a knowledgeable endocrinologist that retested him and the results concluded he was indeed type 1, proper treatment followed. Whenever I hear misconceptions of diabetes, I take it as an opportunity to educate others.

In April of 2013, I was religiously attending Zumba classes in hopes of losing weight for my 20th high school reunion. By May, I had lost a significant amount of weight, which was wonderful, but I had also developed an insatiable thirst and my frequent urination was alarming but I associated it all with Zumba. Of course I was losing weight, I was dancing my butt off! Of course I was thirsty, I was dehydrated from Zumba! Of course I was urinating so much, I was drinking a lot of water! By June, my vision got blurry and I just assumed it was because I was pushing 40 so I purchased my very first pair of prescription glasses.

By July, I was sick, I was tired, I was sick and tired of being thirsty, sick and tired of my frequent urination, and sick and tired of losing weight so fast that my clothes no longer fit. I knew I had diabetes, I knew the symptoms all too well. My grandmother died of complications of type 2, my mom and brother have diabetes but I was just in denial. On July 5, 2013, I checked my fasting blood glucose with my mom's meter and my sugar read 275 and I was devastated. That Monday, my doctor diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes and sent me home with a prescription of Metformin that never worked and I began to have panic attacks. By mid-week, my doctor called me to inform me that I had been misdiagnosed. I had tested positive for antibodies and my c-peptide was low, I was type 1 diabetic and I needed to go into the nurses station for insulin and so my multiple daily injections began."



Age: 16  Year Diagnosed: 2011 Location: Camarillo, Ca

"About two years ago, when 14 I was having a loud conversation with a friend discussing my 'pump'. I am so used to abbreviating the term insulin pump that I didn't think anything of it. The man listened into our entire conversation yet somehow neglected to understand that I was talking about diabetes. Finally as I got up to leave he asked me if I was a breastfeeding mother. He was really kind and offered to give me his pastors number but it was completely misguided. It was extremely funny in the moment.

I wish I could emphasize to people that type 1 diabetes is essentially uncontrollable. Regardless of my diet I will still need insulin!! There is a huge difference between type one diabetes and type two. My pancreas will not be rejuvenated by vitamins."



Age: 26 Year Diagnosed: 2000 Location: Corona, Ca

"A thought I'd like to share with you and also other diabetics is to live life to the fullest and don't let any thought of this fight slow you down. You're a warrior and the strongest person around. Even if others think differently,  just know nothing will stop me from any of my goals."



Age: 25 Year Diagnosed: 1999 Location: Bristol, UK

"A few months ago, I hit the 18 year milestone of having type 1 diabetes. After dealing with a disease for such a great portion of my life, I thought I knew all the curves and corners of how I perceived myself in my disease. This changed when I began working for an organization that provides essential diabetes supplies to young people who live in low-resourced countries.

Sometimes a change in perspective is all it takes to put you in the driver's seat of your life. For me, it was seeing first-hand how a lack of access to basic and essential diabetes supplies can disrupt the lives of young people with diabetes. But also, seeing the beauty of resilience manifest in young people with diabetes and their families in the most trying of times.

I keep learning life-changing lessons throughout my diabetes even 18 years on. This year I learned how to channel my gratitude for the technology I have access to by caring for myself and continuing to advocate that everyone in the globe has the right to live a good life with diabetes. "



Age: 52  Year Diagnosed: 1991  Location: Maitland, Fl

"After a back surgery I developed blood clots in my leg and had to be hospitalized. While in the hospital a nurse asked me to give her my pump. I asked "why ?" She said she would take care of my diabetes for me. I told her "no's really not a good thing for me to go without". Seriously. Even health care professionals don't get it sometimes.

26 years of diabetes. So far 25 marathons with number 26 on the horizon this year. Continually learning about myself and diabetes management through all of these marathons!

It's life changing. But it can be a very positive life changing event too. Embrace it with everything you have. (Easier said than done many times!)"



Age: 47  Year Diagnosed: 1985  Location: Kranj, Slovenia

"I was always afraid of needles - so much so, that every time I was vaccinated, I would pass out. When I was diagnosed at age 15 and the doctor explained that I would have to get injections everyday, and not only that - I would have to give them myself - I thought that she was joking. No way was I going to prick myself. But some 50 thousand given injections later, I can tell you how wrong I was...

I never complain about diabetes. I'm never asking myself, 'why me?', because that's not constructive. It will solve nothing, it will just put you in a bad mood. I just take care of my diabetes as best as I can. As simple as that

Although I think that you should always strive to have a good sugar values, you should be happy if you achieve that goal most of the time. It's hard to be 100% perfect so why be sad over that? Just be happy with what you achieved.."


"Zmeraj sem se bal igel - in to toliko, da sem ob vsakem cepljenju zaradi strahu padel v nezavest. Ko sem pri 15 letih dobil diagnozo diabetesa in mi je zdravnica razložila, da ne samo, da bom dobival injekcije vsak dan, ampak, da si jih bom dajal sam, sem čisto zares mislil, da se šali. Niti slučajno se namreč nisem mislil sam špikati. No, po kakih 50000 injekcijah vam lahko povem, kako sem se motil...

Nikoli se ne pritožujem zaradi diabetesa. Nikoli se ne sprašujem, zakaj ravno jaz, ker je to nekonstruktivno. Rešilo ne bo nič, samo v slabo voljo te lahko spravi. Jaz samo skrbim za nivo sladkorja po svojih najboljših močeh. Enostavno

Čeprav mislim, da si moraš stalno prizadevati za čimboljše vrednosti sladkorja, moraš biti srečen, če ti to uspeva le večino časa. Težko je namreč biti 100% perfekten - zakaj bi bil torej slabe volje zaradi tega? Bodi srečen s tem, kar si dosegel."




Age: 27  Year Diagnosed: 2015  Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia

"Before I was diagnosed I was eating so much (I was able to eat 2 pizzas at once). But at the same time, I was losing weight. I was working as an aerobics and pilates instructor at the time, so I just thought it was because I was exercising a lot. Later, I found out that my diabetes was mainly responsible for my weight loss.

Not long ago I realized that diabetes changed me as a person in a positive way. I don't worry about unimportant, little things anymore and I enjoy every moment of life so much more than before I was diagnosed.

Don't judge yourself too much. There are, were, and will be feelings and blood-glucose levels that you cannot control or influence."


"Preden so mi odkrili sladkorno bolezen tipa 1, sem ogromno jedla (tudi 2 pici naenkrat) in hkrati zgubljala težo. Bila sem prepričana, da je velika količina vadbe kriva za to (takrat sem delala kot inštruktorica aerobike in pilatesa), kmalu pa sem ugotovila, da za mojo vitko postavo skrbi predvsem sladkorna.

Pred kratkim sem se zavedla dejstva, da me je sladkorna bolezen spremenila v bolj pozitivno osebo, ki se ne obremenjuje več z nepomembninimi, vsakdanjimi problemi. Bolj intenzivno doživljam in uživam vsak trenutek v življenju, kar mi pred diagnozo ni tako uspevalo.

Ne obojajte se preveč. So, bili so in bodo občutki in vrednosti krvnega sladkorja, na katere ne morete vplivati."





Age: 28  Year Diagnosed: 2013  Current Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia

"I was diagnosed by "accident". I have LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) and it was caught after I started complaining about my more and more frequent reactive hypos. I had had them since I was a teenager and doctors never thought much of it. I wish more people were aware of LADA and I kind of suspect that lots of type 2s actually have it and aren't being treated correctly. Maybe even type 1's who were diagnosed later in life might have had undiagnosed LADA. I am so lucky it was caught early on, before I got any complications.I also started insulin early on and that's what keeps my pancreas still kicking, a bit.

Learn as much as you can, don't be afraid - you can manage, it is overwhelming in the beginning, but you'll get a hang of it. Also, don't be scared, if you take care of yourself and your sugar levels, you can live a long, "healthy" (without complications), happy life."


" Želim si da bi ljudje, predvsem zdravniki bolje vedeli za obstoj "LADA-e" oz., kakor so meni dali nalepko "počasi potekajoča sladkorn bolezen tipa 1". Imela sem neizmerno srečo in super zdravnike, da sem dobila diagnozo tako zgodaj kot sem jo... Ker je bila moja takratšnja osebna zdravnica tako bistra, da me je ba podlagi reaktivnih hip poslala na OGTT test. Sumim da ima veliko diabetikov tipa 2 v resnici LADO in hkrati se je verjetno kar nekaj diabetikom tipa 1, ki so bili diagnosticirani pozneje v življenju (v odraslosti) bolezen kuhala kar nekaj let, pa niso vedeli.

Nauči se čimveč o svoji bolezni, sprva je obremenjujoče, toda ne skrbi - uspelo ti bo diabetes vključiti v svoje življenje. Ne boj se, če dobro skrbiš zase in za svoje sladkorj lahko živiš dolgo, zdravo (brez zapletov sladkorne bolezni), srečno življenje."





Age: 27  Year diagnosed: 2002Location: London, UK

"'Will you be OK when the show starts?' It's Fashion Week. Seconds before the lights dim and the 1st model walks the runway. (I'm not a model. HA! I'm just at work). "Won't the strobe lights affect your diabetes?" an intern asks. I smile politely through gritted teeth. "You're thinking of epilepsy pal". 

When people share their tales of diabetes.. it's a nice gesture *eye roll*. But. Funnily enough, I can't relate to your Uncle Alan, who had his leg removed before going blind. He's T2. Very different to my T1 experiences- ah thankyou. I'm always quick to shout TYPE ONE before they finish the word diab-. I despise being categorised under the umbrella term 'diabetic' when people don't understand the differences within the condition, and are confused I'm not overweight & unhealthy (the way in which the media has taught them to assume). Quite the contrary. My pancreas just broke. My type is not self-inflicted.

I have it. Get on with it" is my mantra. How incredibly British of me. Many people would be shocked to learn I have T1 diabetes, as it's only close friends/colleagues that I disclose this secret part of my life to. I'm not embarrassed, and happily talk about it. I'm not saying it's easy and there aren't times I feel alone. But it certainly doesn't define me, my lifestyle, or achievements.

Weight fluctuation has been my bug bear. It fascinates me how insulin as a hormone can so instantly affect the body. Like most adolescents, I had a phase of being silly with food. But also became silly with insulin when I learnt it can cause rapid weight loss. Not something I'm proud of. The DAFNE carb/insulin ratio counting system helped me manage this, and I would recommend it to anyone struggling. ADDED BONUS: it's also made me a secret wizard at maths/biology in relation to T1 diabetes!"








Age: 46  Year Diagnosed: 1977  Location: Undisclosed

"Appleton is an Artist and Photographer.  

Creating art, images and sculptures for over 40 years.

After surviving a diabetic coma at the age of six, Appleton began to collect almost every Insulin bottle that has gone through his system. Along with hundreds of these bottles, faded syringes and old blood strips would remain as well---all reminders of his survival through the years.

With no cure in sight, Appleton’s mission is to spread and raise awareness of diabetes through his art.

Appleton offers this….a small footnote amongst many.

Throughout ones life they may never have to ask for anything—to humble ones self.

To be head down in request. They may never to have reduce themselves for a hand out or help.

In the course of my over 40 year sentence with type one diabetes, I have had many such experiences. Ones where timing took precedence over politeness—dropping blood sugar and no money don’t mix. Pleading / assuring a store owner you would be back and you weren’t stealing.

During my teenage years there weren’t any ATMs or 24 hour banks. If you didn’t have money —you didn’t have money.

You had to humble yourself and explain why you needed help——not many people want to do that —especially as a teenager

One of the heavier thoughts and daily battles with diabetes is the aloneness of it all. Even with the closest of loves and the dearest parents—one with diabetes will feel, at sometime in their life an aloneness that only they will know. Only ones with type one diabetes will know.

As much as we'd like to imagine, people in our lives w/o type one diabetes— will never know the weight we carry.

But in this —we are not alone.

My art evolved from my studio to the street and back again. I have always been inspired by art, writing/messages in street art—the stories you can get from the walls of any city.

A woman wrote to me that she see’s my art on her way to work.Not knowing who, what, why etc….she realized immediately it was an insulin bottle from her youth.

Later meeting this sweet person—she would tell me that her first thought was…”I am not alone.” For me that is what my art is about…

Today I am not alone."



Age: 31  Year Diagnosed: 2002  Location: Long Beach, Ca

"In college, several times when referring to needing to take a shot (of insulin) people thought I was taking a shot (of alcohol) and they wanted to join me.

When I got diagnosed, I was a senior in high school. I was loading up my backpack with a different beverage for each period and peeing constantly. My prescription glasses weren't working and my prescription had to be increased. My pants were loose but I just started wearing a belt. This went on for a couple of weeks before my boyfriend went out of town and I was tired of being at school. I called my mom and said I didn't feel well. We went to the doctor's office together and then my mom told them she thought I might be diabetic. It never even crossed my mind! After that I was rushed off to children's hospital for the weekend and the rest is history...

Life is not over! My grandpa (who was also type 1) would be amazed at how wonderful my pump is now. Things are only getting better for us. I don't think our grandchildren will even have to worry about half of the stuff we do." 



Age: 49  Year Diagnosed: 1994  Location:Orlando, Fl

"I was diagnosed with diabetes 23 years ago and my father lost his life at the age of 50 to complications of this disease…way too young!  I don’t want this to be a sad story. There is hope for me and the others that are on life support (insulin). Because of the work of many people, there have been advances in research and so many life changing technology tools.  I am passionate about raising money and awareness for Type One, not only for myself, but for all the families that have been affected by this disease…it is a family disease.  If I could prevent one person from having to face the chronic nature of diabetes, my efforts would be well worth it!

Ironically, I would not change having had diabetes. It has made me stronger and given a higher purpose to my life.  I have run marathons, ridden in century bike rides and participated in my first Ragnar Relay this year on a Type One team!  I’m not sure I would have accomplished these goals (and more) had diabetes not pushed me to prove it could not hold me back.  With that said, I am ready for a CURE and ready to give up my diabetes, but not the wonderful people I’ve met along my journey.  Too many people to name but there are wonderful people working and supporting the Type One community that for me include JDRF, Diabetes Training Camp and Type One Run.

With all that said, I would give all my worldly possessions to talk to my father just one more time….Type One to Type NONE. THANK YOU!"



Age: 31Year Diagnosed: 2012 Location: Thousand Oaks, CA

"A few weeks before being diagnosed, with my symptoms raging and out of control, I definitely peed my pants. In public. At the age of 27. Fortunately I was wearing black, and that is the only good thing about that experience.

I love the T1D community - I have found such warm, kind, fun-loving, life-affirming people to share with and learn from. I was so scared and defeated when I was first diagnosed, I didn't have a clue about diabetes in any of its forms let alone what my life was about to turn into. I really didn't seek out community at first, while I took a lot of time to recover and get healthy and learn about my new life. When I was ready for community, though, it was there and has been there with open arms!! I've been to camps, meet-ups, happy hours, and of course online community is huge. I love your work, Laura. I love @appletonpictures on Instagram, he's doing super cool work with graffiti and creative advocacy for type 1. I haven't gotten a Myabetic yet but I probably will the next time I get on a computer. Beyond Type 1 has been a great source of inspiration and motivation, I love what they're doing - and I love their Drop logo!"



Age: 58  Year Diagnosed: 1974  Location: Long Beach, CA


The Diagnosis
Your food is poison
But there is an antidote
It is poison too

"The total number of marathons I've ran so far is 75. I'm a member of the Marathon Maniacs club, member #361. 

Back in 1974 I was a high school sophomore running with the JV Cross Country team. I had done OK as a freshman, but I was not improving with training that season, I was falling farther and farther behind, getting lost on long runs, losing lots of weight, having to pee all the time, you know...

Finally, my mom took me to the doctor. When he immediately had a diagnosis, I was happy that he knew what was wrong with me. I didn't know what diabetes was.
But my mom started crying.

Anyway, after they told me it was a lifetime thing, and I spent a few days in the hospital learning how to survive with it, they let me keep running.
I've heard others from the same era got exactly the opposite, wrong advice, got steered away from physical activity. I feel really lucky that I got the support I did."







Age: 43  Year Diagnosed: 2000  Location: Pomona, Ca

"I had hid my insulin pump in my bra to dress up.  However, when I went through airport security the metal detector when off.  I had to get wanded by a TSA agent and tell her I had an insulin pump in my bra.

After being on insulin shots for about 6 months, my husband and I hiked Half Dome.  We stopped almost every hour for me to check my blood sugars, and either eat or take insulin depending on what I needed.  Hiking Half Dome gave us hope that our lives were not over just because I had Type 1 diabetes.  Definitely more complicated, but manageable.  

One of the things I am most proud of as a type 1 diabetic is running.  I have run 9 half marathons, two 25K races, and one marathon."



Age: 29 Year Diagnosed: 2006 Location: Los Angeles, Ca

"One drunken night I went into a hot tub fully clothed with my "waterproof" animas pump. Unbeknownst to me until the morning, it went totally haywire and kept continuously triggering random button presses. It was even delivering boluses through the night, but fortunately on the Animas a button press cancels a bolus, otherwise I might not have lived to tell the tale. That was a horrible hangover.

When I was first diagnosed, the doctors and educators kept encouraging me to join T1D support groups, but I thought that was lame. I went years without meeting another type 1 diabetic. Since then I've learned the value of knowing other type 1s. Now I am active in events and meet-ups, and it's opened up a wealth of support and resources. Its also made me fortunate enough to meet many truly wonderful and inspiring people. Projects like yours help people like me realize that we are not alone in this.

Find an endocrinologist who puts you in charge and supports you. Read 'Sugar Surfing' by Stephen Ponder. Get a free lifetime Access Pass for National Parks and Forests. If you're in college sign up with the disabilities center to get priority registration, and use diabetes to get scholarships."



Age: 61  Year Diagnosed: 1985  Location: Hamilton, OH

"About a week before my diagnosis, I came down with an ear infection. A couple days later, on Friday September 27, my wife commented that I looked thin. Weighed myself, found my weight down to 150 lb. when it had been 185. So, before class I stopped at student health clinic, where they drew some blood for testing. On October 1, I had just finished a major anatomy midterm when I got word to get to the hospital now. It was there that I learned that my blood sugar from 4 days earlier was in the 800's. My wife got to the hospital, and her first words: "You're proud of yourself that you aced a hard neuro exam when you should have been in a coma, aren't you". Yeah, I was. My classmates all came to see me later. Loved their comment: 'You know how embarrassing this is that all of us are supposed to be some of the best nurses around and not one of us caught this?'

There have been a couple times where it has been so hard that I thought, "I could end it. I can't do this anymore". But then I thought of my two sons. Looking at me and saying, "You are supposed to show me how to be a man, be a dad". So I find new reasons. My son Randy Jr. and I earned Immortal Medals last year for running all the Ragnar Relay races last year. How lucky am I to do something so cool with my son? Every Ragnar I run now, one thought that motivates me is this: How many older than me are out here doing this? How many have an insulin pump attached to them?

This may seem a little corny, but give it your best shot. Don't let it stop you. What my son Jimmy told me once, 'You hate to lose at anything, Dad. But that's a good thing with what you face'."



 Age: 26 Year Diagnosed: 1994 Location: San Diego, Ca

"I think it's funny when people say that I have my life together. Maybe because I married young? Because I have an 8-5 Monday-Friday job? Or because I practice yoga? Or maybe I unknowingly put on this I have my sh*t together façade? Regardless, it's funny to me, because my everyday life is anything but put together. 

Every day is so different, and rarely do things go entirely according to plan. I could refer to it as a constant battle, but I’d rather use the term “adventure.” I guess non-Type 1's don't truly understand what a Diabetic has to remember to do (and what not to do). Every. Single. Day. Just to stay alive. And then throw in the other autoimmune diseases that a lot of us endure in our lives. It becomes a balancing act to say the least. 

In all honesty, my personality is very Type B. I want to be wild and free and careless and eat carbs and drink wine and travel to Africa and sleep with the lions (okay, maybe that last one is pushing it, but you get the picture). That's how I see myself. That has always been me. Very laissez-faire, go with the flow, let it be. But this disease doesn't fully allow you to do that. Sure, you can try to master it — and try your best to be free and careless — but that will most likely only last a few days, tops. And then, WHAM. It kicks you right in the pancreas! 

Being a Type 1 Diabetic doesn't fully allow me to be me, which brings me back to my original point — I don't have my life together! Do any of us, really? Most of the time I'm messy, I don't count my carbs correctly, my hormones are all jacked up, and I don't remember to charge my pump and then have to run home to charge it in the middle of a work day. It's things like that that make me laugh when people perceive me as a together person — because most often, my brain is all over the place!

What I've learned from this disease is that it can hold you back sometimes. However, it can also catapult you into this other realm, where you’re meeting new people that understand what you’re talking about, or are open to learning about it. And those open minds can lead to an understanding that all the imperfect and flawed people of the world can actually be responsible for much of its beauty. "



Age: 25  Year of Diagnosis: 2002  Location: San Diego, Ca

"I had always done various volunteer things with diabetes. I attended diabetes camp as a counselor, mentored newly diagnosed kids, and even completed my final internship for college with the JDRF Atlanta chapter. But after 25 years in Georgia and 14 years of dealing with T1, I decided it was time to start helping people like me. So I packed up my life and me and my D.A.D (Diabetes Alert Dog) Bear, set off for sunny San Diego to come to work at Dexcom! Now I get to help people like me all the time. Every time I talk to a Mom with a child who was JUST diagnosed and I tell them I'm Type 1 and I wear the Dexcom and I'm doing just fine...I know I've made a difference. And that makes it all worth it." 



Age: 21  Year Diagnosed: 2003  Location: Davis, Ca

"Type 1 Diabetes can be difficult to manage, but experience and practice allows handling diabetes to become second nature. I am currently a member of the Women's Basketball team for UC Davis and have balanced diabetes and basketball my whole life.

I've learned that perfect days are hard to come across and unexpected highs and lows are a natural part of having diabetes. In basketball, for example, some days you'll make every shot and other days you'll miss every shot, but you can always practice and make adjustments to minimize the bad days. The same concept applies to diabetes. There will be days that your blood sugars just don't seem to work out, but you can always put more effort into checking and counting carbs on a regular basis to help control your levels.

One thing that has helped me tremendously with managing my blood sugars is recognizing highs and lows and understanding how my body is affected by certain foods and the amount of insulin that I give myself. It's very important that when I am playing during a high-intensity game that I can recognize when my blood sugar may be dropping in order to give myself time to sub out of the game. My athletic trainer always has my blood glucose meter and low snacks ready for me so that I can check back in whenever I'm ready.

While my coaches, athletic trainer, and teammates have been educated on Type 1 Diabetes and the symptoms of low and high blood sugars, there's no person that understands my body better than myself. Because of my experience, I can tell the difference between normal fatigue and a low blood sugar by staying aware of my body and how I am feeling, especially during basketball games. For example, a strong indicator for when my blood sugar is dropping is that my tongue gets slightly numb and tingly and I start sweating more than usual. Small changes such as these make a big difference in noticing blood sugar levels. In addition, I always experiment with different snacks for lows and keep the ones that work best for MY body. I not only need a snack that can get my blood sugar up and stable but also a snack that won't make me feel sick for the rest of the game (I prefer fruit snacks and granola bars).

The most important message that I want to get across is that having diabetes does not limit you. Follow your dreams and understand that having diabetes has made you a stronger person. You've conquered a disease and you can conquer anything else you put your mind to!"