I am wife, mom and a former electrical engineer. I was working at a nuclear power plant when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008. I worked there until I had my first child in 2012 (about 7 years). I realized after having my daughter that engineering wasn’t going to be very family-friendly so I started searching for ways to fit my passion and love for health, fitness and diabetes into a career. This eventually led me to become a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and nutritional therapist. I now have two children (ages 3 and 4) and work at our local YMCA teaching classes, training and running a nutrition program. I also am newly self-employed doing fitness and nutrition on my own.
What is the weirdest question you’ve been asked about your diabetes, and how did you respond?
There are so many… I can’t even choose one. I feel like you’ve heard them all already and every possible response…
I can say that I have a family member who has asked for advice about which type of insulin pump she should get…so I told her it doesn’t really matter she just picks the one her insurance will cover that fits her lifestyle and as long as you’re on at least three insulin injections per day it would make sense to try a pump.
Her response was…that she doesn’t take insulin…
Sooooo…. that was incredibly weird.
Has anyone told you that you couldn’t do something due to your diabetes, and you proved them wrong?
I had a diabetes educator tell me that I would never be able to have a six-pack of abs because I inject insulin into my abdomen…so I made myself a six-pack which took months of nutrition and exercise to make happen and then when I went back for my next appointment she had left the practice. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to show her she was wrong but I’m pretty happy that her words pushed me to try!
How do you inspire others?
I’m a former electrical engineer turned fitness instructor, marathoner, personal trainer and nutritional therapist by the drive to help others optimize overall health and wellness. I promised myself on the day I was diagnosed with diabetes that I would not let this disease slow me down. I was diagnosed on a Tuesday and back on the ice to play hockey on Thursday – I had to learn how to use my diabetes as an advantage to optimize my sports performance and my life in general. I try to meet as many people with Type 1 Diabetes as possible. I get involved in organizations and fundraising efforts and have done everything I can think of on my own to help spread awareness and advocate for the disease.
I think that I inspire my friends and family by showing them that if I can do so much while managing diabetes, raising two kids, working and being self-employed that THEY can find ways to be healthy too. I like to think that I make it harder for people to make excuses not to try to better themselves.
Tell us a story about how diabetes has affected you.
The best weekend of my diabetic life was my first Ragnar Relay with Insulindependence (a non-profit organization that has since dissolved). It was 150% out of my comfort zone…I had to travel alone (something I had done one other time in my life) Fly to a place I had never been before…and get in a big van with a bunch of strangers who I had never met or talked to… and spend a weekend falling in love with each of the 13 people on our team. It was an incredible, life changing weekend. If it weren’t for that relay race I have no idea where I would be right now – physically or emotionally. The friends (family) that I made on that trip have gotten me through some of my darkest moments with diabetes and gave me the resources I needed to get through pregnancy and breastfeeding as well as marathons, ice hockey, soccer, lacrosse and life in general.
How has diabetes contributed to forming you into the person you are today? Mentally, physically, or emotionally?
Diabetes has made me healthier. It has introduced me to hundreds of people who have touched and inspired me in so many ways. I never would have run a full marathon if I hadn’t met the folks at Insulindependence so soon after I was diagnosed. I never would have thought it was possible to achieve high levels of fitness and tight glucose control if I hadn’t read Think Like a Pancreas and met Gary Scheiner. He was there for me through my first pregnancy and I credit his advice and support for keeping my daughter and I so healthy through it.
Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 100 regular sized ducks?
I think that for the sake of story-telling after surviving the attack and living to tell about it…that it would depend on the scenario in which the event played out.
If the 100 regular sized ducks attacked simultaneously, or even in small flocks of 5-10 ducks, I think that this would be more of an accomplishment from the perspective of speed, reaction time and agility as well as overall endurance through the fight.
However, one horse-sized duck is a story in itself…BUT with only one giant duck there is more time to think about each move. This would be more of a battle of strength and tactic which would also be quite epic and very David and Golith.
I can see how both scenarios could play out to make me pretty awesome. I could also see on the other hand that losing to 100 regular ducks would probably be a slower and more painful pecking and scratching death…. and that one horse-sized duck would probably kill me pretty quickly which I think I would prefer.
Okay. Horse-sized duck it is! JUST IN CASE I don’t win.