Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.
I’m Mexican, first generation American and type one diabetic for 19 years. I love the outdoors and working out. My best friends is my Diabetic Alert Dog, Lady Bear :)
I got diagnosed at the age of 12! I didn’t mangage it at all. I kept living my life as if I didn’t have it diabetes. I was ashamed of it. I didn’t want to be different as I already was different as a Mexican. Cultural assimilation was the name of the game and I planned to play it.
Emotionally and financially was hard. We didn’t know what diabetes was when I got diagnosed. My dad was a school janitor (he did have his BA degree but from Mexico) and my mom just had her General Educational Diploma (GED) working a minimum wage job at a company that refused to pay her more.
“I live a life knowing I have diabetes and that I can’t run from it, but I can run with it.”
How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?
I get the most support from my family! They took and take the punches with me from the start of my diagnosis till now.
I use an Omnipod insulin pump with Novolog insulin and a Dexcom CGM. I also have a closed loop. Before I used Novolog, Lantus and Humalog insulin.
A lot has changed since my diagnosis. I am more aware of my body as a diabetic, both physically and emotionally. When I accepted that I had diabetes it not longer controlled me. I couldn’t hide it any longer. I live a life knowing I have diabetes and that I can’t run from it, but I can run with it.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say I give myself an 8 for treating my diabetes.
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 hypo I feel irritated, I get hungry, have sleepiness. I have these about 1 to 3 times a week. When I have a hyper I get thirsty, have to urinate more often and feel weak.
I use my Dexcom CGM and test my blood sugar when I feel off or when I have the feeling that my CGM is not giving me the correct numbers. I would say I test about 3 times a week.
To treat my low blood sugars I drink orange juice.
I past out once and when I woke up again I did not remember the last 30 mins before it happened.
Food and diet
How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?
I don’t eat any breakfast. I eat 800 calories for lunch and mostly vegetarian. For diner I eat 650 Calories and also vegetarian. I never skip any meals besides my breakfast. I love to eat Thai and Mexican foods.
For snacks I eat fruit like raspberries and avocado, hummus, and cheese.
When I eat something I usually stick to my schedule, but don’t mind varying my insulin dose when needed.
I drink about 1.5 liters water a day.
For me, being on a diet is restrictive. I love food and I believe restricting what I eat makes me more negative! I focus on my macros and calorie intake but I am OK with breaking it.
When somebody asks me about certain foods I can or can’t eat I don’t feel irritated. I take it as an opportunity to educate. I think that people ask out of concern and that’s OK.
Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?
I believe that you can eat whatever benefits you. I do stick to plant based because that has helped me out the most. I do eat fish :)
Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?
Nope! I have been diabetic for 19 years and know how to asses a situation. It’s hard at first but I what helped me is keeping a journal of how I felt after I ate a certain food or at a certain restaurant.
I love Thai and Mexican restaurants.
“If you believe in yourself others will.”
Exercise and work
Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?
I run 3,5 miles and work out (HITT, Boxing and Crossfit) 6 times a week for 2 hours a day.
I am a student and Policy Analyst. No mater what you do, stress that comes with work affects my diabetes.
Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?
To manage my diabetes better I go to therapy. I 1000000 percent believe having a chronic illness is traumatic and affects you emotionally. Having a therapist to talk and to ventilate to will help you manage your emotions and help you navigate your diabetes.
The hardest part of having diabetes is feeling alone, unheard and misunderstood.
But the best part is supporting others who have it. Helping them see it’s manageable and that many people have it and are living and loving their life.
Diabetes does give me other problems. The unknown is scary. How long will I live? Will my kids have it? Can I have kids? Will I be accepted? Will people fight for me and with me? The answer is, you alone are your best advocate and your strongest advocate. If you believe in yourself others will.
I believe you impact your diabetes. If religion helps you be better, that is good! Where you are located and where you live have a big impact on the management of your diabetes. Does the government local and national help you obtain what you need to live in an affordable and easy way? Or do you have to find a way to pay for what you need to survive as well as ways to obtain your equipment?
What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?
Please ask me questions! Ignorance is dangerous.
It’s OK to be mad. It’s OK to have bad days. It’s OK to cry. It’s not OK to give up!
Put yourself in a community of type one diabetics that are in all stages of life. This way you can learn and you can teach.
What would you ask the other diabetics?
How important is it to have therapy as a type one diabetic?
Feel free to answer in the comments below.
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Hey! I'm Ely Fornoville, the founder of Diabetic & Me.
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