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Real Talk With Dave: Motivation & Diabetes

You can do it!

I know Diabetes is hard, but you can do it. There are days in which it seems impossible, but those are the days in which we push harder, gain strength, and fight even more for an end to this horrible disease. I have had my share of bad days, and still get them, but on those very days, I feel like I am learning vital life lessons on how to cope in a bad situation, how to treat others, and how to rise up.

Despite the needles, the blood, the emotions, the highs and lows, and the day to day tasks we have to remember to do, we are all awesome for being able to put up with these tasks and are all capable to keep on pushing through. I personally think it is so cool, as much as I would give up this disease on any given day, how we as Type 1 Diabetics have put up with so much that goes unnoticed. In my opinion, we all deserve awards, just saying. But that is because some people come and go in our lives and don’t quite realize all that we put up with daily or are even going through at that very moment. Regardless of the fact, YOU are amazing. We’ve all lived countless days with this disease, trying to make ends meet, trying new diets and workout routines, and meeting with our doctors just to get things right, but whatever may be going on, good or bad, you are awesome. Nobody else puts up with the things you do and that is why you are so cool.

When I see someone who has Diabetes or a chronic disease and they are doing something so great, whether they are working towards a great cause, doing what they love while dealing with their disease, or even just smiling, that is such an inspiration to me by seeing how they manage to stay so happy when I know that they are going through something that does present some challenges every now and then. I truly see the good in them and though I feel bad they have to deal with their disease, I am proud of them and applaud them for what they do and how they do it. We all are unique individuals with a desire to learn and grow, we all are creative and special, and when it comes to T1D, that is something that connects us all. If Diabetes hadn’t affected the millions of people it has, many of us wouldn’t have the social connections we have with each other right now or we wouldn’t have something to be inspired by.

What I am trying to say is that coming from a background with Diabetes and living it for almost half my life now,

I am filled with appreciation for the members of the Diabetic community as we are some of the strongest and bravest people out there.

Each disease has it’s own difficulties and struggles.When one is affected by Diabetes, it may seem like their life is over, but that is not the case. Diabetes can and will turn you into someone you didn’t think you could be. When I was first Diagnosed, my life turned around completely and I had taken a huge step back, but then I think of where I am now. I am alive, happy, and healthy, despite my Diabetes, and that is all that matters.

So I ask you so think of what your passion is and what motivates you to keep on going. After that, just go with it and live your purpose. Life is short and yes, you may have Diabetes, but that is okay, because you can live the life you want if you set your mind to it. I’m here for you, rooting for you, and cheering you along the way in this race to the finish line being a cure to end Type 1 Diabetes. You got this!

Live well,

Dave

How I Accepted My Type 1 Diabetes

My name is Rebecca Sellin. I’m 22 years old and I live in a city called Jönköping in Sweden. Right now I’m studying to become a pre-school teacher at Jönköping University. I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for the past 6 years, but sometimes it feels like even longer, because I can’t even remember how it’s like to live a “normal” life.

But what is a normal life anyway? Everyone is struggling with something, T1D is my struggle.

But I have decided to see the positive sides of it. I love to have an active and healthy lifestyle, but I don’t like to be treated differently because of my T1D, and that’s why I hid my condition for some years, because I didn’t want people to see me as a weak person.

My diabetes was discovered when I was involved in a minor car accident in my neighborhood when I was 16 years old. Thank God I wasn’t badly hurt, but in the hospital a doctor asked me if I had diabetes, since my blood glucose was really high. I told them that I didn’t have diabetes. At that point, I didn’t know anything about diabetes, except I had a lot of prejudices about it. In hindsight, I can see I had all the classic symptoms such as thirst, weight loss and lack of energy. I had to stay in the hospital for almost a week to learn about T1D and how to manage it. I’m still learning new things and it has taken me 6 years to accept my condition. Diabetes is like a puzzle where some pieces are always missing, and you can’t see the whole picture. It’s like a full time job where you get no vacations, not even on your birthday.

I used to always take my insulin shots in the bathroom, or hide my insulin pump. But eventually I learned that I made my disease even harder when trying to hide it from everyone and trying to fit in. I felt so alone, since I didn’t know anyone with diabetes, and I knew I just had to meet other people with diabetes that fully understands what it’s like. My family and friends are super supportive, but they will never fully understand what it’s like to always have diabetes, and constantly be thinking about it. So I decided to start a group on Facebook to organize meetings and be able to meet with other T1Ds in my city. We meet up a couple of times a month and do stuff together like bowling, taking walks and going to cafes. This has been so helpful for me in the process of accepting my disease, and I can only thank my diabetes for meeting all my new friends, or my diabuddies, as I like to call them.

Also, I’m really happy for the diabetes community that I found on Instagram. To be able to meet people who go through the same things on a daily basis as I do gives me energy to keep on fighting every single day. Together we are stronger and can support each other. My goal is to inspire others who live with T1D, and to never let diabetes stop me from doing what I want in my life and chasing my dreams. I’ve grown so much since my diagnosis, and I’m so excited to see what life will bring.

A month ago I got a diabetes tattoo with my diabuddie, Elin. The tattoo says “I am greater than my highs and lows” which is a great reminder everyday when struggling with your blood glucose.


Follow Becca on Instagram @type1becca

Why I Hate Diabetes, But Love Being A Diabetic

Diagnosed just a little over seven years ago, diabetes has become “the norm”. By now, the carb counting, injecting in public, and answering looks and questions from strangers when I stab a needle in my stomach, is all second nature; it doesn’t phase me anymore. But, when I was first diagnosed, at age thirteen, it did. I did not want the world to see me as “disabled”. I thought that if people were aware of my disease, they would see me as weak. Seven years later, I am still the same girl, with the same autoimmune disease, but now, I show the world I am stronger than ever because I am a diabetic.

I was practically born with a tennis racket in my hand. Growing up, there wasn’t a day where I wasn’t in a gym, on a court, or in a field for at least an hour or two.  Sports made sense to me, and I thrived on the heat of competition. When I was taken to the doctor on the morning of January 28, 2010, and soon told I had an autoimmune disease that would potentially hinder my ability to compete at a high level, my earth shattered. My immediate family had no history or real knowledge of T1D, but now I would be surviving on multiple daily injections and religious carbohydrate counting. Cool.

My mother, a tennis coach, urged me to consider “just playing local tennis and volleyball tournaments”, and to not stress if I couldn’t become a Division 1 athlete, my lifelong dream. Her comments and the lack of knowledge my doctor had around competitive athletics and diabetes were my driving force. I realized I would have to train harder and smarter than my competitors, but I didn’t need easy– I needed doable.

Four years later, I ended up graduating high school a year early, at age 17, to accept a tennis scholarship at Seattle University. Since coming to college, in the fall of 2015, I have made diabetes my life. I started the first College Diabetes Network Chapter in the state of Washington, at Seattle University. I started volunteering at my local JDRF chapter, and even babysitting diabetic children. I began experimenting with dietary changes to help negate the highs and lows that can come with poor diet choices. The transition to Division 1 athletics required more of me physically and mentally, and I soon realized optimal diabetes care was more important than ever. By embracing my disease, and advocating as a type 1 diabetic and division 1 athlete, I truly embraced that I was a diabetic, not just someone with diabetes.

I used to hate being associated with the disease and all of the negative impacts it had on my life, but now I rejoice the person diabetes has made me. I realized I cannot change the fact that I am a type 1 diabetic, but I can change how I let diabetes influence my life. I can set a positive example by participating in clinical research, by making healthy dietary decisions, by being active, and by teaching the public about type 1 diabetes and its implications. I can show the world that I am more than diabetes– I am a strong, capable, passionate diabetic.

Yes, diabetes can be grueling, and tiresome, and I would never wish it upon anyone. But, the diabetic community, the friends and connections I’ve made through my broken pancreas, are invaluable. Being a diabetic is the most rewarding, demanding, empowering roller-coaster I’ve ever been on, but I learned how to embrace the ride.

 

My Diagnosis With Type 1 Diabetes

Everyones’ diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes is different. This is why I started my blog – to share my story and this post was the very beginning.

This is my story…

Every person diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes may have similar symptoms but not everybody’s diagnosis is the same. This story is from my account but parts within my memory are hazy. I don’t know whether It is because I was so ill or that It was a sensitive time so I’ve blocked it out.

It all started when I was in year 7 around the summer term. Everyone who took part in the stage production of Oliver at my high school was taken down to London to see Hairspray the musical as a reward. All I can remember was being incredibly thirsty. Within a few hours of my journey, I had drunk nearly all 3 bottles of my water. So as you can imagine after drinking all that water I started to need the toilet. Realizing myself that I’d drunk a lot on the way there, but just putting it down to the fact that it was a novelty to be allowed flavored water, on the way back I tried not to drink any. However, after falling asleep, I woke up to find my mouth incredibly dry, resulting in me drinking another bottle. It’s just the hot weather making you drink a lot I thought to myself.

Later in the term, I was becoming incredibly tired. By the end of the term, I was exhausted. I was still drinking lots and during the end of year exams, I started to annoy one or two of my teachers constantly asking to fill up my bottle and asking to go to the toilet. Standing outside my form room, I remember this like yesterday, I fiddled with my skirt and it very nearly fell to the floor. That night we had to buy a new skirt from the school shop before speech day at the end of the week. My mum and dad put it down to a growth spurt and I thought nothing of it.

The summer holidays rolled around. At the beginning of the holidays my cousins, sister and myself went to Filey for a week with my grandparents, something we did nearly ever year since being little. I continued drinking lots and going to the toilet a lot. My gran always tells me how she remembers I was drinking so much Robinsons fruit squash – looking back I agree. Constantly needing the toilet when you are at the beach leads to many difficulties – mainly the lack of toilet! Dragging my gran to the sailing club many times a day she knew something was wrong.

‘Promise me you will go to the Doctors when you get back from Spain’ – Gran the Pan (as we call my Gran haha)

 I dismissed it – I didn’t think anything was wrong.

Our holiday in Filey ended and we headed straight for our friend’s villa in Spain. This time with my parents, sister, cousins, auntie and uncle. This is where I became ill quickly. I was eating constantly  (I developed a love for ham toasties) and losing dramatic weight. Every night I would get up around 5 times and every morning I’d have drunk around 4 litres of water (It’s hard to hide how much you have drunk when the water is in a bottle abroad!) Every morning when I’d wake up I was as tired as I had been that night when I had gone to bed. But everybody is sleepy and lazy on holiday – that’s what I thought my tiredness was down too! My dad and uncle tried to throw me in the pool, ‘don’t snap her she’s like a twig!’ my dad joked (unknowingly of course!)

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When we arrived home my mum took me to the doctors, I tried to persuade her not to go but it was no use. This is a TMI warning – so they wanted me to wee in a bottle and as a 12-year-old girl, I refused. We took the bottle home and was told to bring it back the next morning. Finally, after sleeping on the idea I reluctantly did. The doctors then ran some tests and told my mum the results should be there later that day and they would ring us. But an hour later there was a phone call…

It was Doctor Brophy my godparent and GP. He told my mum and dad that I urgently needed to go to the hospital because I had extremely high blood sugar and ketone readings. We rushed all the way to the hospital and I had some more tests. They weighed me and took some blood samples. My mum and dad were both really nervous but I didn’t really understand. They told me that I was Type 1 Diabetic and that my bloods were 38! They explained to me that a non-diabetics blood sugar is between 4 and 7. I weighed around 4.3 stone and my condition at the time was severe. They told us that I was very lucky and that if we had not gone to the doctors on that day I would have been in a coma (shortly followed by death from DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis))

5th August 2009 – The date I was diagnosed.

It was really hard being diagnosed with a ‘disease’ (ergh I hate that term!) that you have never heard of and there is no cure for. It hit my parents especially hard. I remember being sat in a room and my dad having to leave – I know it was because he was trying to process it and didn’t want me to see him upset. My mum with soft Northern Irish heart just cried. (I’ve just cried writing this). I refused to stay in hospital that night. I just wanted to go home. I was told I was allowed if I did my own injection at home and came straight back the next morning. ‘ (From what I recall – my dad may have a different version) What would you like?’ My dad asked when we were sat in the hospital. Instant laughter from the nurses and my dad when they found out it was going to cost my parents an iPhone 3. Every cloud and all that ? haha!

The rest of the summer is just a blur to me – I remember going to Clumber Park in our caravan, we always go to Clumber when a big event happens in our life. But apart from that, all I remember from the rest of the summer is my parents helping me (mostly them) carb counting my dinner, scales, carb ratios and insulin injections.I did my own injections from the start – I refused to let anyone else inject me.

September rolled around and with all my new diabetic supplies I headed off to my first day of year 8. I was lucky enough for my mum to work at school so she let all the staff know that I had Type 1 – however, I was petrified of telling my friends. Our first lesson was Biology and I think all the stress got to me because I felt really strange. From what I remember I’d only had this feeling once before. I checked my blood sugars and they were low. I remember being really embarrassed having to tell my teacher I was low but she was lovely. Some of the symptoms of low blood sugars are lack of concentration, dizziness, and shakiness. I had two plain digestive biscuits to bring me back up as my eyes were welled up with tears. My friends on my table asked what was wrong. Newly diagnosed I didn’t know how everyone would react. Only knowing about Type 2 before I was diagnosed and how it was portrayed in the media I thought they’d think it was because of my weight (which to be honest) you must have been able to tell it wasn’t!

 I wrote it on my wrist – ‘I have Type 1 Diabetes’ – That took so much of my courage.

Being Diagnosed with Type 1 wasn’t the be all and end all. It was the beginning and the start of a long journey but not a bad one – it’s a roller coaster. It was a learning process, it still is and it always will be. I hope by sharing my story it will be relatable to other Type 1’s – the unknown, the confusion and the symptoms. If you didn’t know what it was like to be diagnosed with Type 1 I hope it’s given you more of an understanding (and well done for reading to the end!)

Lots of love The Backpacker and the Pod xxx

If You Are Living With Diabetes, You Are Not Alone

My name is Bia and I have been a type 1 diabetic for 16 years. I was diagnosed when I was six-years-old. I don’t remember much, but I remember my parents crying and I remember my doctor saying: if you learn how to control it, you can live a normal life.

My parents understood that and they taught me to be a strong and responsible person. I knew that I had a chronic disease and I couldn’t play with it. My life depended on my decisions. I had some bad days when I didn’t want to check my blood sugar or count carbs correctly, but it was only days. I don’t have these days anymore. I haven’t for years 🙂

I’ve worn an insulin pump for 10 years and it’s my best friend! I call it “bombinha,” and I love it as I love my family. It helps me control my blood glucose, and has given me wonderful freedom!

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I have the support of my parents, friends, and boyfriend in every decision that I make. They are everything to me. I believe that everything in life must be conquered. Good things happen to the good people. If you are kind to others, life will be kind to you. We need to put our heart into the things we do, and not only think about the life prizes.

In 2015 I decided to write about my diabetes to my Facebook and Instagram friends. I’ve never hidden it, but I began to explain everything to everyone online. People used to stop me on the street to ask about my insulin pump and I always loved to explain how it works! Writing a blog about diabetes it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done! I LOVE to answer questions and share some good information for the diabetic public.

In Brazil, we have a poor public health system when it comes to diabetes and knowledge. I believe that with my blog I help more than some of the doctors here.

Controlling diabetes it’s not an easy task, but with patience, self-love, and knowledge, it can be possible!

My plans for the future is to continue my work with Biabética and help more diabetics every day. I want to be known so I can reach more and more people with good information about diabetes! Let’s be more positive, and let’s help those who need support and love to treat their own chronic disease!

My message to everyone is: you are not alone. The internet is the best way to find others like you. Don’t hide your condition, don’t be ashamed of it! You are beautiful and great with it. ❤

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Using Diabetes To Inspire Others

Diabetes has been a constant in my life for the past 9 years. It’s been a rough and bumpy few years, and I can honestly say that this disease has really shaped me to be the person that I am today.

This disease is real. It has no breaks, vacations, or a pause button. Since the day I was diagnosed, I remember sitting in my hospital bed and my mom telling me how I will use this disease to help others, but at the time I didn’t think I could do that task. I struggled as a young teen dealing with Diabetes and wanting to feel “normal”. Growing up, I always felt like I had this thing that I could never get rid of. I wanted so badly to go out with friends and feel safe knowing that I won’t have a low blood sugar or have to lug my meter case around everywhere I went, and have to explain to them what I had in it. I remember feeling like I wanted to just give up. I ended up slacking a lot on my health. I didn’t check my blood sugar as frequently as I should have. I didn’t count carbs the way I used to. I seemed to have lost all means of being a Type 1 Diabetic. As a normal Diabetic does, I went to the Endocrinologist and received my life-changing news.

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I had just gotten my Hemoglobin A1C blood test and the Diabetes educator sat me down to tell me that my blood sugar average had been very high for a long time and if I didn’t gain control of my numbers, I could loose my vision, have arm and leg amputations, or have heart problems. Since that day, something clicked in me and I decided I needed to make a difference in my life and in the lives of those that I came in contact with on a day to day basis. I began making better choices in what I ate, exercised more frequently, and took initiative in dealing with this chronic disease. Shortly after, I went for a visit to the Endo and I began to improve more and more each time. That motivated me to use my positivity and excitement for improvement to create something that I could share with others going through the same thing or something similar as me. That’s when I got the idea to create @type1livabetic on Instagram.

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I chose to create something that I can use my love and passion for photography as well as my love for sharing positivity in Type 1 Diabetes. Since then, I feel as though I have really grown as a Type 1 Diabetic and became a part of this wonderful growing community. I am so blessed and privileged to do what I get to do every day. My goal is to inspire others with my disease so that they know that they can do whatever it is they put their mind to.

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This is why I am here, to be a voice in the Diabetic community in hope of one day being freed from this life altering disease! One day at a time! 


If you would like to share your story with Lyfebulb and our readers, please e-mail contact@lyfebulb.com.

What Is Your Intent For 2017?

A little over two years ago I met the founder of the My Intent Project, Chris Pan, in Malibu. Chris was going around asking people what their ‘word’ was (a word that was important or inspiring to them), and making them bracelets with their chosen word engraved. Earlier that morning, Brazil had just played a crazy game against Chile in the World Cup, which resulted in a 3-2 shootout victory in penalty kicks. Man, was that game stressful! When Chris asked me what my word was, I thought for just a second before replying, “faith.” My reason? I had faith that Brazil was going to win the World Cup. (Little did I know at the time Brazil would lose against Germany in the semi-finals by an embarrassing six points, but I digress.)

Over the years I watched as Chris’ company grew with the goal of becoming a catalyst for meaningful conversation. Picking a word begs the questions: “What do you want more of in your life?” “What challenges do you want to overcome?” or “What are you passionate about?” In no time, the My Intent Project was featured on the Today Show, had a booth at Jay-Z’s pre-grammy party, and most excitingly (for me) Kanye West proudly wore his word [BEAUTIFY] on the cover of Time Magazine.

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Six months ago, my intent for the next stage in my life came to me out of the blue. I rushed to my computer, got on MyIntent.org, and ordered myself a bracelet. My new word? CREATE. I had realized that what makes me happiest is releasing my creativity. I needed to do more of that! So I made the intent to create on different outlets and on different platforms.

This Christmas I decided to give the gift of intent. I ordered a Makers Kit (highly recommend!) and started asking my best friends questions about what they wanted from 2017. “If you could choose a word, something you want to achieve or live by in 2017, what would it be?” This led to meaningful insights about those closest to me. Words such as AWARE, CONTROL, CLARITY, HAPPINESS, HARVEST, STRENGTH, BE, and YES came to light; all with beautiful and inspiring reasons behind them.

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On New Year’s Eve, the only accessory I wore was my intent (now on a gold bead necklace) to set the vibe for the new year. I haven’t changed my intent to CREATE because I am still inspired by it every day.

Now that we are in 2017, I encourage all of you to think for a minute about what your word is. Some of you may have more than one word. Some of you may have to take some time to think about it. The goal is to dig within yourself, discover your purpose and passion, and set your intention.

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The My Intent Project is a true Lyfebulb favorite! Feel free to reach out and share your word with me and the Lyfebulb team! We would love to hear your story!

When It Comes To Fighting Diabetes, We Are Indeed Stronger Together

Let’s all unite for National Diabetes Day Nov 14

Diabetes is a disease that can make you feel very lonely – it requires self-discipline, behavior modification, and a whole lot of courage. Diabetes never leaves you, there is no vacation from it even if you sometimes just want to forget about it!

I spent many years controlling my Type 1 diabetes (T1D) extremely well and then some years dismissing it. I wanted to have a life, not just be a person with diabetes. I never asked for help – my attitude was that I was going to solve the puzzle and get rid of this terrible condition once and for all. After studying the disease in med school and as a scientist, I realized it was not so simple. The people with diabetes who I encountered during my education and my early years with the disease, were mostly very sick, since the people I saw had ended up in the hospital where I was studying or working. I had absolutely no interest in connecting with them since I could not relate to them. I was, frankly, afraid of them, and surely not inspired or comforted by them. When I was working as an intern in the ER of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, or as a post-doc at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center, I saw individuals who were struggling with foot ulcers, blindness, kidney or heart disease on a daily basis, and my mind became more and more set on not disclosing that I was one of them.

After leaving medicine and working in the life sciences industry, I stopped paying as much attention to my disease since the long-term consequences of the disease seemed very far away, while the near-term issues, such as having to fear low blood sugars and having to tell colleagues to accommodate to my eating habits were less desirable to someone living in the fast lane! Yet again, I did not relate to anyone with diabetes although there were several people who were going through what I was living and doing it well!

I now realize that I was wrong. Relating to others, opening up about issues in addition to strengths and weaknesses makes you stronger and it helps others as well as yourself!

Today, on National Diabetes Day we embrace fellow individuals living with diabetes, we welcome anyone who wants to share their story, and we encourage families and friends of people with diabetes to open up about their struggles.

At www.Lyfebulb.com we realize that this fight against a disease that is becoming a pandemic is not one to fight alone. We lead by example, fostering partnerships with fellow organizations to increase our reach, to expand our capabilities, and grow our community. We have also embraced mutual and diverse partners ranging from the global diabetes leader, Novo Nordisk for our Innovation Awardfocused on patient entrepreneurs, to art galleries Contini Art UK in London and Unix Gallery in Chelsea to showcase a performance by type 1 diabetic Omar Hassan on November 17th, to specially curated diabetic-friendly menus at Brasserie Ruhlmann in Rockefeller Center and Le Colonial in Midtown. We have also partnered with Punch Fitness Center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to encourage exercise. In addition, we advise a number of smaller biotechnology and healthcare IT companies in their path toward improving the quality of life for people with diabetes, and we encourage entrepreneurs who are deriving their motivation for innovation and business-building from their own experiences with disease.

Today is a day to celebrate our unity, to celebrate our fight – but also to Live Lyfe with and without diabetes!

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This blog was also featured on The Huffington Post on November 14, 2016.

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