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Diabetic & Me

Chelsea S.

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Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.

Hey everyone! My name is Chelsea S.. I’m 27 years old and currently living in United States. I have type 1 diabetes for a total of 26 years.

I was diagnosed when I was 11 months. I managed very poorly. I was resentful. My sister got it as well and we were the only diabetics we knew growing up. It was scary and hard for my mom to handle on her own with no support, and having kids who know what they need to do but most of the time just wouldn’t was very exhausting. Hid it when I could, but people figured it out regardless.

Diabetes requires a lot of adult decision making, and has adult consequences. So as a kid dealing with that took its toll emotionally sometimes. It’s every day with no breaks. That could be tiring. Financially for a while when I was first diagnosed, but eventually CA came out with a program for kids living with catastrophic chronic illnesses, and they covered all medical costs. So that was an incredible relief financially.

“I was often embarrassed that I was different

from all of the kids around me.”

Your treatment

How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?

Currently I am using the the Medtronic 670G pump and sensor as my treatment. I am using Apidra insulin and occasionally Toujeo. Before I used Regular, Humilin, Humalog, Lantus and Novolog.

Definitely much has changed. Advancements have been incredible. It’s much easier today than it was growing up. My son was diagnosed with type 1 in 2015, and the care and treatment, we are lucky enough to have access to, will ensure he never has to deal with a lot of the things I did growing up. The ADA also makes sure he’s not treated differently at school because of it, another huge relief. My sugars are very well maintained now, but some health damage has already been done, and that’s something I’ll have to face when the time comes.

I think I manage to treat my diabetes much better than I used to. Could be better too though. The pump helps and at the moment my family helps me out a lot. I have an GP and an endocrinologist who help me keep my health in check.

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. I get Dizzy, shaky, irritable, hungry, and have a blurry vision. Also I get hot.

I check 2-3 times a day to calibrate my sensor, otherwise I just look at that when I need to. Typically you need to be checking 4-6 times a day, more if necessary.

I use juice, candy, anything to bump up initially. Then some sort of snack to maintain after it comes up a little. Occasionally binge eat during a low, because everything sounds good to eat and I’m ravenous. End up regretting that later.

Yes I have fainted before. I’ve also had a lot of what I call seizures, not really sure how else to describe them. Not cognizant of what was happening, unable to treat my own low, stiff muscles and crying.

Food and diet

How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?

Currently I fast most of the day. I typically only eat dinner around 5pm, which I try to keep low carb and high in vegetables. I also have days where I eat whatever. I make my diabetes work around my food.

I do vary my insulin dose when I eat more carbs and eat snacks in between. Not usually though.

I drink lots of water and I do skips meals.

I don’t have a problem with being on a diet. Not once I had a mindset change. As I get older I more and more appreciate being/eating healthier. Growing up I found it very restrictive thought.

I do find it annoying when people ask me about eating certain food.

Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?

I think that for anyone, a plant based diet can have pros and cons. Obviously more vegetables and less carbs/processed foods is healthier for anyone.

Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?

Not at all. Calorie King is extremely helpful. I recommend it. It has most major food chains carb count, and if not exact, it has enough to make an estimated guess to be able to dose for anything I want to eat. I’ve had it so long though, I’m pretty on top of what I should be dosing for anything I eat.

“It’s frustrating with people not understanding.”

Exercise and work

Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?

I love walking. I like to walk several miles a week when I can. Otherwise light strength training and running around with my kids. I’m a stay at home mom, that makes everything a bit easier.

Final

Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?

I stay aware of my mental health. Diabetes will factor into that. Depression is rampant in our community, and it becomes a vicious cycle of feeling down about being diabetic, tired of taking care of it, then feeling bad because you’re not taking care of it. Which makes you more depressed because you know you’re dying a little faster, just because you wanted to not poke and prod yourself for just a little bit sometimes. Rinse and repeat. I make sure I’m good mentally as well as physically, and get help for it when I need to.

The hardest part is trying your hardest to keep your numbers good, only to have it not work out despite your best efforts. Like running a marathon only to trip and fall in the last stretch before the finish line. But every day sometimes. All that work for nothing.

The best part is knowing other diabetics. (Sorry guys.) Majority of people will never understand what we deal with. It’s very relieving to meet those who do.

Another problem that occurs because of my diabetes is depression. Makes other sicknesses a little harder to deal with. Sometimes my dieting gets thrown off by weird numbers.

What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?

If you see us eating something, we already know what’s it in and yes we’re sure we can eat it. Don’t give us insulin if we’re low, that will kill us. Be patient if a diabetic you know is struggling. They’re trying their best. Diabetes is not contagious. It’s not a pager, it’s a pump. We don’t like needles either but we’re kind of out of options.

Find support groups or forums. It is lonely to be the only one, and you’re not. This feels overwhelming, and it is right now. You will be a pro in no time. Don’t be so hard on yourself if your sugars suck. You will try for the rest of your life to perfect them, and you will fail so many times. It’s part of our life, and it’s okay. It’s okay to mourn the loss of your old life. Depression happens, please reach out to a doctor so you don’t have to endure it by yourself.

We are people with diabetes. Not just diabetics. There’s more to us than this disease.

What would you ask the other diabetics?

What’s your funniest diabetes related story?

Want to publish your own story?

Hey! I’m Ely Fornoville, the founder of Diabetic & Me .

We interview people with diabetes share the stories behind their lives. By sharing these stories, we want to help others to understand life with diabetes.

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