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Diabetic & Me

Haley Leshko

Haley Leshko

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

Hey everyone! My name is Haley Leshko. I’m 17 years old and currently living in United States. I have type 1 diabetes for a total of 10 years.

I was diagnosed when I was 7. I was often embarrassed that I was different from all of the kids around me. I didn’t want people to know because then they would always ask me “Oh, how’s your sugar?” or “Oh, did you eat too much candy when you were little?”. They are such frustrating questions. I still sometimes hide it. My mom was my biggest supporter. She would wake up every 2 hours to make sure my sugar levels were okay.

Diabetes takes a toll on you everyday, emotionally. It’s frustrating working with it. Some days you have amazing days; no highs and no lows. Other days you just sit and wonder what’s wrong with you and what you aren’t doing right. You feel kind of helpless at times.

“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 T Slim insulin pump with a Dexcom G6 CGM as my treatment. I am using Humalog insulin and have used Novolog in before.

I think what changed the most was my mental state. I had to learn how to take care of myself and be independent at a young age. I think it was positive.

I feel like I am doing better with my diabetes since I got my CGM but I don’t think I was before. I gave up with trying because I was jealous everyone else didn’t have to do what I do. My mom helped me the most by guiding me.

Haley Leshko treatment equipment

Equipment and treatment

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. The symptoms are hard to explain. When my sugar is high it feels like when you run in a really hot room and you try to breathe, it feels almost like you are suffocating. When I’m low it’s like a feeling of weakness on my chest and my neck.

Since I am on my CGM I test maybe twice a day. But when I wasn’t on it I should have been testing 15 times, however I think I maybe have done it 3 times a day sometimes.

I used to use fruit snacks to treat a hypo. I have started to use Gatorade, orange juice and apple juice. It helps a lot.

I did not faint yet because of a hypo but I have blacked out before. It’s scary because I don’t remember what I do when it happens. I do tend to get very violent.

Haley Leshko treating a hypo

Here is a silly little picture of my correcting my sugar while kayaking 😂no rest for the diabetes.

Food and diet

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

I often skip breakfast. Lunch it just depends on the day. And dinner is something like a little snack. I mostly snack during the day. My diabetes does not restrict me from eating anything. Therefore I don’t feel like I am on a diet.

I will give myself 5 more carbs of insulin for something that I know will raise my sugar

I don’t drink lots of water and I do skips meals once in a while.

It’s frustrating with people not understanding. I feel like there are better questions to ask rather than “Oh, you shouldn’t be eating that”. Maybe ask “Oh, does your diabetes restrict you from any foods?”. I feel like we are always happy to answer questions.

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

No. I will never experiment with this because my diabetes is MINE. It will never get better and there will never be a cure for it. I think that even if there was a cure for it I wouldn’t use it. My diabetes makes me who I am today.

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

I have not had anyone ask me about it. When I did needles people would stare but I would just make a joke saying “just doing my nightly drugs. Gotta get my fix”. I often times make light of the situation so it’s not awkward for me or the party watching.

“It’s frustrating with people not understanding.”

Exercise and work

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

I don’t exercise. I am working in a bakery and it does not affect me. I do plan on going to college to work in the FBI.

Final

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

My CGM is helping me a lot to understand my sugar levels better. I think the hardest part is the mental issues that come along with it. It really takes a toll on you.

The best part is that diabetes made me the independent person I am today. It taught me to care for myself and to understand myself better because it will always be a part of me.

I don’t have the feeling anything else is causing problems.

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

We don’t get diabetes because we eat something too much. There is a difference between type 1 and type 2. I don’t have restrictions on what I can eat because I have an insulin pump. My insulin is like your pancreas. Just my pancreas is a robot on the outside of my body. Most of the time I do feel like shit.

But, don’t give up. There are plenty of us who know what you are going through. Don’t let your a1c numbers scare you. They will come down. You just have to work with yourself and your body. It is not the end of the world nor is it a death sentence.

Get a CGM. They are a life saver!

Haley Leshko T Slim insulin pump + Dexcom CGM

T Slim insulin pump + Dexcom CGM

What would you ask the other diabetics?

Do you wear a CGM? Why or why not. How has insurance effected your diabetes management?

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

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Comments

  • Knikki

    Hi Haley.
    Yes I wear a Libre flash monitor (slightly different to the Dexcom) it has been an eye opener especially seeing what happens if a night time plus it also lead me to realising that the insulin I was on was not working for me. Its useful for trends but I use mine with couple of other bits of kit which helps out.
    I’m not in USA so insurance is not an issue for me.

    Take care.

    January 7, 2020

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