Each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults - approximately 80 people per day - are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S. Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children but some how it slips peoples minds that once a child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes that they NEVER "grow out" the disease. Believe me I would LOVE to be able to give my daughter a certificate on her 18th birthday that tells her she is no longer a Type 1 diabetic but this is not the reality. The 15,000 children per year that are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes grow up to be Type 1 Diabetic adults since there is NO CURE for Type 1 diabetes. 85 percent of people living with type 1 diabetes are adults
I was blessed to be able to have an email interview with Ginger Vieira, She is a an adult living with Type 1 diabetes, cognitive health coach, record-setting powerlifter, and author of “Your Diabetes Science Experiment". Ginger helped me understand the diabetes world from an adults perspective and I hope it helps you as well.
Q: How old are you and when were you diagnosed?
A: Today, I am 26 years old. I was diagnosed at the age of 13 with Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.
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: Multiple Daily Injections with Lantus and Novolog (sometimes Humalog). I used an insulin pump for 6 years, but have not been using it for the past 7.
Q: What made you choose this method for management?
A: Well, today, I just don't really want to be connected and attached to things. I know from my experience using a pump that they are wonderful tools and make aspects of diabetes life much better, but for me, it's just not a good fit. I also have very sensitive skin and was getting irritated with itchiness, etc. I have essentially the same glucose control with MDI or a pump, so the choice is mine
Q: How comfortable are you with managing your diabetes?
A: Very comfortable. That doesn't mean my blood sugars are perfect, but it does mean that when I'm high or low, I have a great understanding of the physiology of the human body so I know why my BG went high or low. That's exactly what I wrote my book about. The more you understand why those fluctuations are happening (and that they aren't random), the more power you have.
Q: What has changed the most in regards to diabetes management since you were diagnosed?
A: A lot of things...but most significant to me, I would say is the production of Lantus insulin. When I was diagnosed there was mostly only NPH...which meant you had to eat on a schedule every 3 hours. Lantus gives me plenty of freedom.
Q: What does a typical day look like in your household in regards to diabetes management?
A: Hmm...that's kind of a hard question to answer.
First thing I do every morning and last thing I do every night is check my blood sugar. Then I probably check anywhere from 4-5 times during the day in between morning/night.
Managing my diabetes does not interfere with my relationship (I live with my boyfriend). If I'm home, my meter is always sitting on the kitchen counter, and my boyfriend often remembers to bring it to my bedside table when I go to sleep so I have easy access to it. I always keep a large stash of glucose (of various kinds) next to the bed.
A: These days I eat very low-carb. When I was powerlifting and exercising more intensely, I ate far more calories and carbs. Breakfast is eggs and sometimes bacon or turkey sausage. Lunch is an apple with string cheese or peanut butter. A little later I eat nuts and carrots (or whatever veggies I have fresh that week from a local CSA farmshare). Dinner is always a protein (fish, chicken, beef, turkey) combined with sauteed veggies (broc, asparagus, etc.). And some nights I have chocolate or ice cream or a gluten-free baked good. That's my average day's diet.
Q: While searching for a cure what other 1 thing would you like to see researchers working towards and why?
A: A way to test your blood sugar without inserting giant sharp objects into your body whatsoever. I HATE those meter ads that claim "You don't have to prick your fingers anymore!"...only because you're actually pricking a different part of your body. Give me a break.
Q: What tips or advice would you give to a newly diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic children/teen/adult?
A: There is so much to learn about life with diabetes and you will be learning that information for the rest of your life. That means you never have to be perfect, you just have to keep doing your best and keep learning.
Q: What would you like to see more of out of the Diabetes Online Community?
A: Patience for each other.
Q: What is your favorite thing about the Diabetes Online Community and why?
A: The way the DOC can group together and become a powerful machine when media has overstepped its boundary or when a PWD is in need of major support.
Q: What is your least favorite thing about the Diabetes Online Community and why?
A: The way individuals attack other individuals. People often complain about how rude non-diabetics are...but honestly, I see more anger and meanness within the DOC, from one diabetic to another.
Q: What 1 thing would you like to see discussed in the Diabetes Online Community that is not discussed enough?
A: Emotional Eating. It is a thing that I think a lot of people struggle with but it is kept underground, kept secret. I'm working on my next book on that exact topic and often coach my wellness coaching clients in that topic. People think they're the only ones going through it because no one else is talking about it out loud. It's so common in diabetes.
I hope you all liked this installment of What is it like .... Plenty more to come :)