Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.Hey everyone! My name is Carolyn Jäger. I’m 47 years old and currently living in Richmond, VA. I have Type 1 diabetes for a total of 34 years.
I am the owner of a diabetes accessory company called Sugar Medical.
My sister was diagnosed 5 years before I was, so I was pretty used to the pre-set meal times and eating a more strict diet. When I was diagnosed, I, too, had to start taking shots which were so hard, but at least the lifestyle was already in place.
I was never embarrassed about telling people I was a Type 1 diabetic. However, I hated carrying my supplies everywhere, so I would sew my self-made bags to carry everything. That helped me a lot since my bags did not look medical. I did really well on shots through my mid 20’s when I started using my 1st insulin pump.
The hardest part was for my parents, who now had 2 kids with T1D. It was an emotional burden for them to keep us in check and follow best practices. It was frustrating since no other relative had ever been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2.
“The best support I have is from my family. They really watch out for me!”
How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?
The best support I have is from my family. They really watch out for me, remind me to test when I am sick, and they all have candy on hand for a surprise low blood sugar. I manage my diabetes with my Endo, who is quite helpful.
I am using a Tandem insulin pump and a Dexcom CGM all together with Humalog insulin, Vitamin B shots, and Vitamin D.
I have not tried too many other insulins except for the new Lyumjev, which I hated. It made my insulin pump site really burn and turn red.
I’ve seen amazing improvements made in the last 30 years! Just wow…what a huge difference. I absolutely LOVE my Dexcom CGM and really wish I had started using it sooner. My Tandem insulin pump has been an enormous help in keeping my blood sugars in a better range.
I am trying the best I can when it comes down to managing my diabetes. I have had an A1C of 6.2 for the last 15 years. I actually just had my best which was a 5.9.
Can you recognize the symptoms of a low/high blood sugar? Do you test often and can you tell a bit more about your experiences with low blood sugar?
Yes, I can recognize them.
When I have a high blood sugar of 150+, I can immediately feel that my mouth tastes different. When I have low blood sugar, I get a weird feeling in my stomach first and then sweat if I am really low.
Because I’m wearing my Dexcom CGM, I hardly test anymore. Maybe 1 every 2 weeks! It all goes automatically.
To treat a hypo, I use Jelly Beans and Glucose SOS packs – love those! Thanks to those, I never fainted before due to a low blood sugar level.
Food and diet
How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?
I typically eat yogurt every morning, salad with chicken for lunch, and dinner is usually protein and veggies.
When it comes down to my favorite food, I can’t say no to popcorn and scallops. Obviously, not together.
I love to go eating out at a restaurant that offers good outside seating and amazing salads.
For snacks in between meals, I prefer popcorn and red peppers as my favorite.
When I eat more carbs, I vary my insulin dose, but I try not to eat too many carbs ever to avoid that.
I wish I drink more water! I only drink 3-4 cups a day.
Being on a diet due to my diabetes, I feel restricted. I am gluten-free because of stomach issues, so YES, it is restrictive!
Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?
No, I never experimented with this.
Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?
Being gluten-free has made it really hard to eat a quick bite to eat out. No more sub sandwiches for me. I have my list of favorite places to go, and Chic Fil A is my favorite.
“Keep your blood sugars in line! Don’t think having a blood sugar level of 250 every day isn’t harming your body.”
Exercise and work
Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?
I walk and do strength training 2-3 days a week.
Diabetes does restrict me! I own and operate one of the largest diabetes accessory companies out there. It is called Sugar Medical. We are partners with Omnipod, Tandem Diabetes, Spibelt, and Glucose SOS. We design functional bags, cases, and travel bags for those living with diabetes. We also sell our own line of silicone gel skin covers for insulin vials, insulin pumps, and PDMs.
Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?
The hardest part of having diabetes is the fear of complications! I hate thinking about it.
On the other hand, the best part is meeting people with T1D and becoming instant friends because we share this immediate connection.
Right now, I am having a lot of issues with my stomach – it might be stress or just long-term diabetes wear and tear. I am now allergic to garlic and onions and eat gluten-free.
What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?
It’s a daily struggle to manage this disease. There is constant worry and fear that comes with being T1D. We worry about having low blood sugar and not being prepared, running out of supplies, losing our luggage with all our supplies, and what we should eat that won’t jack up our blood sugars.
The best advice I can give is to be patient. It takes time to learn everything. It can be overwhelming, so take advantage of support groups and learning sites online.
Keep your blood sugars in line! Don’t think having a blood sugar level of 250 every day isn’t harming your body. Try your best to keep sugars in range.
What would you ask the other diabetics?
What was your most embarrassing low?
Feel free to answer in the comments below.
Want to publish your own story?
Hey! I'm Ely Fornoville, the founder of Diabetic & Me.
We interview people with diabetes and share the stories behind their lives.
By sharing these stories, we want to help others to understand life with diabetes.
If you liked this story, join our mailing list for new stories.
Interested in sharing your own story? Share your story with us!