My New T1D Outlook
At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with T1D during my first semester of graduate school in Malibu, CA. After months of going undiagnosed and experiencing all the major symptoms related to T1D, my whole world changed on December 21, 2012, when I discovered that I was a diabetic. My dad, a former professional minor league baseball player, was diagnosed with T1D the year that I was born. Diabetes wasn’t close to being on my radar, even though the obvious symptoms should have raised a red flag.
I was a very active fitness instructor throughout college who worked several jobs, carried 26+ units a semester during my undergraduate studies, and lived a very healthy lifestyle. Adjusting to T1D was difficult physically, emotionally and mentally. I was on a track to get my master’s degree at the age of 22 and launch a successful career all while accomplishing my highly-sought-after dreams. Initially, I felt defeated. I felt as if I had passed my “peak” and forever I would have to carry on with a lifelong disease that would prevent me from reaching these goals and eventually affect my health, relationships and future. I never felt sorry for myself, but I did become upset that I no longer had the energy, drive or motivation like I once had. I constantly compared the “newer, sicker” version to my old self.
One day, this mindset changed and immediately there was a shift in the way I viewed myself and T1D altogether. I realized that I could very well accomplish all the same goals with or without T1D. The only difference is that I have to manually control my non-existent pancreas with a little extra work and effort (ok, maybe a lot). Instead of viewing T1D as a setback, I’ve learned to embrace the challenge. Instead of pitying myself or subconsciously convincing myself that I was forever “sick,” I decided that I was not going to look at T1D as a thorn in my side. Instead, I was going to use my disease as ammunition to overcome challenges that would later on be far more rewarding. Yes, there are some days that are more difficult, but there have been more positive learning experiences that have come out of my T1D experience that I would like to share:
- T1D has made me more mindful of everything that I put into my body
- T1D has drawn awareness to all the internal and external influences on my mind, body and overall health & wellness
- T1D has allowed me to find better balance in life
- T1D has made me stronger and more disciplined physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually
- T1D has allowed me to gain more self-respect for my achievements and pushing through challenging times. The successes are much more rewarding.
Over the past few years, I’ve committed myself to studying T1D inside and out and learning ways to enhance my quality of life and diabetes management. My passion is to shatter the stereotypes, confusion, and stigma associated with T1D and living with a lifelong disease. In the past three years, I’ve traveled the world, studied abroad in Europe, graduated with my Master’s degree in Global Business, entered the professional business world with a successful career, and got engaged — all while committing myself to learning about T1D and discovering new ways to better manage my diabetes. It is moments like this, where I reflect back and realize that I’ve had successes along that way and T1D has not taken away a single part of them.
Just this past year, I improved my T1D game with a pump and CGM device. Instead of being ashamed of my disease, I proudly wear my devices with the hopes of educating others and being a positive representation of the T1D community of fighters.