8 Victories in 8 Years With Type 1

8 Victories in 8 Years With Type 1
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I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes eight years ago, in my mid-thirties. At the time I was a stay-at-home mom busy with two small children. I immediately felt overwhelmed and anxious about the burden I was about to bear. I have come a long way since that scared newbie and have even helped others who now stand where I once was. I have learned so much about myself and this condition. I have improved my overall health, and although diabetes can cause mental anguish, and believe me it does, I am overall in a good place with my disease and have formed a great support system thanks to the diabetes online community.

This year I reflected on the growth I’ve made in these last eight years. Diabetes has gifted me with some real gems that I treasure. I’d like to share them with you and hope that you can also find some silver linings in this 24/7 condition that we all live with.

Formed Friendships

This is truly a gift that came out of having this disease. I can have a low blood sugar at 2 am and pick up my phone and have a diabuddy to commiserate with across the world. The people I’ve encountered, and sometimes lucky enough to have met, have all been so helpful and supportive. It’s so great to have people who “get it” by your side.

insulin delivery service team

Photo credit: Allison Caggia

Paid It Forward

It is hard to stay on top of all the things we need to do when it comes to our condition. Making doctor’s appointments, remembering to take our insulin and medication and ordering supplies are just some of the things we must remember on a monthly basis. Thanks to having diabuddies, we can rest assured if one of us is in a bind, we’ll help each other out. I even have my daughter and her friends in on this good deed!

Held Newbies Hands

I remember when I first found the diabetes online community, I was like a lost puppy looking for a home. So many wonderful people took me by the virtual hand and led me through the ins and outs of this disease. I owe them all so much and am forever grateful. Now that I am no longer a rookie I always make sure to welcome and answer any questions a newly diagnosed person, or loved one, may have.

exercise

Photo credit: Allison Caggia

Found an Exercise I Love

Making exercise a part of your life is important for our overall health and mental wellbeing. Once again, I can thank the diabetes online community for introducing me to CrossFit and then urging me to go stop in and try. Five years later, I am still doing Crossfit five times a week and love the challenging workouts and community.

Grew Professionally

Before I had my children I was working at Time Inc. in Manhattan, NY, focusing on custom-published magazines for Fortune 500 companies. I loved my job but was grateful I was able to leave and stay home for my children’s younger years. As my children got older I knew I wanted to get back into work and was so lucky to find a job that connected my professional experience with my newfound passion, something I live and breathe every day. I am able to feel fulfilled from what I do and know that I am helping others as well.

Learned About All Nutrition

Oftentimes I find myself at local gatherings talking to people who are frustrated with their weight. They tell me about the fad diets they have tried, the inadequate amount of calories they are taking in and how they don’t put anything in their mouth after the arbitrary hour of 8 pm. I must admit, I want to scream on top of my lungs, none of these things will work if you can’t maintain it long term! You just need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight! No keto won’t make you skinny if you are eating 2 lbs of bacon a day! I always try to offer some suggestions and insights and am grateful I have the knowledge to make great choices for my health and my blood sugars.

traveled to events

Photo credit: Allison Caggia

Traveled to Diabetes Events

The diabetes online community has created opportunities for me to travel around the country. I’ve attended events like the Myabetic awards. I was also lucky enough to go to three weight lifting events called Bolus & Barbells, as well as spend the weekend at the Arnold Sports Festival, in Ohio, with some diabuddies. These trips proved to be a much needed break and were so important for my mental well-being.

holding a newbie's hand

Photo credit: Allison Caggia

Helped Someone Insert Her First Dexcom

I am lucky enough to live in an area where my friend Todd organizes local meet-ups. I connected with a woman, Meredith, at one of these events, who spoke about her reluctance to wear a Dexcom. I told her the next time I saw her, she should bring it, and we would do it together. I remember when my CDE got me to agree to wear a Dexcom. I was so scared to insert it that she did it for me and I just cried once it was on. It was an extremely emotional moment for me and I hope I helped to make her first experience a more positive one.

Diabetes has offered me the opportunity to make connections, soak up information and continue my career in a field I love. I have had 8 years of finger pokes and low blood sugars, but I have also had 8 years of victories to reflect on.

Diabetes Daily
Allison Caggia
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