My diabetes and I have traveled a lot of miles together in nineteen years. Racing Ironman triathlons in Australia, Europe, the Carribean and all over North America, climbing and camping at the top of 14,000 foot Mt. Whitney, and of course dozens of family vacations and business trips. Packing equipment and supplies for an Ironman triathlon and 3 weeks in Australia requires a bit of planning and preparation, but when you have diabetes you feel like you do that for just a weekend out of town. Meters, strips, insulin, syringes, infusion sets, pump supplies, snacks . . . a simple weekend trip becomes a lunar expedition.
As a woman with diabetes, you may have noticed that you face unique challenges, from where to place your insulin pump, to pregnancy, to hormone fluctuations. Many diabetes books offer general diabetes advice, but few focus on women beyond just a short chapter. That is, until now.
HOLLYWOOD, FL -- They come from New York, Miami, Milwaukee and more. They have children of all ages with type 1 diabetes - and they're on a mission to find a cure. They're the "Real Moms of the DRI Foundation" and in honor of Mother's Day they're asking millions of moms - and others - to support the Diabetes Research Institute, a world leader in cure-focused research.
Ryan Shafer is a 44-year-old professional bowler from Elmira, New York, who was 19 when he developed type 1 diabetes. For a couple of weeks, he experienced the usual symptoms of weight loss, lethargy, extreme thirst, and frequent urination, as well as vision problems. "Being that age," he says, "I was afraid to go to the doctor. I thought it would just go away." When he finally saw his family physician and was diagnosed, he says, "I was actually relieved--not that I thought diabetes was a piece of cake, but I was glad to know what was wrong with me."
Three weeks out of every month, my diabetes is well controlled. But the fourth week, the one before my period, is a nightmare. My sugars are astronomically high--I can't even look at a carbohydrate without my sugar spiking. I'm exhausted and cranky, and I can't get comfortable.
If you, like me, have diabetes, you realize upon reflection that you are, despite the constant demands of the disease, blessed. Somewhere, sometime, you have benefited from the kindness, professionalism, and genuine concern of a medical professional, be it a nurse, pharmacist, dietitian, physician, therapist, or supporting staff.
Tony Flores is a 50-year-old native of El Salvador who works as a construction foreman. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 12 years ago, after an eye doctor told him it would be a good idea to get his blood sugar checked. He recalls, "I did the test, and they got all freaked out and told me, ‘Oh my god, your A1C is at 12%. You have diabetes type 2. You've got to cut the sugar, you've got to stop drinking orange juice and soda."
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