Wednesday, July 17, 2013

my diabetes real life community: meet juliet

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

today, you get to meet juliet. we met in high school through stephanie - the same stephanie who is angela's sister! we've stayed in touch through the years, i remember talking to her a lot when i was first diagnosed because she was one of the few people i knew who had diabetes.

juliet lives in louisville, ky, with her two kids, where she's been most of her life.

what type of diabetes do you have?
I have type 1 Diabetes

how long have you had it/when were you diagnosed?
I was diagnosed October 31, 1987. I was six years old and have had it 26 years.

can you tell us a quick summary of your diagnosis story?
I was constantly thirsty, sleeping all the time and just lethargic, also pale and began losing weight. The pediatrician we were going to at the time misdiagnosed it as the flu. Not once, but twice. By the time they checked blood sugar and sent me to an endocrinologist, I couldn't walk on my own and was minutes from a coma. I was rushed to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville. The biggest thing I remember from that week in the hospital? My dad eating a donut in front of me and I couldn't have one. And no one had explained WHY.

how do you treat it (shots, pump, pen, etc)? do you use any other technologies (CGM, etc)?
I am currently treating the old fashioned way with shots. It just works for me.

what are some of your daily concerns, worries or considerations?I have daily low blood sugars. I have a constant fear of complications and dying before my kids are grown, or complications that are so bad that I become a burden to my children when they are grown.

what do you wish people without diabetes understood?
I can eat sugar. I don't need insulin when my blood sugar is low. There is not always a clear answer for a low or high. My diabetes will never go away, even if I lose 50lbs. Unless I pay you to be my CERTIFIED DIETITIAN, don't tell me what to eat. I don't care if your Grandmother lost her leg and eyesight to uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. I have a different disease. Yes, that was sad for her. Steel Magnolias is a MOVIE. Nothing in the movie is scientifically correct. Yes, I can get pregnant have healthy kids. I did it twice. Please don't ask me questions when my blood sugar is low. I am having a hard enough time thinking as it is without being expected to have an intelligent conversation. I have to have carbohydrates. You are not my doctor, please don't tell me about an herb or some treatment you read about. You don't have a medical license! All carbohydrates turn to sugar. Just simple carbs spike your blood sugar faster.

how do you describe the feeling and symptoms of lows and to people who don't have diabetes?
I get shaky, can't focus, dizzy, and mean. Please don't ask me while I am having a low blood sugar. Also, I'm not going to pass out.

what about the feeling and symptoms of highs?
I get thirsty, lethargic, confused.

what's your go-to treatment for lows?
Juice and peanut butter

what's your meal plan? do you follow a special diet? do you enjoy the same treats that 'everyone else' does?
I just count my carbs. Yes, I still eat cupcakes. Haha

what diabetes myth do you wish would get busted?
Diabetes is NOT a death sentence or an immediate diagnosis of future health issues. Part of it is diabetes, how you take care of yourself and genetics.

what would you tell someone who was just diagnosed with diabetes?
You can lead a normal life. There are also a million great things diabetes will bring to your life. You will understand the food labels, you will learn to measure a serving size by looking at it. You will have the sugar content of every food memorized. There will be times diabetes will get in the way. Your first day at your new job and you have a low blood sugar in the middle of a meeting. Having to do shots or bolus in front of new friends. That quiet moment in class when your insulin pump alarm starts going off and you realize you have leaked half a days worth of insulin all down the front of you. Crying when you realize your insulin costs a week's paycheck if you don't have insurance...

what's your favorite flavor cupcake?
Chocolate, strawberry, vanilla... you give me a cupcake, I'll eat it! Haha

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