Friday, July 13, 2012

What is it like ...

To be an adult with Type 1 diabetes?

Thank you for checking back on my blog series :). Today I am continuing my interviews with Type 1 diabetics who are adults. As I hit on in yesterdays blog post 85% of Type 1 diabetics are adults. Type 1 diabetes has no cure, there is insulin and great technologies that help manage the disease but there is no cure. So once you are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at no point in your life will you be diabetes free, you could be 2 or 100 and you will still be a Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic.

My interview today is with Jeff Neitzel. Jeff is a type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed at the age of 13, here is his interview

Q: Your first name:
 A: Jeffrey ( or Jeff for short )

How old are you and when were you diagnosed?
 A: I'm currently 41. I was diagnosed in 1984 when I was 13.

Q: For the management of your Type 1 Diabetes are you on an insulin pump (If on pump which one) or multiple daily injections?
 A: I do the MDI ( multiple daily injection ) thing.

Q: What made you choose this method for management?
 A: This method is and has been my only "real" choice since day one. It effectively boils down to an access, money, and simplicity thing at its core.

Q: How comfortable are you with managing your diabetes?
 A: Well, I'm comfortable enough with managing my D ( diabetes ) today. It's mostly a game of keeping up with the perpetually changing D-Winds I suppose. The big thing is knowing I can do it. The story of how and why still unfolds for me here, as it hopefully does for us all.

Q: What has changed the most in regards to diabetes management since you were diagnosed?
 A: The D-Tech ( diabetes technology ) landscape has changed a lot since I was diagnosed. I've seen a mix of both good and bad over the years. Hopefully, it's all panned out for the better though.
That said, there is an unfortunate problem in that most of the fancy D-Tech is inaccessible to me for cost reasons. The cost problem exists even for lowest common denominator D-Tech though.

Q: What does a typical day look like in your household in regards to diabetes management?
 A: Just a bit of BG checking, food eating, and insulin injecting is all. Of course, that doesn't describe the perpetual mind magic that it takes to keep it all in balance.

Q: What does a typical day’s diet look like?
 A: Cheerios, Cheerios, and more Cheerios :)

I love all types of Cheerios and have since before D teamed up with the chicken pox to eat my pancreas. I do eat other things ( including ): cheese, granola ( and granola bars ), milk, nuts, and yogurt. Each day is normally some combo of the previously listed staples for me. I choose not to eat meat, except on rare occasions.

Q: While searching for a cure what other  1 thing would you like to see researchers working towards and why?
 A: The most important 1 "other" thing in my mind is the affordability of D-Tech. I don't spend much ( if any ) time thinking about a cure. Granted, I admit that a cure ( or a temporary D-Vacation now and again ) might be nice.

It is much more important for me to know that I and everyone else who needs access to D-Tech ( e.g., BG test strips, insulin, syringes, etc... ) to survive and thrive has such access without extra hoop jumping. A requirement for me here is that insurance should not be a prerequisite. I should be able to go to the pharmacy and get this stuff without shelling out extra money for a doctor to get an RX for fancy stuff instead of basic stuff.

Affordability ( or lack thereof ) is a pervasive problem that needs a lot of attention in my estimation. I could go on, but I'll stop there for now.

Q: What tips or advice would you give to a newly diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic children/teen/adult?
 A: Don't let diabetes get in the way of your dreams. If you can dream it, you can do it despite diabetes.

What would you like to see more of out of the Diabetes Online Community?
 A: The DOC works for me as it is. I wouldn't be averse to improvements that work for other D-Folk though.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the Diabetes Online Community and why?
 A: My favorite thing about the DOC is that it exists. Knowing that I'm not alone in the D-Game is powerful stuff indeed. My D-Team in the DOC helps me to keep on fighting and standing and winning when I might otherwise choose to give up. Here's to the DOC.

Q: What is your least favorite thing about the Diabetes Online Community and why?
 A: This is not applicable for me here.

Q: What 1 thing would you like to see discussed in the Diabetes Online Community that is not discussed enough?
 A: I don't know.
I want to thank Jeff for taking the time to give us all his perspective on being an adult with type 1 diabetes. I hope you all enjoyed it and I hope to "see" you all again soon. More interviews to come :)

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