Q. You had diabetes at 9 years of age. How was your child hood changed?
A. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just before my third birthday. My childhood was more complicated because of diabetes, but I was able to do things that non-diabetic kids got to do, too.
Q.Who was your biggest support in diabetes care?
A. My family was very involved in my diabetes care, considering my childhood diagnosis. My parents educated my teachers on diabetes so that I would be safe in the classroom, and thankfully, it all worked out okay.
Q. Beating diabetic fatigue. How do you do it?
A. “Diabetes burnout” or “fatigue” is a real thing. This disease requires constant vigilance, and often still has a mind of its own. I have learned to forgive myself for things that are beyond my control. I have also taken breaks from social media if I feel that the inundation of diabetes content is too much during times of burnout.
Q. One thing you wished you didn’t have to do daily?
A. People with diabetes accomplish so much each morning before they even sit down at work or at school. We have to poke our fingers and check our blood sugar, calculate insulin doses according to the carbohydrate content we consume, and so much more. While a cure would be ideal so that we do not have to do all of this maintenance work, in the meantime I wish that society could be more empathetic and educated on just how much we go through to stay alive each day.
Q. Would you like to change something or someone in diabetes healthcare management?
A. I would ask that those involved in diabetes healthcare management remember to listen to those who know it best: the people with diabetes. There are going to be good days and bad days. Be considerate of how much effort diabetes takes.
Q. If you didn’t have diabetes,you could……
A. Truthfully, I have never really dwelled on what I could do differently if I did not have diabetes. I do not feel limited by diabetes in an extreme way. However, I would totally love to eat hot fudge sundaes more often if I did not have diabetes. And I will always believe that each of us deserves a cure.
Q. Does diabetes effect your social life?
A. Diabetes is present for all occasions, so it is there in social settings. My friends become more informed about diabetes as they spend time with me, and I am grateful for their support. If I am cool about diabetes, I have found that those around me will be, too.
Q. Your blogs are an inspiration to many. What motivates you to keep writing?
A. Thank you for reading my blog. Knowing that I may help people by sharing my diabetes story is motivation to keep writing. Having the opportunity for my voice to be heard is a blessing I do not take lightly; I will never stop fighting for the world to be a better place for all people with diabetes.
Q. How do you keep the balance?
A. Finding balance is a constant in diabetes. Did I take too much insulin, or too little? Is my blood sugar too high, or too low, or where I want it to be? There is also the emotional balance of managing diabetes as best as one can while still living life. There are some days that are more difficult than others, days where diabetes does not behave as we want it to. I try to be gentle with myself during those times, and to know that the next day is an opportunity to refresh and start over.
Q. Diabetes . Explanation to a child.
A. Explaining diabetes to a child is also part of the balancing act. We do not want children to be terrified of this very realistic threat to our health. But we want them to be informed enough and compassionate enough about the issue. I explain to children that diabetes means that I have to take insulin when I eat food so that my body can give me energy, and that I appreciate all of the people who support me as I deal with diabetes.
Thank you for the interview, BeatO!