I was diagnosed when I was 14 years old and it wasn’t the typical dramatic rush to the hospital. They caught it very early in my honeymoon stage at a regular check up with my oncologist. I had neuroblastoma when I was a baby, and was cured at 2yo. 12 years later I’m T1D too. I was a BMX racer at the time and my endo hooked me up with an exercise physiologist who taught me how to control my BGs while racing. He inspired it only to stay athletic, but also for my career. I’m now a exercise science professor, a wife and a mom to two wonderful kiddos.
What is the weirdest question you’ve been asked about your diabetes, and how did you respond?
When I first got my pump, people kept asking “do you have to wear that all the time? Like even when you sleep?” I realize they just don’t understand it, so I just responded- yes, your pancreas need to work 24hr a day right? So does mine!
Has anyone told you that you couldn’t do something due to your diabetes, and you proved them wrong?
I really didn’t get this from anyone. My parents were always the best at supporting me with all of my athletics and never turned down an activity based on diabetes. I raced BMX professionally, danced on my high school drill team, raced downhill mountain bikes, competed in fitness competitions and now do CrossFit.
How do you inspire others?
I think I inspire others by always remaining positive. I feel like, hey I was lucky to be alive to even get T1D after surviving stage 4 cancer. I hope I show others that whatever life throws out you, you just keep moving forward. Stay strong, stay positive and just keep going.
Tell us a story about how diabetes has affected you.
I never did the diabetes camp thing. I never got involved with diabetes support groups. I just did it on my own and that was cool. So, recently when I discovered the diabetes online community, it has opened my eyes and my heart to meeting all of these awesome Type 1’s from all over the world. At almost 40, it’s cool to finally interact with other T1s. Who knew I didn’t have to do this on my own for so long 😉
How has diabetes contributed to forming you into the person you are today? Mentally, physically, or emotionally?
Diabetes has definitely made me a stronger person mentally and emotionally. It sucks when you get a low and it interrupts your day, or you’re stuck on the phone trying to get insurance stuff straight, or you’re super moody because you’ve been high all day. But at the end of the day it’s my reality and it has only shown me my inner strength in dealing with it and just moving forward.
Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 100 regular sized ducks?
I’m pretty small and scrappy. I think I could use my fast, ninja like moves better on all 100 small ducks.