Last summer, I led the third annual swim-run biathlon for the Barton Center for Diabetes Education, which hosts two Massachusetts camps for children with type 1-Camp Joslin for boys and Camp Clara Barton for girls. It was at Camp Joslin that I met a memorable eight-year-old boy who exemplifies what being a diabetes hero is all about. I'll call him "Adam.'
Paula Deen, a celebrity Southern chef known for her unrestrained love of butter and sugar, is no stranger to the media. She received a flurry of bad press recently when she revealed that she had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years earlier. Shortly thereafter, she became a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk's Victoza. Following these developments, some critics said that she was a poor role model.
Winter might be on its way, but there's plenty of fall color to celebrate in the meantime. You can find fresh inspiration with the Divabetic Octoberfest, a series of events sponsored by the nonprofit wellness group for diabetic women.
When diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I was eighteen years old, scared, and confused. Although bone thin, I was older than the usual juvenile diabetic, so the doctor didn't know if I had type 1 or type 2 diabetes. At first, the doctor gave me pills to lower my blood sugar. I avoided carbohydrates and threw myself into exercise, then watched helplessly as the numbers on my blood sugar meter continued to rise.
Dr. Jonathan Beach is a 35-year-old emergency medicine physician who has had type 1 diabetes for 31 years. He owns and operates Urgicare, a wellness center that includes The Northeast Center for Diabetes Care and Education in Plattsburgh, New York, an isolated rural community that has few other resources for diabetes. This is his story of his life with diabetes and his professional experience with the insulin pump.
Molly Martin is a vibrant and energetic 18-year-old from Texas who's had type 1 diabetes since the age of two. Five years ago, Molly took up motocross racing. She says, "I love riding motocross---it's just you and the bike. I feel free when I ride, like I don't have to think about diabetes. I do have to make sure that I test before I get on and during breaks, to make sure my sugar is doing what it's supposed to be doing. But when I get out there, it's just me and the bike, going."
Phil Southerland's autobiography is an inspirational coming-of-age memoir about a type 1 baby who wasn't supposed to live. But his doctor's dismal prediction didn't take into consideration his mother's indefatigable determination that her baby would thrive no matter what, and Phil's own fierce drive to conquer every single challenge he encountered, including his diabetes. It's an engrossing book, a sports adventure story with a medical subplot and a roster of dynamic characters, the most dynamic of whom is Phil himself. If we could harness his energy, our dependence on foreign oil would be a thing of the past.
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