Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.
Hey, I’m Cerise, I’m French and it’s been 5 years since I moved to Montreal, Canada.
I moved here to go to university and study business. Now I work in digital marketing.
I got diagnosed a few months after I arrived in Montreal, so my diagnosis story is a bit of a wild one.
I love cooking, painting, traveling, and trying out new restaurants. But most importantly, I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 18. In the beginning, I was only telling people that were close to me.
It is only recently that I started opening up about my diabetes to strangers and colleges. It’s only after I joined the diabetic community on Instagram and I realized that type one diabetes is a strength and not something to hide from others.
Emotionally it was a shock for me and my family. We had no idea what type 1 was before I was diagnosed. I was scared. We were scared.
It was difficult to accept everything would change. It was a very stressful first couple of months. I am so thankful for my family that shouldered so much of the responsibility early on. They were braver than me. They asked all the right questions and took care of me.
“Don’t forget the ‘living’ part.”
How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?
I’m getting a lot of support from my family and my boyfriend everyday.
I use insulin pens with Novorapid before I eat and Lantus insulin once a day at night. Before I didn’t use any other insulins. Lol diabetic career, I’m a professional now :D
I’ve been using insulin pens from the start of my diagnosis. I actually like the freedom of just carrying pens and needles. The only downsides are the bruise from my injection sites (I usually inject on my legs or stomach).
My CGM is the Freestyle Libre sensor. I’ve been using it for 3 years now and it’s a life-changer for me. I even use my phone app to scan the sensor. Before Freestyle Libre, I was using the Contour Next USB and to be honest scanning is better than pricking your finger 10+ times a day.
At first, I was more stressed and anxious and now with time I actually got used to it. Sometimes it is not always easy and I get discouraged. But most days, I feel great.
I try to stay positive and always try to see the bright side. I like my life the way it is with T1.
I think I manage my diabetes pretty well, of course not every day. There are ups and downs, highs and lows, hypos and hypers – just like life. But overall I am 80-85% in my target and I think that’s pretty good.
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. If it’s a big hypo I get hot, sweaty, hungry, low-energy, I can’t focus, and I start to shake (kinda like a Shakira music video). If it’s a hyper I feel slow, tired and heavy.
I scan my sensor like 15 to 20 times a day. I always scan before and after eating. If I do an activity I check a lot. It’s very easy to check my glucose levels with the Freestyle Libre sensor. TREAT. CHECK. REPEAT.
To treat a low blood sugar I get my snack. Apple juice and a biscuit. I sit down and relax. I treat with a “fast” sugar like apple juice, sugar cubes or jam to raise my levels quickly. Then I eat a biscuit and check my levels every fifteen minutes (repeat as necessary).
Food and diet
How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?
For breakfast, I usually have cereal bread with butter and jam or eggs, with a homemade smoothie (banana, strawberry, raspberries, apple, and yogurt).
Lunches and dinners always vary. I sometimes make a salad or something light for lunch then a bigger meal at night. My favorite food is spaghetti bolognese. I never skip any meals.
I don’t snack between meals. The only time I have snacks is when my sugar level is low. Then I might have a delicious chocolate covered biscuit.
I always vary my dose depending on the amount of carbs I have in each meal. I find that by doing this I feel free to try new food, which is super important to me.
I drink water all day long and tea in the morning. I think a bit more than 1 liter.
Wen people ask me about certain foods I can or can’t eat I don’t get annoyed. I always try to explain that even I’m T1 I can eat what I want, even if it’s something very sweet. I just think of it as my part in diabetic awareness.
Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?
I never tried a plant based diet, but I realized that when I eat a salad with very low carbs I don’t need to take any insulin if I exercise right after.
Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?
It’s difficult. Not only because you don’t know the number of carbs in each meal. But also, because planning to take your dose of insulin 15 minutes before the meals arrive is nearly impossible.
I usually do my injection after the meal, but by then my sugar level is already going up.
Estimating the number of carbs in a restaurant meal is more of an art than a science but with time you get the hang of it.
Obviously my levels are never perfect after eating, but the social aspect of going out and enjoying myself is also a very important part of being diabetic.
When the weather is nice, a terrace is my go to. In the winter, you can find me in an Izakaya.
“The only thing you can say … it’s going to get better and trust me you are going to figure it out.”
Exercise and work
Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?
I take long walk, do cardio and stretching at home.
I work in digital marketing. Work affects my diabetes because I have to sit all day long and exercise less than before.
Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?
To manage my diabetes better I exercise and eat healthy.
The hardest part when having diabetes type 1 is that I’m sleeping well. Always checking my rate during the night, sometimes I can be too low and it wakes me up.
The best part is when meeting amazing people in the T1 community. They showed me everyday how to be proud of being a type one diabetic!
Sometimes I get mood swings and acne (because of the hypers).
What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?
Being a type one diabetic gives you an inner strength and ability to overcome and adapt, that most people don’t get the chance to experience in their lives.
The only thing you can say … it’s going to get better and trust me you are going to figure it out.
Don’t forget the “living” part.
Don’t adapt your life to T1, adapt your T1 to your life
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