“It’s made me healthier. It’s made me stronger.”
The first advice you learned after your type 1 diabetes diagnosis probably came from your doc. Booklets and pamphlets on insulin management with type 1 diabetes and eating healthy with diabetes are super important, but when it comes to getting through your everyday life, sometimes the best advice comes from fellow type 1 diabetes patients.
Learning how to manage, or even embrace, your diabetes can make a world of difference. “I didn’t want to let anything—especially something like type 1 diabetes—stand in the way of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” says Craig Kasper, a patient with type 1 diabetes.
For Kasper, thriving with diabetes meant framing his diagnosis as something he could use to his advantage. Here’s what advice three “seasoned veterans” with type 1 diabetes want to give to newly diagnosed patients.
Find your community
“Get involved in the community because together we provide strength and we provide knowledge to help everyone live the healthiest version of themselves possible.”
—Craig Kasper, diagnosed at age 27
“Learning is the most important thing. [Know] the basics, so you know how to take care of your diabetes and yourself, and [keep] on top of the advancements because there’s so much coming out so quickly today, whether it’s devices or medicine or even what’s considered most important in diabetes self-care. ”
—Riva Greenberg, diagnosed at age 18
Prepare for everything
“I always have to have a plan. I always have to know what I’m doing and what I’m preparing for, depending on my day. … If I’m on a train or subway and I start to have low blood sugar and a reaction, I’ve gotta have something.”
—Liz Van Voorhis, diagnosed at age 15
Learn tips for managing high and low blood sugar here.
A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes might feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be (and it shouldn’t be) a negative part of your life. “I believe that you can have a great life, not despite diabetes, but because of it,” says Greenberg. “I know it’s made me healthier, it’s made me stronger, it’s made me more resilient, [and] it’s given me all kinds of blessings.”
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I didn't wanna let anything, especially
something like type one diabetes
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stand in the way of what I wanted
to do with the rest of my life.
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So I had to really kind of frame this,
okay, how am I gonna use something like
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this to my advantage versus looking
at it as a negative in my life.
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If I had to give one piece of advice for
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someone who's newly diagnosed
is get involved in community.
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Because together, we provide strength and
we provide knowledge
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to help everybody live their healthiest
version of themselves possible.
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So if I had to give one piece of advice,
it would really be to find community and
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make sure that you embed yourself in
that community as quickly as possible.
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A lot of times when I talk to patients,
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I tell them learning is the most
important thing both the basics.
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So you know how to take care of
your diabetes and yourself and
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keeping on top of the advancements,
because there's so
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much coming out so quickly today
whether it's devices or medicine or
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even what's considered most
important in diabetes self-care.
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So living with type one diabetes,
I always have to have a plan.
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I always have to know what I am doing and
what I'm preparing for,
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depending on my day.
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So I just always have to be prepared.
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If I'm on a train or a subway and I start
to have a low blood sugar and a reaction,
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I've gotta have something.
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And from diagnosis
throughout your entire life,
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you rarely spend five minutes not
thinking about living with diabetes.
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It makes you certainly grow up and have
to be very responsible from an early age.
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So for me, I would say, I was 30 when I
was 15 and I had to grow up immediately.
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I believe you can have a great life
not despite diabetes, but because of it.
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I know it's made me healthier.
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It's made me stronger.
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It's made me more resilient.
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It's given me all kinds of blessings.
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So I'm really extraordinarily grateful
about the many things that have come to
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me through having diabetes.
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Living with type 1 diabetes. Arlington, VA: American Diabetes Association, 2016. (Accessed on February 27, 2018 at http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/recently-diagnosed/living-with-type-1-diabetes.html.)