Congrats again to the winners of our 2014 DiabetesMine Patient Voices Scholarship Contest, announced earlier this summer! Over the next weeks, we’ll be featuring an interview with each of them — all leading up to the 2014 DiabetesMine Innovation Summit set for Nov. 21 at Stanford University. That’s our signature invite-only event bringing together patient voices with industry, regulatory, clinical and D-technology leaders. All in the name of fueling innovation, especially in these times of #WeAreNotWaiting excitement.
Our winners each created a video review for the new DiabetesMine Test Kitchen, and we’re hoping those will inspire others to share their take on various products aimed at improving life with diabetes.
First up here is longtime type 1 and fellow D-blogger Sarah Kaye, who lives in South Carolina and many will recognize from her Diabetes Online Community (DOC) pen-name, Sugabetic (derived from ‘the Suga’ — as they call it in the South).
Diagnosed about 26 years ago as a young girl, Sarah now works as an insurance agent while also attending school for a leadership and management degree. Sarah reviewed the Tandem t:slim for the Test Kitchen, illustrating her passion to make sure device makers know what issues matter to us patients. Most importantly in her world, though, is her baby boy who was born in July 2011! Thanks to Mike for pulling together this Q&A with Sarah:
DM) How did diabetes come into your world?
SK) I was diagnosed at 4 years old, on 11/22/1988 (weird date, huh?). I had a lot of the usual symptoms — peeing in bed, losing weight, always thirsty… that sort of thing. When I received my medical records a couple of years ago, the doctor had the reason for my first visit in there as a tummy ache, thirst, and fever. My urine was tested and showed glucose above 250, so I was admitted to the hospital, and my life with diabetes started.
You’ve been involved in the DOC for years now. What has this community meant to you?
It’s meant the world to me. Before the DOC, I felt so alone. Granted, I had good family support, especially from my husband, but there was just something missing. The only other people I knew with type 1 were my cousin, who was much older than I was, and barely a handful of people that my mom told me about. I had been involved in a local diabetes camp during high school, but once I started in the working world, I no longer had the vacation time to go to it, so I was desperately missing that connection. I found the TuDiabetes site one night, and within a day or so, I had friend requests from lots of people — Scott Johnson (D-blogger and advocate) being one of the first — and those stories and connections sort of brought back those feelings of “normal-ness” that I had when I was at camp. It finally gave me the drive to start trying to do better at taking care of myself. The DOC is what fills that gap and helps me feel complete. I don’t know what I would do without it.
Read more »