Monday, July 15, 2013

my diabetes real life community: meet megan

i'm introducing my friends who i know in 'real life' that have diabetes.

today, you get to meet megan. we met through her mom who i worked with at my previous job for more than two years.

Megan was born and raised in Louisville, KY…Go CARDS! She's 31 years old and has a master’s degree in social work. She currently works as the social worker of a large kidney dialysis clinic. She has three fur babies, one cat and two dogs, who she adores. She is passionate about photography, knitting, meditation, reading, running, social justice and animal rights issues. She had a unique Buddhist upbringing that has shaped who she is and how she responds to diabetes.

what type of diabetes do you have? 
Type 1

how long have you had it/when were you diagnosed?
I have had T1 for 20 years and my dia-versary is March 18, 1993.

can you tell us a quick summary of your diagnosis story? 
I was in 5th grade and I remember just having an overwhelming feeling that something was wrong with me. I couldn’t combat the feeling of BLAH. I was tired and thirsty ALL the time and was constantly making trips to the bathroom. My mom tells me that I had been telling her that I felt bad and didn’t like I could go to school but back then if you didn’t have a fever and weren’t puking…you were going! One evening after gymnastics my mom says I was begging her to stop so I can get something to drink. She told me we will be home in less than 10 mins but I told her I couldn’t wait that long. Later that evening I told her “Mom, I think you need to take me to the doctor”. The next evening, I had an appointment with my pediatrician. After they drew blood I could hear the nurses talking in the hallway with a sense of urgency and solemness in their voices. I told my mom they were talking about me…and they were. I had Type 1 diabetes.

how do you treat it (shots, pump, pen, etc)? do you use any other technologies (CGM, etc)? 
I began using an insulin pump at the age of 21 and it was love at first inset! (Hehehe) It gave me a sense of freedom I hadn’t experienced with T1 and not to mention improved my A1c dramatically. Also, I haven’t experienced another grand-mal seizure since being on an insulin pump. I am currently using a One Touch Ping Insulin Pump and waiting anxiously for my Dexcom CGM to come in the mail any day now!!

what are some of your daily concerns, worries or considerations? 
I just try my best each day to balance life with T1. It’s not going anywhere and neither am I so I choose to not worry, instead I try to outsmart it! Yes, It’s an additional stressor, concern and challenge but we are superheros, right?!!

what do you wish people without diabetes understood? 
The significant differences between causes and treatment methods between Type 1 and Type 2. There is nothing more frustrating than talking to someone who thinks they are an expert on diabetes because their mother’s boyfriend’s second cousin has Type 2 but I try to use these moments as opportunities to educate, answer questions and correct myths.

how do you describe the feeling and symptoms of lows and to people who don't have diabetes? 
Sweating and weakness like you just worked out + hunger like you haven’t eaten in days + racing heart = Low BS symptoms

what about the feeling and symptoms of highs? 
Unquenchable thirst + frequent trips to the potty + irritability + cloudy brain = HIGH BS symptoms

Side note: As my previous (had to switch, but not by choice) endo - aka Dr. Awesome - stated…”You have never experienced hunger like a person with T1 experiences hunger.” 

what's your go-to treatment for lows? 
HI-C juice boxes! My friends and family have often joked that I should be a spokesperson for HI-C and/or invest into the companies stock! Before juice boxes it was sweet-tarts. They were much easier to be concealed and didn’t bring as much attention to me during school.

what's your meal plan? do you follow a special diet? do you enjoy the same treats that 'everyone else' does? 
I am a vegetarian so other than not eating any meat/poultry I eat “normal” people food. I eat a lot of veggies, fruits, beans and whole grains but definitely treat myself to some junk foods and sugar!
what diabetes myth do you wish would get busted? 
That people with T1 can’t have any sugar! MODERATION is my middle name *wink*

what would you tell someone who was just diagnosed with diabetes? 
You are not your illness!

what's your favorite flavor cupcake? 
Really?! Must I pick one?! Carrot Cake or Red Velvet

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