When I was 8 years old I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and Graves Disease.. A double whammy! Once I entered my teens I really struggled with accepting my condition and the fact I was stuck with it. I eventually came to terms with the cards I had been dealt and really stepped up my management. I began pump therapy in 2010 and I will never look back. I decided to begin schooling to become a registered nurse. In 2015 I graduated ad began my career as a paediatric RN. I thought that given my experiences growing up I could empathize with a lot of the kids I would be working with, especially the ones living with chronic disease. I could not imagine a better fitting career and I feel like my diabetes has helped shape me into the nurse I am now.
What is the weirdest question you’ve been asked about your diabetes, and how did you respond?
I get so many strange questions, as most of my fellow diabetics can probably attest to. The weirdest one, and probably the most common, is people asking if my pump is my pager or my MP3 plater. I used to not know if I should take them seriously or not. I usually always take the opportunity to educate them. Most people have no idea that such technology exists so it’s exciting to share that with them.
Has anyone told you that you couldn’t do something due to your diabetes, and you proved them wrong?
This is very frusturating to me. The most common one I get is “you can’t eat that because you have diabetes”. When people say something along these lines I take the chance to educate them. Most people know next to nothing about diabetes or are only aware of what they see and hear in the media. There are so many misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding diabetes so I like to take the time and use any interaction I can into an opportunity to educate!
How do you inspire others?
I like to think that I inspire others by showing them that you don’t have to let living with diabetes stop you from living your best life. I am extremely happy with the way my life has turned out, despite all the high and lows (literally!!). If you would have asked me when I was first diagnosed, or even 5 years ago, what I thought my life would be like now, I never could have imagined all the amazing things I’ve experience or the accomplishments that I am so proud of. I also like to let all my diabetic patients that I share that in common with them. I feel like it builds a great rapport and from there I can hopefully inspire them and let them know it may not necessarily get easier, but it does get better.
Tell us a story about how diabetes has affected you.
It has obviously had a giant effect on my life. The biggest thing though is pointing me in the direction of my career. Growing up with two chronic diseases I have spent my fair share of time around nurses. The kind way in which they treated me had such a profound effect that I decided after high school that I wanted to join the ranks of this group of professionals I look up to so much. I wanted to make kids feel the same way that my nurses made me feel and help them anyway I can when dealing with a not so great situation.