I wanted to take a few minutes today to introduce myself as the new assistant editor here at the ‘Mine. While I am not new to the diabetes community, some of you might not be as familiar with me as others and I wanted to make sure that we could all get to know each other.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes nearly 17 years ago, on January 27, 1994 (funny how some dates just stick with you!). I had the classic symptoms of thirst and urinating constantly, and I lost about 10 lbs. in just a month. My behavior raised some concerns with my teacher and my parents, but it took a few weeks before my mother mentioned it during a check-up with the pediatrician. He immediately tested my urine, and we found out that day that I had diabetes. I was immediately put on multiple daily injections, although these days I’m managing my diabetes with a Medtronic Minimed insulin pump, Metformin (to combat insulin resistance — yes, even type 1s can get that) and a healthy dose of humor!
Ironically, when I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I did not like to talk about it. I mean, we did the proper things like sharing the facts with my friends and classmates, and if someone asked me about it, I would answer. But I was not what you would call a diabetes advocate in the slightest. I just didn’t want to spend my time talking about something that I didn’t even like!
That all changed in high school. I became friends with a girl who was the American Diabetes Association‘s first National Youth Advocate (they are now on #10!). Through her, I learned that although my life with diabetes was fairly easy because I had sympathetic teachers and friends, there were a lot of people who really struggled with life with diabetes. I decided that they needed help, and that I should be part of it. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, right?
Over the last ten years or so, I’ve been involved in the community in all sorts of ways. In high school, I was a delegate at JDRF’s Children’s Congress. In college, I founded and managed a website for teens with diabetes called Diabetes Teen Talk, because I can’t think of anything more difficult to manage than raging hormones and blood sugar! After college, I continued volunteering for a variety of diabetes organizations and writing about my life with diabetes on my personal blog, Lemonade Life. The name of my blog came from the saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!” I have tried to do that through living life with a positive attitude and doing as much as I can to educate, raise awareness, and advocate for a cure.
At the end of the day, living with diabetes is hard work, and it’s often emotionally draining. That’s why I rely on the diabetes community to keep me going. It is so wonderful to see all of us banding together to help and support each other, answering the tough questions, and providing a much-needed (albeit sometimes virtual) shoulder to cry on. Whether it’s a quick tweet, a thoughtful blog comment, a long email, or a real-life hug, the friendships I have formed in the diabetes community help me take care of my diabetes.
Community is also what I love about DiabetesMine, and I am really excited that this is now my full-time gig. DiabetesMine provides much-needed information to help you make decisions about your life with diabetes, because we always strive to tell it to you straight. No sugar-coating here! (Pardon the pun…) Now that we’ve teamed up with Alliance Health, we’re bringing the best info and support to an even wider audience.
I would love to hear your thoughts on DiabetesMine: what you’d like to see and how we can help you better, so please don’t hesitate to contact me by either clicking on that “Ping Us!” button up there on the top right of the page, or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So glad we’re all here together.