Erik

 
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Age: 26    Year Diagnosed: 2008   Location: South Orange, NJ

"I eat about a jar of peanut butter every other day when bike touring. Most of the conversations outside of convenience stores or the side of the road begin with a similar question, "Are you eating peanut butter while biking?" Something I learned about cyclists is that these athletes are always hungry. Our goal is to eat roughly 4,000 calories, or twice the daily recommended amount. All this fuel is needed for the long time on the bike, usually six to eight hours in order to ride about sixty miles a day. You can clearly spot that I am a cyclist with type 1 diabetes because of my handlebar bag setup. In between the bars of "Dark Roast", the nickname of the REI Novara touring bike, sits my dad's handlebar bag - I found his driver's license from 1988 when cleaning it out for the first time. To the right is a jar of peanut butter with a pink fork that I picked up at Walmart the night before setting out on this adventure; in the middle is the receiver for the Dexcom CGM displaying blood sugar trends; and on the left is a jar of jelly to treat downward arrows. There are no doctors or resource guidelines on how to figure out this setup. We are all experiments with our own bodies and I've had a lot of failed trials and tribulations. What I cannot believe is that this adventure is coming up on a full year on the road. There is a navy veteran that I met at the top of the municipal elevator in Oregon City (Google it) who sums up this entire adventure, 'You are doing things that we never ever dreamed about'."

 

Courtney

 
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Age: 32    Year Diagnosed: 1992    Location: Forth Worth, Tx

"T1D and me have been rollin’ deep since 1992.  I didn’t have quite the tumultuous diagnosis story as some, as my dad and brother also live with T1D so I fell right into the ranks. People are often shocked to learn of my family’s life with T1D, but we take it in stride.  We’ve learned to help each other out through understanding and encouragement, a simple listening ear when diabetes just plain sucks, and let’s be real…borrowing supplies when needed!  Of course we never would have foreseen or wanted this scenario, but what can you do?  Make the best out of it, use it for good, and keep on going.

Four years ago, I decided it was time for a change.  I went back to school and pursed my MPA (Masters in Public Administration) and soon afterward, I started my job at JDRF.  In my current position at JDRF as Outreach Manager, I get the opportunity to meet with newly diagnosed Type 1s and offer them important resources and education, community connection, and most of all…hope.  T1D becomes your new normal, but it should absolutely not stop you from living your best life.  Though sometimes it can feel overwhelming to always be encompassed by T1D in both my personal and professional life, I certainly know that I would not be the person I am today without the tenacity living with T1D has given me.  My strongest advice to anyone living with T1D is this – don’t be afraid.  Try new things, investigate devices and glucose monitors that may work for you, dive into diabetes research, build your own T1D community support group, and, educate anyone and everyone around you about T1D!"

 

Diana

 
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Age: 34     Year Diagnosed: 1996    Location: San Francisco, Ca

"Countless times I have been asked “Wow you still use a pager?” Or “oh is that an old iPod? Cool!” And it’s my insulin pump lol. Same with my old Dexcom receiver. I was two hours into a long presentation session in class when my Dexcom started blaring at me that I was dropping. The teacher somehow thought it was a fire alarm (didn’t think it was THAT loud!) and she wanted us all out of the classroom until I said “no no it’s just my pancreas trying to kill me again...” then come see the explanation of what’s wrong etc etc haha I gave my classmates a break but still embarrassing!

When I was about 10 or 11, I LOVED my big sisters baby sitter club book collection. My favorite character was Stacy McGil lol who just so happened to be a diabetic. When I first started feeling sick I ran through all those books again and let my mom know I thought I was diabetic just from the symptoms and experiences described in the books. Lo and behold, a trip to the doctor and a reading of 500+ and into the hospital with t1d I go. I wrote the author on Facebook years later to thank her and she wrote me back glad that her books helped me!"

 

Lauren

 
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Age: 25    Year Diagnosed: 2001    Location: New York City, NY

"My relationship with diabetes runs 18 years deep. Yep. We’ve been Netflix and chillin since I was 7 years old. And like any long term relationship, diabetes and I have been through different phases together. Ages 7-12 my parents were pretty much running the show and I don’t remember much, other then that distinct taste of sugar free jello I was fed at the hospital for 5 days straight. Ages 12-16 is when I began to realize I was “different” and started feeling embarrassed about having to go to the nurse’s office so often and became more aware of the looks and stares coming from kids when i wore my pump clipped on the outside of my pants. Ages 16-21, that embarrassment turned into me feeling like I was not good enough, or perfect enough and i hid my diabetes from most everyone I would meet. Ages 21- present, I learn to embrace what makes me different. I express gratitude for all the strength diabetes has given me. I am so over society’s standards for perfection. And I live a life of holistic wellness, putting my mind, body and soul first, which has immensely impacted me in so many positive ways. Being a Diabetic Health Coach is a career I never saw myself going into, but one I could not love more. I have the privilege of coaching T1D’s all around the world in helping them gain control of their diabetes, their bodies, and ultimately their health and happiness. From barely wanting to associate as a diabetic to making it my life’s focus, I feel like for the first time in my life I am liberated and just living my truth."

Matt

 
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Age: 26   Year Diagnosed: 1992   Location: Los Angeles, Ca

"When I was in high school, I went to visit my brother at the University of Arizona (the school I’d eventually go to). Before dinner we were in his dorm room and one of his friends walked in on me taking an injection. He quickly ran to down the hall to my brother and told him, “Hey dude, I think there is someone taking steroids in your room.

I don’t like that people think you have to be overweight or unhealthy to get diabetes. I tell everyone I know that I’m diabetic and a common response is: 'I would’ve never known.'

I would tell anyone who is newly diagnosed not to be ashamed of having diabetes and definitely not to let it take control of your life. It’s a daily battle and one we all fight. Also, get involved with the diabetic community. It has helped me on countless occasions."

Julie

 
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Age: 45   Year Diagnosed: 1984   Location: Dallas, Tx

"When I was in 8th grade, I was a cheerleader. I tested my bg right before a pep rally and I had a "squirter".. The blood shot all over my white cheerleading shirt 10 minutes before the pep rally! I called my mom and she rushed over a clean shirt!

"I used to be terrified of low blood sugar. I would purposely run my sugar up so it wouldn't go low, and I wouldn't run outside. One day I met a T1D who ran marathons and I was in awe. I started running outside; first just 2 mile loops, so I could pass my car and test every time. Gradually I felt more confident in carrying sugar and my ability to raise my sugar during a run. I ran a full marathon 12 months after meeting that diabetic who inspired me.

Libby

 
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Age: 29   Year Diagnosed:  2005    Location: Brooklyn, NY

"Let your diabetes in to your life. Let your diagnosis become a part of your story. Let your blood sugar testing and pump site changing routine become a part of your daily routine - just like brushing your teeth. Don't give your highs and lows enough power to prevent you from getting up and doing it all over tomorrow. It took me almost 10 years to embrace this disease and allow it to feel a part of who I am. Once I finally realized that diabetes would be sticking around for a while, I stopped fighting AGAINST it, and asked it instead to work WITH me. I literally talk to my diabetes sometimes. I will ask it to cooperate with me when I want to go on a long hike, to stay quiet and calm when I'm about to walk into a meeting, and to give me a break on the tougher days. It's been a transformative experience to stop fearing the worst that diabetes might put me through, and instead look at my diabetes as just another part of who I fundamentally am as a person. This is not to say that everyday I don't fight to outdo what I was capable of yesterday. But I don't waste my energy resenting diabetes anymore. It's simply not worth it. Not to mention, when I made the conscious decision to change the role diabetes played in my life, an entirely new world of opportunity opened up. I found a whole community of people that I had not allowed myself to know or befriend for entirely too long. I had no idea that I had been missing out on the opportunity to share this journey with some of the kindest, strongest, most ambitious, and beautiful people in the world. And now that I have them in my life, I feel so lucky diabetes brought me here."

Roscely

 
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Age: 27   Year Diagnosed: 2010    Location: San Antonio, Tx

"I’ve always been an energetic human being; I was-and still am always up for anything. Even when I’ve had a long, busy day, I wouldn’t say no to doing something. But recently, I’ve come to the realization that it would be totally okay to say no, and say I am tired. I stopped to think how exhausting it really is to have t1d. If I’m completely honest, for the past couple of years, I’ve been so tired. Many would say it is because I am getting older, but I truly don’t think that is why. A lot people don’t understand how tiring it is to have diabetes… but let me tell you, it is extremely tiresome. There have been days when I am super exhausted, and I mention it to someone and they just look at me like “tired of what?,” as if I don’t do enough. And yes, it is kind of frustrating, even for me to not be able to describe why or how exhausted I feel. None of those people ever stop to think how tiring and hard type 1 diabetes can be. I don’t like to play the “I have diabetes” card; but there are some days when I feel it should be allowed. Yes, you see me, you see a happy, positive person. But have you stopped to think how mentally tired I am? How about the emotional roller coaster I go through every single day, to have to think about everything I am about to eat and do at any given time. If I have low or high numbers, enough supplies, or how everything I do, and even the way I feel affects this disease I never intended to have. And that just because I make it look easy, it doesn’t mean that it is.

Jordan

 
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Age: 24    Year Diagnosed: 2005    Location: Dallas, Tx

"I had the unique experience of growing up familiar with Type 1 Diabetes, and I think this has definitely shaped the way that I view this disease. My dad was the marketing director for Medtronic Diabetes from 1998 until three months before I was diagnosed in 2005 at age 12. As a kid, I grew up going to work with him and meeting kids on insulin pumps, I attended the JDRF walk in Los Angeles to help run the Medtronic booth, and I used to pose with infusion sites in our front yard when he needed stock photos. Nicole Johnson was our family friend! So when I complained to my mom about being thirsty and having to pee all the time, she already knew what it was and didn’t let me eat carbs until we saw the pediatrician. My blood sugar was only 230, and I went straight to the endocrinologist’s office, where he gave me a shot, sent me to In-n-Out for a burger, and told me to come back later for outpatient education. At In-n-out, my dad said to me, “this is not a roadblock, it’s just an inconvenience”, and that’s how I’ve viewed it since! I immediately started on an insulin pump and a few months later had taken over managing all of my own care. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by an environment where diabetes didn’t even enter my mind when two years later, at age 14, I asked my dad if we could run a marathon! I have been involved in the diabetes community for years, both formally and informally. I ran a half marathon with Team Children with Diabetes in 2009, and have been a diabetes camp counselor since 2007. My first marathon was at age 14, and I went on run a total of 5 as Head Captain/President of the marathon team in college at USC. Two of my other marathon teammates were also Type 1 Diabetics! And one of my college roommates was diagnosed three months before our freshman year. And our other roommate’s dad was Type 1! Through whatever circumstances I have always been surrounded by others who understood and supported this disease. So it wasn’t until I went to medical school that I realized the magnitude of the impact that this disease can have on your life! At my new medical center I started seeing an endocrinologist that pushed me to get my A1c from the 7% range to the high 5%-low 6%; at the same time I discovered the diabetes online community. With my new perspectives as an early medical professional connecting with others who had not had the same experiences as me, I felt that I was able to better understand how my future patients and peers with T1D view chronic illness. When I saw in 2017 that Beyond Type 1 was recruiting marathon runners, it seemed like a natural fit for me and I signed up without question. What I didn’t expect was being able to witness how transformative this experience would be for my fellow runners with T1D who had not previously felt capable of such a physical feat. I realized that everyone needs a strong community with positive and empowering T1D role models, like I had growing up. This, coupled with a desire to expose my peers in medicine to the practicalities of T1D, is what inspired me to publicly train for my 6th and 7th marathons while talking about diabetes management, exercise, and living your life well not despite disease but because of it. I know I've been lucky in a lot of ways, and I don't pretend to truly know what it is like to feel isolated and controlled by this illness. But it is my hope that by sharing my story and perspectives, I can make someone else's a little brighter."

Don

 
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Age: 56     Year Diagnosed: 1972    Location: Plano, Tx

"I guess I look a bit more "senior" than I feel. This past May I was training to become the first type 1 diabetic to run a 200+ mile relay as a solo runner. I was in Seguin, TX, at a Whataburger, after finishing a 100-mile practice run. I was testing my sugar while I waited in line to order a burger. When I got the order back to my table, I noticed the checker had given me the senior discount. I thought, "I just ran 100 miles and got the senior discount... score!

This past October, I became the first type 1 diabetic and only 3rd runner to finish the 223-mile Capital to Coast Relay as a solo runner (all 223 miles by myself), in 88 hours, 11 minutes, and 27 seconds. This June I hope to become the first ever solo finisher of the 339-mile Relay Iowa, which should take about 8 days. In Spring of 2019, I intend to complete an 880-mile run across Texas, from El Paso to Texarkana; and in 2020 I plan to become only the 2nd type 1 diabetic to run across the continental US. There's a FB page for it, but it's easiest to follow the hashtags #donsolo and #forrestpump!

Type 1 makes a lot of stuff harder, but most of it is not impossible. You get a special sense of pride doing challenging things with "one hand tied behind your back testing your blood sugar."

Sarah

 
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   Age: 40   Year Diagnosed: 2011    Location: Dallas, Tx

"This goes for people even in the medical field: type 1 diabetes can be diagnosed at any age. I was diagnosed as type 2 in the emergency room by a PA because I was "too old to have type 1 diabetes." I was sent home to eat lunch with a prescription for Metformin and no information. I went to my primary care doctor that day because my symptoms were just too severe to by type 2. Type 1 is rare, but the consequences for a misdiagnosis can be dire.

When I was 34, I was dating someone with type one diabetes. I was also working out and skating in competitive roller derby. Over the course of about 3 months, I exhibited all the classic symptoms for a diabetes diagnosis: crazy fatigue, weight loss, thirst, constant hunger, terrible moods, and my eyesight was going very very blurry. I even went to get my eyes checked three days before diagnosis because I simply couldn't see WITH my glasses on. I chalked up all my symptoms to training for roller derby, except the eyesight part. Finally, my partner noticed my crazy thirst, and decided to test my blood on her meter. "huh," she said, "I've never seen this before." My bg was too high to read on the meter, which meant it was over 600. We were both in such shock and denial, that we actually decided to go to bed and test it again in the morning. If it was still high, we would go to the emergency room. Needless to say, it was still high. Thus began my t1d adventure, with my partner at the time who is also t1d. She taught me how to give myself my first shot, and how to track everything. She was a fantastic support during that time. We're no longer together, but I owe her my life.

The biggest thing I've come to learn is that diabetes can just be crazy, and it can have nothing to do with what you've done. You can eat the very same thing at the very some time under the same conditions while taking the same amount of insulin, and have a different outcome on different days. I used to beat myself up for eating a certain thing, or not remembering to take the insulin for that banana, and then I realized that no matter how "perfect" I think I'm being, diabetes is going to zig when I zag. And it's okay. Getting through a difficult day with diabetes is the win sometimes. Be gentle with yourself."

 

Valerie

 
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Age: 23    Year Diagnosed: 2014    Location: Fort Worth, Tx

"I was able to go to a prescreening of Jumanji with the company Beyond Type 1. I took my sister with me and when I was telling her about the event she says "Is there going to be paparazzi there? Are they going to be like 'Valerie, Valerie over here, show us your dexcom!'  We laughed so hard for a good while!

When I come across other T1Ds, whether it be on social media or in my daily life, it always makes me happy/excited. This community of people are all so incredible, bound together by hardship and strength that other people can't know or really understand. I'm so grateful for other t1ds out there who encourage and inspire me to live life to the fullest despite this disease!

Type 1 Diabetes is more than just a disease, it's a teacher. If you let it, it's going to teach you how brave you are, how persistent you are, how resilient you are, and how freaking strong you are! It's ok to hate it some days, but on the other days embrace it and let it show you things you might not have know before.

Marie

 
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Age: 22     Year Diagnosed: 2000   Location: Austin, Tx

"My roommate for the first two years of college deserves some sort of medal for enduring all of my Omnipod and Dexcom alarms as we adjusted to college life. During one late night of studying in our dorm, we had our first fire drill. We were both so freaked out, but thinking it was another one of my alarms, the first thing she yelled was "IS THAT YOU?!" We looked absolutely ridiculous standing outside that night laughing like maniacs in our pajamas.

Last year, I stepped outside of my comfort zone. Actually, I flew out of it. All the way to Sydney, Australia, and I stayed there for 6 months. Type 1 was the major barrier in taking the leap to study abroad. Recognizing that was huge. Taking action was huge. Life has changed. It's a process, but It's more important now that I recognize when I am letting diabetes hold me back.

When I meet other people with Type 1 it's one of the most powerful connections you can share with another human. I started going to a camp for Type 1 Diabetics when I was 7. It's where I met so many of my role models and best friends, and we all grew up together. It might sound lame to go to a diabetes camp, but I went for 13 years and even worked there as a counselor. The online community is amazing, but my favorite part of every year was diabetes camp. Anyone and everyone should go!"

Austin

 
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Age: 22    Year Diagnosed:  1997    Location: Dallas, Tx

"I have a lot of stories, but one that sticks out to me is my freshman year of college. I had 'trained' my roommate on how to treat my diabetes. That morning I woke up with a low BG, and was having trouble getting myself up to treat it. So my roommate grabbed me a juice box from our fridge and gave it to me. Without hesitation I took the straw from the juice box and tried shoving it into the headphone jack of my iPhone. He then had to help me open my juice box and drink it correctly.

With having diabetes for such a long time, I have been through the highs and lows (lol pun intended) of life and of diabetes. It never gets easier, but it is our perspective of diabetes that sets apart having a defeated attitude with diabetes, and having a hopeful attitude. If we have a defeated perspective, nothing will get better, and everything including BGs, our insulin to carb ratio, or something as small as the amount of insulin we take in a day, all become negative things. IF we have a positive perspective these things, although may be not the best at the time, are small milestones of learning how to manage your diabetes, how your body reacts to different foods, or exercises. With all of these little data points you realize that you are creating a map that will make taking care of your diabetes a little better. A hopeful perspective doesn't see good and bad numbers, it just sees progress, even if it doesn't come the way you want it too."

Raquel

 
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Age: 21    Year Diagnosed: 2001   Location: Austin, Tx

"I went to a performing arts high school for dance and was fortunate enough to choreograph and be in a dance about having type 1 for a big show we put on. Minutes before my dance went on stage, my blood sugar dropped and would not come back up and they had to completely change the order of the dances just for me (the audience was very confused when looking at the show order). It took 30 minutes for my blood sugar to come up, and then I finally took the stage feeling so gross after stuffing my face with sugar....at least I got “in the mood” for the theme of the piece before taking the stage 

Don’t forget that there are others experiencing this crazy and unpredictable disease just like you! Seek out others with type 1 and take advantage of our community. It makes such a difference to be able to have others to talk to about something that most people in your life will never fully understand." 

Jennifer

 
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Age: 36    Year Diagnosed: 2017   Location: Los Angeles, Ca

"Right after I was diagnosed, I didn't know what I was doing in regards to insulin for meals. I wasn't truthful with my carb intake and would miscalculate the amount of insulin I should inject to cover. One night, a few months after my diagnosis, I made a cauliflower pizza and bolused like I was eating half a Pizza Hut. About 20 minutes later, I started feeling like I was having a panic attack, but worse. I had never had a low before. I started yelling "I'm dying" and my partner at the time started shoving any sweets he could find my way. The problem was I just had low carb wraps and peanut butter and wasn't aware they process slower. So basically I sat in a limbo of false death until I ate enough, drank water and found some old gummy worms. It scared the hell out of me while also making me realize how much consistent control you must have, or else...

A big misconception is the idea that all people who have diabetes bring it on themselves. They must have had a poor diet and were addicted to sugar. Education should be key in this space. Many people can prevent type 2, but there is this misnomer that if you get late onset type 1, it's your fault. Hate to break it to everyone, but I am extremely healthy, a lover of fitness and my pancreas is just not a fan of me. He just decided this 35 years later. I will be honest and say I had similar misconceptions prior to diagnosis. Again, we need to raise awareness to break the ignorance. Also, I hate when waiters in LA think I am being a finicky actress who is using vanity as a reason for modifying my  food. PLEASE JUST MODIFY! 

As a performer, I thought this was going to make me look weak. I was very secretive about my T1 until I had a few personal awakenings that made me realize a lot about myself, like how strong I truly was. Diabetes is not all of me. It is a part of me, like someone else's battle is a part of them. We all have our hurdles. I realize now I have a platform I am creating to use for good. I can use my art and voice to make people feel less isolated with this diagnosis and to educate others who are unaware. When I get sad or bummed, I think about the enhanced lifestyle and discipline I have to have as a win. I also think maybe this is part of my purpose.

Do what is best for you. It is a lot of trial and error and there is no set guidebook to this nasty pal. For me, consistent exercise helps with insulin sensitivity and releases stress. I also believe low carb, high protein, mostly vegan works well. It is going to be ok, and be thankful it was caught when it was."

Penny

 
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Age: 5   Year Diagnosed: 2015   Location: Los Angeles, Ca

"You’re going to be ok. It seems scary at first, but then it’s not so scary any more and then it’s not scary at all."

From her mother, Kate:

"People have asked me if Penny’s Dexcom is a GPS device. I’ve asked Penny if she feels high in in the grocery store and have gotten all kinds of weird looks.

I wish people knew how much mental energy T1 requires, that it really isn’t a set it and forget it kind of thing. You are thinking about it constantly, like a program that runs in the background on a computer, always there pulling energy.

It doesn’t get easier, but you get better at it. Early on I found that we got so focused on Type 1 we were prioritizing her physical health over her social and emotional wellbeing. Sure her A1C looked great, but the stress we were causing her wasn’t fair. We taken a step back, recognizes what a huge mental health component there should be in Type1 care, and found a happy medium. We say yes a lot more."

Schneur “Solly” Jacobs

 
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Age: 19    Year Diagnosed: 1999    Location: Los Angeles, Ca

"I was on a long hike last summer. Because of the heat I sweat the adhesive off of my Omnipod, and had to apply a new one in middle of the woods. Since it’s part of The Long Trail, we would see people pretty often. A group of hikers came upon us, just as I was flicking the air bubbles out of the needle. I think they thought I was a drug user, their jaws dropped and they started backing off. I had to call out and tell them that I was a diabetic and that nothing fishy was going on.

I hate when people thing that we can’t make normal lifestyle choices! It could be as simple as someone telling me I shouldn’t be eating a cookie or people babying me on hikes. I’ve been a counselor for two years in a survival camp, I can definitely fend for myself. When people are suddenly experts in how I should handle myself and how I should maintain my health it really irks me. I’ve been living with type one as long as I can remember, don’t patronize me about how I should be operating. I find also that there is a big difference between when people care and when people “care” in this regard, people who care help me be less scatterbrained about it, for instance someone reminding me to dose fifteen minutes before food. Then there are people who “care”, who really just want to be right, “don’t eat that it’s sugary”. I’d say the misconception I'd like to fix is that diabetics can’t take care of themselves.

I went to boarding school at the age of fourteen. When I left home it really hit me how responsible I was for my health. I no longer had the crutch of parents who could monitor my every move. About that time I started getting into fitness and overall health much more. I’ve had diabetes as long as I can remember, but it hit me then that the person that you can rely most on is you. It’s always nice to educate someone else about what’s going on, but the person whose knowledge and being we should be most concerned about is ourselves. Be proactive, go out, and be the best that you can be, no one else can.

Being mindful of the big picture. It helps so much to sit down, look at your numbers, and see how they can be improved. A lot of the time you don’t need an endocrinologist to tell you to up your basil in the mornings. If you sit down and look at the trends over time in your logs, you’re already steps ahead in your journey to fix whatever is going wrong. One of the worst things I was doing was only concentrating on the now, looking at the whole helped me a huge amount.

Timmy

 
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Age: 50    Year Diagnosed: 2000    Location: Sun Valley, Ca

"In 2005, I was working for a band and touring around the world. It was the last night of the tour and I was sick in Fresno. I spent the day on the tour bus without getting off. I didn’t eat a thing all day. I would get out of bed only long enough to chug a bottle of water while standing at the toilet and immediately throwing up. At the end of a very long and terribly uncomfortable day, the EMT came into the bus and told me I should go to the hospital. I’m a very stubborn and stupid diabetic. I told them no! There was no way I was going to a hospital in Fresno! When I arrived back at my house, 7 hours later I walked in and told my then wife to take me to the hospital. I spent the next two days on an IV and lots of insulin. That was my first experience with DKA. It’s not fun. I don’t recommend it to anyone. I have learned to pay more attention and check my sugars way more than my doctor says I need to. I would rather not ever go through that again.

Tt seems that the crowd I hang out in always says the same thing... “ if you pass ou,t can I give you a shot?” It seems that people only think you need insulin and can’t have sugar. That’s why at work I tell people if you see me acting strange or passed out give me sugar!

When I was first diagnosed, a friend said to me “ So you have to take shots every day? That sucks.” My response was and always will be “No, the alternative sucks”. Being a diabetic can be a pain in the ass, or thigh, or stomach, or fingertip but it doesn’t mean the end of your world. Not taking care of it does.

If you’re newly diagnosed just know that there are so many of us that have gone through the same thing and are still here thriving and living a life full of PMA (positive mental attitude). The road ahead is rocky, for sure, but the fact that there is a road is reason enough to be grateful."

Kenny

 
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Age:  28     Year Diagnosed: 2005    Location: Rowland Heights, Ca

"Growing up we had a family dog that had type one diabetes. I remember my mom giving her shots before she ate. That was the extent of my diabetic knowledge back then. So when the signs of this disease started to be more noticeable in me, we had little idea as to the weight of what that actually meant.

I was given my official diagnosis on January 10, 2005. I was suffering from a sore throat, and when my mom described to the doctor some of my behavior leading up to our visit, they decided to test my blood sugar. It ended up being too high for the meter to read. That was when one chapter of my life came to a close, and this new diabetic one began.  

I was immediately admitted to CHOC Hospital. I owe the doctors and staff there so much for fighting the hard fights and for helping me come to understand what was happening to me. 

However, following all of that, I found it a struggle to keep myself on track. A few years after receiving my diagnosis, I found myself in a stage of semi-denial. I stopped using my Lantus and only did Humalog when I ate. I was barely taking care of my diabetes, and in so doing, I was barely taking care of myself. My actions landed me back in the hospital for a two week stay, during which I had a very long talk with my doctor, who at one point told me, “If you hadn’t come back in when you did, you wouldn’t have made it to tomorrow.” Those words will forever be burned in my memory. 

It’s been truly amazing over the last few years to witness the growth of this community of people like me — but it wasn’t until lately that I’ve become more active in this amazing community. There are quite a few people that I owe a huge thank you to for helping me see all the support that everyone has for each other. It has inspired me to want to do more and help more . 

Having a disease that is so misunderstood, I often kept it to, “I have type one diabetes.” I would speak very little when people asked about the devices attached to me. Lately though, I’ve been more invested in trying to help people understand what we go through. All type one diabetics have a similar fight to fight, but every person’s battle is their own, and everyone has a different outlook and perspective on the disease. But when fellow type ones come together to help each other through the hard times — well, that’s an amazing thing, and I’m so happy to now feel more and more a part of this community. 

I’m seeing my life with type one in a different light nowadays — a better one —  which is due in large part to this ever-growing support system. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed of being a type one diabetic. If you choose for it to be, this disease can be viewed as an empowering tool to help bridge the information gap that much of society has about it. My outlook now is more positive and productive then ever before. And that has very much to do with all of you reading this."