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Solving weight loss problem is first step of minimizing problem of diabetes, learn more Phentermine 37.5
is a smart and creative woman with diabetes with an innovative concept for World Diabetes Day called “

Q: Where did the idea for this collaborative art project come from?

The first seed was planted last year when Jessica Apple interviewed me on  After the interview, we exchanged a few e-mails about creating an art project for World Diabetes Day 2011. The timing was short, so I didn’t move ahead with anything, but I kept it in the back of my mind because I liked the idea of involving the diabetes community, and making something for

In addition to making art about diabetes, I write about it, too. I think of writing as another art medium. So I wanted to literally fuse the two together by making an art piece that involved text – and I thought that maybe I could put something together for WDD 2012. I knew right away that I wanted the art piece to be on a large scale because for such a big day, the message would have to be big. And I felt it would be more meaningful if the messages came from people all over the world, rather than just me. So there you have the Diabetes Declarations project.

Q: Can you explain the concept to me, what do you see happening with the text or “declarations” people send to you? Will you create a visual image from the text?

I know that the final art piece won’t be a busy collage of words. I want to use the declarations to create a scene or an image. I’m also planning to use other materials like paint and wrappers from discarded diabetes supplies. I have a few ideas in mind for the final image, but I don’t want to say yet because I want to be inspired by the declarations. I think once all the declarations are submitted, I’ll just know what to go ahead with. I guess it’ll be a surprise, even for me!

Q: I’m having a hard time coming up with a statement that summarizes my experience with diabetes. What is appealing to you about ‘declarative’ statements?

Diabetes is so many things. It’s hard to strip it down and declare just one thing about it. (Sorry everyone, for making you do that!) But I’m intrigued by what people come up with when they make their final declarations. I’m excited every day when I open my e-mail because there are new declarations waiting for me and each one is a surprise. Some are funny and some are serious. And some you can just tell that the person is a diva and others you can sense that the person is sad. I like the fact that everything that diabetes makes us – sad, spunky, serious, funny, etc. – it all comes through in one simple sentence.

Q: You were diagnosed when you were 12, were you creating art and/or wanting to be an artist before then? Which came first-the diabetes or the art?

 I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 12, but I didn’t think of myself as an artist at that time. I began identifying as an artist when I was in high school, at about 15. I majored in art in college, but I didn’t make “diabetes art” until my senior year of college. So I guess the two paths – diabetes and art – had been running parallel and finally collided at that point. I think it was the mixed-media class I was taking that jolted the diabetes art out of me. Thank goodness for that because my diabetes art is full of meaning and I had been searching for that.

Q: And…how has the process of making art been healing in your journey with chronic illness?

Diabetes art is my outlet. Whenever I feel the need to express something about my diabetes, I turn to my artwork. It makes me feel better. It’s like, once it’s out of my head and transformed, I can move on.

Q: Tell me about your artwork, you paint and create mixed media pieces am I right? Can you describe your creative process for me?

When I make art that isn’t about diabetes, I usually begin with a sketch or a photo I’ve taken, and turn it into a painting. I like how paintings tell a story. My diabetes art is different. It’s darker. More raw. Diabetes is often misunderstood, so one of the themes in my work has always been tellin’ it like it is. An idea will come to me and the next step is figuring out what materials to use. For me, diabetes art is almost always mixed media. It’s as if the smooth texture of paint cannot speak for diabetes. It’s not enough. I’ll pass collage paper in the art store and it’ll remind me of the gauze-like material on my pump site, so I’ll buy it and see where it takes me. It’s this combination of traditional art materials and diabetes supplies that makes diabetes art.   

Q: You are an art teacher as well, correct? How does teaching inspire or feed your work? Or does it take time away from making art?

Both. In some ways, planning a new unit feels like planning a new art project. It’s a similar creative process. Except, instead of figuring out how I’m going to do it, I have to figure out what steps my students will need to take to be successful. Student artwork is always full of surprises too. Sometimes when I’m being a perfectionist about a personal project, I’ll go to work and see something one of my students made. It’s not perfect because they are so much more forgiving than adults are! And I’ll think it’s great! It reminds me that art doesn’t have to be perfect. The flaws are what make it interesting. Teaching also inspires me because even though I’m incredibly busy during the day, I’m always in a creative environment. But you’re right, it does take time away from my own art. I guess that’s what summer’s for! 

Thanks Jen for this great idea, I will comes up with a declarative sentence soon! I have to add that I think what Jen says about art is a great metaphor for diabetes= art (and diabetes) don’t have to be perfect. The flaws are what make it interesting.

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How many of us women with diabetes struggle with lows in our relationships? I know I struggled with relationships in the past, and am glad that my husband is (mostly) cool, calm and collected when it comes to lows. For those who continue to struggle, here is a great Q&A with the awesome Susan Guzman from BDI ( in CA) in .

Q I have had Type 1 diabetes for many, many years, and I some- times experience severe hypoglycemia with no warning signs or symptoms—or at least none that I notice. My husband tries to be helpful, and believe me, he has often saved my life. But he never fails to scold me afterward for not recogniz- ing that my blood glucose level is getting low. These episodes are causing real discord in our marriage, and my personal confidence level is sinking lower all the time. I feel I always owe him an apology. Do you have any suggestions for what I—or we—can do to prevent this from destroying our relationship?

A Reduced hypoglycemia awareness can wreak havoc on people with diabetes and their loved ones. Not being able to predict hypoglycemia can leave ever yone involved feeling out of control, helpless, fearful, and frustrated. Those with this problem can lose both their sense of safety and their sense of trust and confidence in their own body. They may also begin to feel hopeless about their ability to prevent hypoglycemia. Many spouses describe the experience of their partner’s lows as extremely frightening and even traumatic. Most often when I hear frustration and anger from spouses about frequent hypoglycemia, it is because of their perception that there is not enough being done to prevent or avoid these episodes. As a result, a couple can start to have serious conflict around these events. It is important for you and your husband to be on the same side again, working together to fight diabetes and not each other.

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Question and Answer with the lovely Sysy Morales:

You created, several years ago. Tell me about where and why you came up with the idea for this website and how it has evolved over the years. 

Many years ago I remember wanting a fun, inspiring, and encouraging book on diabetes that included topics specific to females.  I never found quite what I was looking for (this was before your great book for women “”!) so I resolved to write the book myself.  Just as I started to do that, I unexpectedly got pregnant with twins and felt consumed by the experience because of the worry and challenge of it all.  Just then a colleague from work mentioned starting a blog by the same title as my book.  I thought, “hey, I could do that!”  My head still wasn’t it in though, because all I focused on was making healthy babies and by that I mean keeping very

The week after we brought our healthy twins home from the hospital, I started the blog while pumping breast milk in front of the computer.  It was the most inconvenient time in my life to do this, but I felt extremely motivated to tell others about how I spent years with uncontrolled diabetes and slowly turned things around and finally, ended up with healthy twins, which was a .  I wanted others to know that it was not too late for them to take care of their health and make their dreams come true, as well.  It took me a long time to realize that diabetics could do anything and once I did, I was eager to spread the word.

I didn’t know about the when I started blogging, so most of the evolution of the blog has simply been the DOC becoming an integral part of it.  I’ve come to realize how valuable diabetes blogs are and how the varied styles, voices, and personality types all wonderfully accommodate different people.  I think it’s been enlightening for me to be aware of many of the bloggers out there.  They’ve helped me develop my opinions, my way of thinking about people with diabetes, and even impacted my diabetes management.

Your sister Ana is the co-author of this website and she also has type 1 diabetes. What has it been like to share the diabetes experience between siblings and what is it like working together? Has sharing the disease brought you closer or changed your relationship in any way?

I guess it feels utterly natural to share the diabetes experience with Ana.  We were diagnosed the same year in childhood so I don’t remember what it’s like to relate to Ana without us both being diabetic.  If I imagine never having developed diabetes, I instantly get sick to my stomach to imagine my sister doing it alone.  We’re one of five kids and I think it would have been harder on either of us to have been the only one in the family dealing with this.  I remember eating sugar free jello together while our siblings had cake.  I remember telling her that I knew what she felt like when she was low or high and that I understood that it was really tough.  I praised her more than a sister normally would when she graduated high school valedictorian because I knew better than anyone else how much of an extra challenge she had to deal with to achieve that honor.  More than anything we share an understanding that isn’t even expressed with words.  That may be because I best express myself in written form and she with her paintings but it works for us.

You are a mover and shaker in the DOC and have also recently started a health coaching site, can you tell me what you offer on this site?

I am?  Why, thanks!  I work with people with diabetes who want support with any aspect of their health, typically in a 6 month program.  We do this in hour long sessions over the phone twice a month and then I’m available any time through email or text.  Soon I’ll be integrating the site with the blog so that the blog posts, recipes, and info is all in one place.  I’m really excited about health coaching.  It feels like a job that was made for me and it feels great to finally be able to use what I’m good at and do what I’m passionate about, which is listen to and encourage others to be the healthiest version of themselves.

You have applied to be an can you tell me what your responsibilities will be and what its like to be a role model for people with diabetes?

I’m happy to report I am going to train next month for this new role.  Basically, I’ll be doing presentations to groups of people with diabetes as their peer.  We’ll discuss the importance of the A1c test and other aspects of diabetes management.  I will also be sharing my story in hopes people will get something from it.  I have a history of very uncontrolled diabetes and serious issues like and anxiety and for the past few years I’ve been in a tremendously better place.  I know what it’s like to feel really down and out and stuck and I want to let others know that their health is in their hands and they do have the power to improve it.  I wish this program had been around when I was a kid.

What advice would you offer on managing motherhood and diabetes?

You know what, I’m still figuring this one out.  I’m still a relatively new mom, but I’ve found that most days, since my kids keep me pretty busy my blood sugars do better if I monitor and limit my carbs carefully.  I have the mentality that if I have to skip a meal every now and then in order to keep my blood sugars in place, then so be it.  I think it’s healthier to do that than suffer high blood sugars.  I think that almost anything is healthier than high and low blood sugars so I am creative about how I eat and work out during the day while wrangling twin two year olds.  I also try to stay logical about things.  Being a mom causes such emotional turmoil sometimes and this can cause me to actually hesitate handling a low blood sugar right away or checking when I think I need to because in my mind my kids need me.  So I try to remember that we need to take care of ourselves because our kids need us to be well and then I just go with the flow.  Life with diabetes requires lots of forgiveness, patience, and changing of plans.  Just go with it while respecting yourself.

Fun questions:

What is a must have item in your fridge/pantry?

Coconut oil, because I’ve found that it helps me keep my cholesterol levels healthy and it’s great on skin and it stays healthy when cooking with it in high heat.  (Or so I hear.)

What is the last book you read? 

So glad you asked!  Steve of the diabetes blog writes about his daughter’s diabetes.  He recently published his first novel called  I purchased it to support a fellow person touched by diabetes but found the book to be truly wonderful.  It’s exciting, emotional, and written very beautifully.

I have to say, I reread your book the other day because I have been feeling kind of isolated from other women with diabetes and my sister has been away at college.  It helped remind me that I’m not the only woman juggling diabetes with everything else we do.

What music are you listening to now?

I was actually just listening to my 13 year old brother who sings and plays electric guitar.  Here he is rocking out to

Where and when was your last vacation?

Almost four years ago when Alex and I went on our honeymoon to Cancun.  He’s coming with me to the and it will be the first time we both leave the kids so we’ll count that a vacation!

What is your favorite app?

Honestly, I own an ancient cell phone and have never used an app in my life.  I’m pretty bad about technology sometimes.  It’s a miracle I run a blog.  Then again, I have friends in “techie” places :)

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Another conversation about life with the with my friend

ANN:

Ok Amy, I’m a few weeks into it and I feel like the marketing people should do a better job of talking about the OmniPod’s spiritual benefits. You know what I mean? I’m walking around with this thing stuck into some pretty tender skin. The constant sensation of it has me aware or sharpened or something in a way I think a martyr would appreciate. Not that I was seeking this, but here I am, my leg hurts and I have to do something with it because removing the Pod isn’t an option. Right? Please tell me you’ve thought about this, too, over the years.

AMY:

I’ve thought a lot about the physical pain that comes with this . The pain that was in fact visible on the faces of my family and friends when they’d watch me “shoot up” or prick my finger. “Doesn’t that hurt?” everyone asked and I would shrug. Of course it hurt. It still hurts. It hurts every day. What does it mean to self inflict bodily harm every single day? I’m not sure. I don’t think I ever thought of it as being spiritual or poetic or mythical even until recently….

When I was in graduate school a teacher reminded me of the tale of and the dangers of flying too close to the sun. He was offering it as a metaphor for my stories of high and low blood sugars, and I thought, wow, there’s another way to think of these challenges, a way that’s less black and white, a way that’s more poetic or spiritual or something. If I fly too high, like Icarus, I’ll burn from the heat of the sun, and if I drop too low, I’ll get swallowed by the sea.

ANN:

Yeah, it’s a good metaphor. And “of course it hurt” is a really good summary of the whole strange situation of pain for a higher purpose. In the case of diabetes, it’s needles and finger-sticks in the interest of health. With religious ascetics it’s conquest of the senses through self-flogging or starvation or whatever, to get the body out of the way so the soul can flourish. Those both sound really noble but then when I think about what those habits create over time, I’d say it’s probably less noble or poetic and more like a callous. Or at least that’s part of the effect. Doing harm as a regular, normal thing sets up a value system where pain ranks pretty low, our own and other people’s. Like, really? You had a bad day? Hold out your finger.

AMY:

I love the line “to get the body out of the way so the soul can flourish.” That’s beautiful. Sometimes I do feel like my body is in the way or tripping me up and I think as a woman with diabetes, I’ve learned to ignore pain. I think that makes me less sensitive to the pain of others and I’m not sure, especially as a mother, that’s a good thing. I always wanted to be the kind of mother who would comfort their children when they were sick, but I’m impatient when my sons complain of a hurt or stay home sick from school.  And sometimes I do think to myself, “try pricking your finger all day long and then talk to me about pain.” But that’s not fair of course….there’s nothing fair about living with illness. My grandmother used to tell me after I was diagnosed (at 14 years old), “there’s always someone worse off than you.” I don’t think she was trying to be helpful, I think she was telling me to have a stiff upper lip, buck up, it’s not like you have cancer! So I felt too guilty to complain about the daily injections, finger pricks, blood sugar rollercoasters and fear of an early death, who was I to complain? Diabetes was bad, but not bad enough.

ANN:

Your grandmother was right, a lot of other stuff hurts worse. It’s that the pain is self-inflicted. That’s what makes it weird. It’s what makes diabetes special. :)

Let me ask you this. If you imagine yourself at 41 with all the good things you’ve got but minus all those years of a stiff upper lip, then what? Are you a different mom, or wife, or friend?

And what’s your thought on early death? I mean, are you planning for that?

AMY:

I actually don’t think about death at all! I am pretty firmly grounded in the near but definitely not distant future. I never feared death as a young woman with diabetes, and after all these years of pretty decent control and no complications, I’m at the point where I don’t think diabetes is going to take me any earlier than necessary. I do have a fear of blindness, but we can talk more about that another day :)

ANN:

Oh, lets. A few years ago I bought a set of Braille flashcards just in case.

AMY:

Stop! You did not!?!

ANN:

I did. Sample below, sister.

AMY:

As a 41 year old mom, wife, writer, friend, etc.etc. I go back and forth between thinking the stiff upper lip did me harm, and then I think, well no, maybe it did me some good. Maybe the stiff upper lip is what got me out the door and climbing mountains and traveling the country and jumping out of a plane even. Maybe if I hadn’t had a stiff upper lip I would be too soft. I would have stayed home and nursed my wounds.

ANN:

I have to think that way too. Soft is a nice idea but I don’t think there’s a chance, now. Too scary. Lots of years of finger sticks ahead.

AMY:

But maybe I could use a little softening on the edges?

ANN:

Ok maybe. Me too but just the edges. Just enough that we can feel the needles and get that little spiritual high. Ow. Om. Ow. Om.

 

 

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Devon Haemer was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old. She is a recent winner of the Diabetes Hand Foundation poetry contest with her poem, “She is Twenty-Six.”

She is Twenty-Six

She is twenty-six -
Invincible.
A vibrant woman, so self-assured.

Until she goes low -
That dreaded moment when
Her confidence plunges,
A waterfall of panicky tears.

Suddenly she is two again -
Begging juice and peanut butter crackers
Off complete strangers at the beach.
How humiliating!

These moments are the sludgy bogs
That slurp down her hopes.
She slumps, anchored fast to the beach towel,
While her foggy brain gets pummeled by vicious waves of doubt.

“Can I endure these lows and highs,
These needles and numbers forever?!”
“I can’t possibly travel abroad like this!”
“How will I ever handle motherhood as a diabetic?!”

Then the juice and crackers manage to saturate
Her body’s yearning cells.
And her thoughts allow her space to breathe.
She has energy, enough energy to unbury her hopes.

And she is twenty-six, again –
Nearly invincible
A vibrant woman, self-assured.

Q: Tell me about your diagnosis, and how did your family react to the news?

“I had all the typical symptoms: extreme thirst, frequent urination, leg cramps, fatigue, loss of appetite etc.  I no longer wanted to play outside.  I just sat inside and read books all afternoon.  My parents became very concerned with my lack of energy and extreme thirst.  My mom brought me to the doctor’s office, and the doctor himself called our house that evening.  I stood in the kitchen listening to my mom talk with him.  I knew the doctor had never called our house before, so this news must be bad.  After learning of my diagnosis, I hid in the bathroom, cried, and thought about how my life would never be the same.  At that age, I was already working through significant vision loss resulting from a car accident.  I asked God why he had to give me a second problem.  I didn’t know much about diabetes at that time, but I was pretty sure that it never went away.  I was frightened by its permanence.”

My family was shocked by my diagnosis, but their shock and sadness quickly turned into action and support.  My two sisters and my parents helped me learn how to give myself injections and how to measure out my food.  They were all very involved and reassuring.  Soon after starting on insulin, my energy returned.  I felt so much better!  I went back to playing outside, this time with a juice box in hand.  I spent a couple years using shots to deliver my insulin, but my blood sugars were constantly running high.  I switched to the pump at age 13, and my HBA1Cs improved a great deal.

Q: Can you tell me about the inspiration for your poem, She is Twenty-Six?

This poem was inspired by my personal hopes and my struggles with working through fear.  I have been truly blessed in this life, and I believe that diabetes has not prevented me from doing the things I have wanted to try or accomplish.  However, I often have to work through an initial hesitancy and fear in order to make my hopes a reality.  Facing my fears has been a daily challenge for me, but I believe I’m getting better with age and practice.  I have noticed that my fears haunt me the most when my blood sugar is low.  I get tired and disoriented; it’s difficult to resist the doubts in this state.

I wrote this poem as a reminder that those low blood sugars and times of doubt will pass.  Confidence is a wonderful thing, but there is nothing wrong with accepting help from time to time.  We all need the support of others in our lives.  Also, our dreams cannot be dropped just because we have doubts now and then.  We are not meant to be owned by diabetes. People are people, and those of us with diabetes are very capable of living very rich and fulfilling lives.

Q: As a young woman with diabetes, does writing poetry help you relieve stress and express your feelings about living with diabetes? Do you see creativity as a healing process to manage the stressors of diabetes?

I’ve always been an internal processor; I wait to verbalize my thoughts until I have had adequate time to formulate my ideas.  I enjoy writing poetry because it gives me a chance to capture a piece of life and document my feelings.  Writing has always been my default stress reliever.  Seeing my thoughts laid out on paper gives me a good idea of what I’m working through, and how to proceed to the next step.  Creativity, in any form, is a great way for people to understand life and manage its stresses, including diabetes. 

Q: How has the diabetes community ( and other sites) helped you live well with diabetes? 

The diabetes community has been a huge support to me over the past few years.  I wish I had found resources, such as tudiabetes, earlier on in my life.  It’s comforting to have other diabetics to consult with on the day to day challenges.  I’ve gotten some great advice over the past few years.  The people I have met and the knowledge they have shared with me has inspired me to work harder at managing my diabetes.

Q: Finally, what’s the best advice you’ve received about living with diabetes?

The best advice I have received about living with diabetes is to focus on what is before me today – don’t dwell on the past and don’t get too caught up in the uncertain future.  What’s important is to do our very best today.  I believe this is how we can manage diabetes to the best of our abilities, to see each day as a new opportunity to get our blood sugars in range, to exercise, and to eat right.

Times of Change

My malnourished perspective was ruptured

By an expansive and ancient city.

The pin-hole proximity of one dweller to the next

Squeezed my hidden thoughts from their crevices.

I found myself crammed into rumbly buses, where

Easy breathing was a luxury.

Waves of Roman cologne awakened me there;

Even my worries smelled sweet.

From smeary windows and fractured streets

We were always gazing, contemplating –

So many masterpieces, fashioned a millennium ago.

But I couldn’t escape myself.

Then, Siena – it smelled of a slower pace –

More like carbohydrates than cologne.

We delighted in those slanting streets, but

I was stifled inside my musty convent room.

One day in front of my little sink

My face was splashed by a decade of fears.

I saw all the wasted days, the dropped decisions, forgeries –

Just to feel safe.

A prayer of confession and a longing for renewal

Dragged bits of worry down the sink with my tears.

A day later was Venice; it smelled murky and alive -

Just as I was beginning to feel.

That first afternoon on the vaporetto,

The rains doused my flimsy white jacket.

Their drops carried bits of my worry away –

Through the city’s canals and the flood waters of St. Mark’s Square.

Until finally, they came to rest in the Adriatic Sea. 

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Lyndsay Riffe, RD, LDN, CDE, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 3 years old and says she couldn’t be happier with working as a diabetes educator. “I find great joy in helping others, and it also helps keep me on my toes with managing my own health!”

Here’s more of my conversation with Lyndsay.

Q: How has diabetes shaped you or impacted your life? Do you ever feel like you are submerged in the diabetes world? Does having diabetes make it easier for you to empathize with patients? And do you think they listen better, knowing you’ve walked in their shoes?

During my senior year of high school, I was at the point of deciding what university and what degree I wanted to pursue. At this time, I had my annual appointment with my dietitian/CDE and it clicked. (At least the dietitian part!) For most of my pursuit of my RD credential, a diabetes focus was not in my plan. I thought living and working diabetes would be an overload for me. However, when I was finishing up my program and had more contact with patients (other people with diabetes) I loved the empathy I could provide. I loved the wall that came down when they too learned I had diabetes (and I was not just another dietitian telling them to watch the bacon, drink skim milk, and eat 1/2 of a banana.)

Q: Exercise and staying fit is an important part of your life, when did you first get involved in sports?

I was active with cross country, track, and softball thru high school; it was fun and I have quite the competitive spirit! However, I was frustrated with managing my blood sugars during exercise. I was clueless and tended to just run myself high to avoid the lows.

At the age of 25, I ran my first 1/2 marathon. Not only did that race open my eyes to the enjoyment of training and racing, it also opened doors to being recognized and involved as an active person living with Type 1. Shortly after that race I became involved with Chicago DESA, Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association (now merged with ), and was introduced to Matt Corcoran and Diabetes Training Camp.

I had the opportunity to work as a dietitian at Diabetes Training Camp, and that’s when I gained a better understanding of strategies to manage blood sugars during exercise. Strategies that helped me give advise to others, in addition to helping me with my own exercise plan.

I felt inspired by other fellow type 1’s at camp (I attended both as staff and later as a camper), and it was through this camp I found out about a group of women forming, later to be called . Team WILD (women inspiring life with diabetes) was planning on training together (virtually) and completing a half Ironman. I didn’t own a bike, and didn’t know how to swim, but signed up for this 70.3 mile race.

I loved the sport of triathlon and finished my first race in 2009. The following year I completed my 2nd half Ironman (both with Team WILD.) The following year I trained and completed a full Ironman (140.6 miles) with 10 other women with diabetes.

Q: What kind of training do you do, how do you manage bg while training for endurance sports?

Team WILD began in 2009 with the design to give people with diabetes an ongoing support system and to have team camaraderie that went into training for the same race. Coaches provided athletic tips and training plans, in addition to a talented RD/CDE who helped with nutrition and diabetes management strategies, in addition to Dr.Matt consulting. Knowing I wasn’t alone was pivotal to helping me reach my personal athletic goals.

(Team WILD has evolved to address the ongoing needs and reach all people with diabetes, now to stand for WE Inspire Life with Diabetes. All coaching is done virtually–conference calls, webinars, etc.)

Knowledge and practice is how one maintains bg’s during an endurance activity.

  • Understanding that training for endurance events requires you to think of yourself as an athlete first
  • Fuel your body (with carbohydrates), and djust insulin to ensure you are able to take in the fuel needed.
  • Try to maintain bg’s between 100-180, and take in 30-60g carb per hour.

 It’s during endurance activities that I feel my best, and can honestly say I don’t feel like I have diabetes!

Q: Do you think it’s important for people with diabetes to have athletic role models (such as yourself), showing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle? Do we have enough, or do we need more?

There are ALOT of everyday people with diabetes that are doing amazing things, not letting diabetes get in the way, and living a healthy lifestyle. I feel inspired by anyone that sets goals, and isn’t afraid to try something new. However, it’s my fellow diabetic teammates (and now dear friends) of all ages that continue to inspire me. Everyday people that keep shooting high, proving they will not let diabetes slow them down.

Social media has also done a great job to reach the diabetic community so they can read ALL aspects of life with diabetes (nutrition/activity/medications/stories) and hear more about others that live with it.

Q: You worked with Diabetes Sisters, I think that’s how we first connected, right? Why do you think support groups like DS are so important for women with diabetes?

Yes! That’s how we first connected (I contribute to the .) Support is so important for living with diabetes. Good support from our healthcare team is needed, but having a family of people that truly “get it” is just a wonderful tool to living well with diabetes. is a great network of people that get it.

Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to get involved in triathlons? 

Don’t let your concern of managing your blood sugars during the training and race be a fear that prevents you from pursuing. There are a lot of great resources out there specifically for athletes with diabetes. On the same note, you don’t have to do anything alone!

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Morgan Patton is a member of who took time to chat with me about living well with diabetes.

Q: Tell me about your diagnosis, when, where, and how (how sick were you, how did you and your family handle the diagnosis?)

It was in 1995, and I was 7 years old. I remember being really tired all the time. I would often get in trouble for falling asleep in class. I remember being so thirsty and just wanting to chug an entire liter of soda when I would get home from school. I would wet the bed, which I was pretty ashamed about. My parents had gotten a divorce and my mother and I had recently moved to Tallahassee, FL. We moved in with my aunt and cousins in a guest room and I shared a bed with my mom. I remember pretty much every morning trying to wake up before her and making my half of the bed so she wouldn’t see that I wet it again. I’m not too sure how long my mom waited before taking me to the doctor, but I would say a few weeks. She just thought I was acting weird and depressed because of the divorce. When we went to the doctor, I remember getting my finger pricked and the reading was >500 mg/dl.

Q: You were young when you were diagnosed, did you look at diabetes as: this isn’t going to stop me from doing what my friends are doing! Or because you were so young, was it more fear based with an attitude of: My life needs to be closely monitored?

I’ve never looked at diabetes as something that will not allow me to accomplish a task. When I was a child I thought that way because of ignorance, now I think that way because I’m stubborn. When I was young I didn’t fully understand diabetes and how critical it is to have good control of your blood glucose. I wasn’t scared, I just thought of insulin as this thing that I had to take when I wanted food. In my mind it was as important to my body as a Flintstone multi-vitamin. I didn’t realize how dangerous insulin can be if not taken properly. I also knew if I was playing soccer or running around the playground with friends and I felt low, my mom would have a juicy juice for me and I would feel better.

Q: When did you first get involved in sports? Did you see exercise as a way to manage diabetes?

I first got involved in soccer when I was 7 or 8. I loved it because it fulfilled my competitive side, and I got to eat and drink sugary snacks so I wouldn’t go low. When I was 8 or 9 I started riding horses and competing in hunter, jumpers and eventing.. I didn’t view exercise as a way to manage my diabetes, I did it because it was fun.

Q: As an adult, you are a rider with TT1, tell me about this experience? How did you decide to first get involved and has it changed the way you think/feel about diabetes? For ex. Phil told me when you first came to the team you had a pretty high A1C and that since you’ve been on the team, you’ve brought it down by a lot! Can you tell me about this, how you improved your bg? Also, how do you manage your bg while cycling and training?

My experience with has been life changing. In 2005 when I was getting a check-up from my Pediatric Endocrinologist I had an a1c of 16.8%. Prior to the visit I had managed to skip 3 visits in a row by calling into the office, pretending to be my mom and canceling my appointment. They eventually caught on.  At the time I was supposed to be taking injections and checking 4-6 times a day. After that visit he switched me to a pump. It automatically lowered my a1c to about 13% even though I still wasn’t checking or bolusing, I was just getting more insulin than before. I gained 15lbs in 3 months and freaked out because the insulin made me gain weight, but I felt so much better. I decided I needed to start exercising more and liked the idea of alternative transportation. So I started riding my bicycle to school most days a week. It was only a total of maybe 5 or 6 miles but I loved it. I also could tell I was getting more fit.

A few months after I started riding my bicycle to school, I got in contact with Phil Southerland, the team founder. Our mothers met at a Christmas party and both got to talking about Phil and me and how we both had type 1 diabetes. We were completely different though. Phil was at the University of Georgia, racing on the collegiate cycling team, and had an a1c of 5.5% or something like that. I was finishing high school, thought I knew everything, only rode a bicycle a few miles to school, never checked my blood glucose, and still had an a1c of 13+%. Joanna (Phil’s mother) thought it would be a great idea to introduce us to each other and see if he could inspire me to manage my diabetes better. Phil later asked if I wanted to come out to San Diego, CA to help Team Type 1 in the Race Across America. I gladly accepted and got really excited because I’d never out west and was looking forward to being away from my parents for 2 weeks.

In San Diego I met 8 elite athletes with type 1 diabetes who looked like super heroes and I wanted to be like them. I had not found another thing I was as passionate about until I saw Team Type 1 doing the Race Across America. They were checking their bg15+ times a day, and I decided if I wanted to be like them, I needed to start checking. I slowly realized that when I went for a ride with a blood glucose of 150, I felt better than if my blood glucose was 290. If I ate a little bit every 20 minutes to sustain my blood glucose, I was able to ride harder longer.

By the end of 2006 my a1c was in the low 7% range.

Q: Finally, what advice would you offer another young woman with diabetes who wants to get involved with TT1 or someone who would like to bring their a1c down with exercise?

My advice is to set small goals. It could be to check 1 more time a day or walk for 10 minutes every day. It’s important to stay motivated with a disease like type 1 diabetes. For me, I like pushing myself physically and mentally. I also love accomplishing new challenges. I just signed up to run the with the Team Type 1 running team.

Team Type 1 is always looking for more women to join to running, triathlon or cycling programs. If you’ve never done a race, you should start by looking into some events in your area. Most cities have cycling or triathlon clubs that you can be a part of while you learn about racing. For the Women’s Cycling program, which I am in charge of, we have a wide range of abilities. We have a few girls like myself who compete on the national level as well as some who have only done a few races. We want to help them develop so one day they will be racing on the national level too.

If anyone ever has any questions about what we do to manage our diabetes while training and racing, I encourage them to contact any of the athletes via the

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I’ve been thinking about all the attention that’s been given to the value of SAHM (stay at home moms) because of the whole  debate. In an article by Frank Bruni called “” he sticks up for Romney, saying his mother, also a SAHM, worked harder than anyone he knows. While his tone felt a little  to me, after all, he is not a SAHM, I appreciated his attempt to highlight the value of working from home.

I don’t like to call myself a SAHM, and if I have to call myself anything, I’ll say I’m at WAHM (work at home mom.) I’m a writer and a mother and I happen to work from home, unless my kids are home and the babysitter comes and the I’m a work at the library/coffee shop mom.

Working from home has a lot of advantages for me as a woman with diabetes. I’ve figured out a schedule that allows me to run in the morning, get my kids off to school, come home to write and then, when my kids return from school, I do all those other household duties (laundry, homework, cooking, cleaning etc.) Money is tight and we’ve made a lot of sacrifices, but most of the time, we’re pretty satisfied.

The times we’re not satisfied is when I start thinking about getting a “real job,” because after all, being an at home mom doesn’t pay. And unfortunately being a writer doesn’t pay much either. So I get on a kick every few months and start looking through job sites and sending out my resume and mostly, hearing nothing back. And during that time, while I’m on my morning runs, I try to imagine what it would be like to go back to the real working world. I try to imagine dropping my kids off for the entire day (not just the school hours), and not picking them up until 5pm. I try to imagine managing my diabetes and I think back to the days when I was out there “working” and all those rollercoaster blood sugars, and I don’t want to go back to work. But I also don’t want to avoid something out of fear.

I like working from home. I like that I can eat every meal at home, that I can test my blood sugar as often as possible, that I can exercise every day and that if I start to get low or high, I can take care of it immediately. Working from home allows me to put my needs as a woman with diabetes first and I like that. But I don’t like struggling to pay our bills. And I don’t want to feel like I am boxing myself in.

So I’m going to start looking for women who are living successfully with diabetes and managing successful careers. If you are one of those women, come and find me, I want to hear your story.

Stay tuned…..

Articles and Studies on Diabetes and the Workplace:

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This is a continuation of my interview with Erin and Asha from We Are Diabetes.

Recovery from

The recovery process from diabulimia is extremely difficult. A person who has avoided feeling fat and who has gone to the extremes of killing themselves through insulin omission has to suddenly deal with bloat, temporary weight gain, fatigue, and numerous complications from poor blood sugar control such as , , Renal failure, and the list just keeps going. This usually comes as a shock to the person in initial stages of recovery because they didn’t experience any of these symptoms when they were in the vicious cycle of bingeing and omitting insulin. Their body was numb, and its only once the blood sugars come down that the physical symptoms and consequences of diabulimia really begin to show.

Erin, what has your recovery been like? What advice would you offer someone currently struggling with diabulimia?

My recovery was a rough and rocky one. As anyone in recovery knows, there are many ups and downs, and there are days where you want to give up and not try anymore. I was never a person who adjusted well to change, and I had been living my life with diabulimia for so long that it was all I knew. I was afraid to see my life without it, and I was afraid to get to know the real person that was living beneath this awful disease. Getting past the denial was the hardest part for me and giving up all the coping methods I had become accustomed to was not easy. When I was on the road to recovery, there was no place to go to get help and the term diabulimia did not even exist. I thought there was nobody out there like me to whom I could relate to, and I thought I was the only person struggling with this issue, which is what Asha and I hope to change. Now there are places to get help like We Are Diabetes, and there are people to turn to.

I was lucky enough to find a doctor who cared enough about me to research this issue and help me. We worked together to figure out a plan and she helped me by gathering bits and pieces of information from counselors and eating disorder clinics and she formulated that information to fit specifically for diabulimia. Due to the fact that there were no programs available for people like me, we had to design our own treatment plan. I was so frustrated with entering “treatment programs” where they didn’t even watch to see if I was testing or taking my insulin. I was set up for failure. My doctor was the only one who I could be honest without her judging me. Instead I was too afraid to admit what was going on so I kept hiding it and pretending I could figure it out on my own. If some of the doctors I went to caught it earlier maybe I would not be suffering from some of the consequences I am dealing with now. Instead my doctors told my parents and me that I needed to grow up. They said it was a maturity thing when really it was a young girl who was in so over her head and so out of control that I was going to kill myself.

My recovery road was long, and I had times where I tried my hardest and failed. I had to get back on the wagon many times before I finally stayed on for good! I’ve been in recovery now for six years and it’s amazing how much my life has changed for the better. For any young girls struggling now, I would tell them to find someone that they can trust and confide in them. Don’t be afraid to admit that you need help.

From the time we are diagnosed we are taught that managing diabetes is like managing a bank account. We are taught that if you follow the rules everything will run smoothly, but it is nothing like that, and the same people that are telling us how easy it is to manage are the same people who are criticizing us for not having perfect A1C. Diabetes is incredibly hard to manage. For any young women that are out there reading this, I am telling you to find one person, tell one person, trust one person. Don’t hide it any longer because not being able to manage your diabetes is nothing to be ashamed of. There are thousands of young girls out there like you who are going through the same thing. You are not and never will be alone.

There is no way to avoid the numerous and sometimes deadly consequence that diabulimia can cause unless you seek a way out of the vicious cycle. I thought living with diabetes was hard, but living with the consequences of diabulimia and diabetes is much harder. Your life is happening right now! Make the most of it and don’t wait!

Asha, what is the future of WAD? What can we expect to see from this organization? Also, where can women find help?

We Are Diabetes is just getting started! There are so many plans and projects in the works for the website and the online community, but you’ll just have to keep following our progress both on the website as well as on facebook to see! We Are Diabetes will be spending the rest of the year continuing to reach out to the eating disorder awareness community to offer our unique services to the specialized group of type 1 diabetics with an eating disorder. We are currently in the process of applying for our non profit status so that in the future WAD can offer scholarships to individuals seeking treatment and other types of financial support. We Are Diabetes has plans for community action events, fundraisers and educational seminars that are already in development. For more information regarding We Are Diabetes or for information on diabulimia please visit

Online Support

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Books and Media

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Treatment Centers:

Treatment for Hope of the Sierras

Park Nicollet Melrose Institute,

Eating Disorder Center of Denver,

The Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents,

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This is a 2 part conversation with Erin Williams and Asha Brown of , an organization primarily devoted to promoting support and awareness for the eating disorder diabulimia:

Diabulimia: is an eating disorder unique to the type 1 diabetic community. It is the act of omitting (skipping) your insulin injections for the purpose of weight loss. Those who suffer from diabulimia tend to also suffer from binge eating disorder due to the constant hunger they feel with extremely elevated blood sugars. The cycle of bingeing, skipping your insulin to “purge” the calories from the binge and then bingeing even more because the body thinks it is starving is an incredibly difficult cycle to free oneself from. Diabulimia is deadly.

Erin, you struggled with for several years, was it during this time that you decided to create We Are Diabetes?

No, came after all my years of struggling. I was not in a place to give anyone help or advice until I figured it out on my own. After I got better I knew there was a need out there, but I didn’t know how to get started. That’s when I found Jenna, who helped me write my story for about my life with Diabulimia. It was one of the first articles about diabulimia ever published in a major magazine. After that article came out many girls started contacting me on letting me know they were doing the same thing and they couldn’t stop themselves. It was unbelievable how many diabetics were out there, and for the first time I saw how large the need was.

However, I was not the one who came up with the idea to start . The ideas for this amazing company we started came from the Founder, who had read the article in SELF Magazine and shortly after, went into treatment. A few years after her initial recovery, Asha started working to promote awareness of diabulimia with a few organizations. She had thoughts of starting her own company and a nurse who works at gave my contact information to Asha.

At the time Asha and I connected I’d been in recovery for about 6 years, and Asha was moving in to her fourth year. She told me about her thoughts of starting We Are Diabetes and I was on board! Asha was determined to give girls hope that were struggling with diabulimia, but was a little nervous about starting it, so she asked if I would join her efforts. We have both struggled immensely with and are passionate about trying to save other girls.

As soon as the decision was made to create , we were unstoppable! Asha and I make a powerful team, and we both have unique strengths that will enable us to take We Are Diabetes to the place it needs to be.

The site has only been up for a few months now, but the feedback has been incredible and the individuals we’ve had the honor of advising and supporting in their journeys through recovery have touched both our lives in so many ways. We are both so lucky to have met so many fascinating, talented and beautiful people who are struggling with diabetes. The people we have met through WAD have shown us both how much strength and power we have within ourselves.

Asha, you also have first hand experience with diabulimia, tell me why you think women with diabetes are more likely to struggle with disordered eating? Can you also describe to me exactly what diabulimia is, what are the warning signs, what are the dangers etc.?

Anyone with type 1 diabetes knows that better control over your blood sugars and overall diabetes management means living a better, longer life. However women with type 1 diabetes go through constant changes with their body especially through their young adult life. Hormones, weight fluctuations during adolescences and learning “who you are” is hard enough for any young women growing up in the this media-infused society, but it’s much harder when you also have to constantly worry about your blood sugars, the carbs and calories of every meal, and trying to be “normal” like your friends.

I think girls with type 1 have some extra obstacles to face:

  • The media promotes a message that you must be slender. When a girl with type 1 diabetes feels like her body is out of her control, and that she often doesn’t get to make choices, looking and feeling normal is everything. We live in a society where sixth graders are talking about going on diets, being a type 1 diabetic girl is very hard. Women in their 20-30’s are not exempt from this pressure either, in fact it really never ends no matter what age you are.
  • The other obstacle is the burnout that all type 1 diabetics have to fight. Living with Type 1 diabetes means you are in a constant struggle to control the disease as much as you can, and at the same time be able to accept that your body is different, and even if you do everything right it may not “listen” to you.

This was definitely what I struggled with the most. As an actress and performer since age 4, growing up with diabetes was challenging when I had to perform. I didn’t have time to have a low blood sugar if I was getting ready to go on stage, and I didn’t want my diabetes to slow me down! Although I was able to manage decent a1cs for most of my childhood, by the time I was a Freshman in High School, diabetes had become my enemy; my one major obstacle keeping me from living my dream on the stage. My insulin omission started around this time and continued for 9 years.

This question is for both of you, what is your mission for WAD? How can we best serve women with diabetes who are struggling with eating disorders?

(Erin) Our mission for WAD is to let people struggling with diabetes know that they are not alone and that there is help out there. We want to squash the idea that anyone with diabetes is going to end up limbless and blind. People with diabetes are fully capable of living long, happy, healthy lives. We want to show those who are struggling that it is possible to turn your life around and that you can live your life without having to hide under the disease. I think that we can best serve those struggling with diabetes by adjusting our training on the disease. We cannot scare people into taking care of themselves. We cannot show them pictures and tell them stories about all the horrible things that can happen to people who are living with diabetes. That just makes people want to give up.

We can best serve those with diabulimia by educating doctors and people in the medical community. The medical community knows that something is wrong when 30-40% of the type 1 diabetic women are coming to them with extremely high a1cs, but the patients themselves are so ashamed of their behaviors and embarrassed to address it. Without proper communication between health care provider and patient, the issues associated with diabulimia continue to wreak havoc on the body and the patient continues to feel utterly alone and isolated. If better support were available for treating not ONLY the disease, but also the person WITH the disease, perhaps there would be less type 1 diabetics suffering in silence.

(Asha) Building awareness and getting people to our website is step one in the process of serving the many who are silently struggling from diabulimia. We Are Diabetes offers individual support, referrals to the treatment centers that are equipped to help type 1 diabetics with eating disorders as well as a private community where those who are in recovery can support those who are still struggling.

Part 2 will focus on Recovery, so stay tuned!

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