Diabetes is easier with a great team :)

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on November 12, 2010 at 20 years old. I knew absolutely nothing about diabetes when I was diagnosed and looking back at the past 3 years amazes me at how far I have come. I’ve had some rough patches especially with the medical professionals in diabetes ‘care’ units. My first experience with a nurse who was supposed to help me was very unpleasant and I had to file a complaint with the hospital. I left her room crying because of the hurtful words she said to me. I had a crap endocrinologist who couldn’t even look me in the eye. I learned about insulin pumps through a friend and asked him about it. He laughed and said its a stupid device don’t do that and waste your time. I was so shocked because I had never heard a doctor speak like that. I decided there and then that I was done with him, the nurse and multiple injections. The only good thing he ever did was to refer me to my present diabetes team.

This team deserves a shout out.  I have a wonderful, understanding endo, a great nurse, and amazing dietician. I also [...] continue the story

Ethan’s Story: Hockey, Guts and Diabetes

Published on Sep 14, 2012

Ethan tells us what its like to grow up with Type 1 diabetes from a very young age. Great and powerful insights for people living with diabetes, their families and health care professionals. This film has been used as curriculum for the University Of Toronto medical program. Funded by The York University Nursing Academy. Directed by Robert Hawke.

Grief, A Necessary Part of Accepting Diabetes

Michelle Sorensen | December 18, 2012

I don’t remember the first time I had to inject myself with a needle. I don’t remember being taught how to test my blood sugar. But I have many memories of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In retrospect, the day of my diagnosis was the beginning of a long process of grieving my diabetes. At the time, however, I had no idea that being diagnosed with a chronic illness would involve a grieving process.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross famously outlined the stages of grief in her 1969 book called On Death and Dying. She described five stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) that describe a process by which people deal with grief and tragedy. Many people think of the stages of grief as just relating to loss of a loved one. These stages, however, apply to many types of loss, including divorce, job loss, dealing with terminal illness, or the diagnosis of a life-changing and life-threatening disease like diabetes. The stages are not in a consistent order and people may go back and forth between different stages. Also, not everyone experiences all the stages. The way each person experiences grief is unique.

On the day I was [...] continue the story

Psychological Support: The Missing Piece in Diabetes Care

Michelle Sorensen | November 13, 2012

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1999, I was both overwhelmed with information and desperate to find more information. It was easy to find depressing facts about the immediate dangers I would face, as well as the future complications I might suffer one day. When I looked for more, however, something about support or about real people living with type 1, there was nothing more than information about fundraising and camps for kids with diabetes.

I was in the middle of graduate school at the time of my diagnosis, training to be a psychologist. In the years since, while learning to manage my diabetes, I have furthered my knowledge about how to help others with diabetes make changes and feel better. I learned quickly that the psychological aspect of diabetes care is mostly absent in the diabetes field. Patients had access to information, but they didn’t have support.

Eventually, I began to counsel people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Using cognitive behavioral therapy, I have tried to help my clients learn how to change the way they think, so that they can change the way they feel and behave. In recent [...] continue the story

Lauren Pizzi: AWD (Artist with Diabetes)

In late 2010, I began thinking about how I could allow my 15 years living with type-one diabetes to speak in a non-abstract, relatable, and original way. “Balance” (oil on canvas, 2010) 9 x 12” This was my first attempt to paint anything from a pure, conceptual approach. After photographing dozens of pictures of my daily companions, (low blood sugar treatments: skittles and smarties as well as my insulin bottle/syringes, which I use to fight high glucose levels) I realized that this still life literally was my life. Even with tight management of my disease, low and high levels are frequent. “Balancing Act” (charcoal on paper, 2012) 22×30″ In one perspective, diabetes can be compared to as a job I didn’t apply for, a job I received, and a job I can never take a day off from, but it has also given me strength, patience, and optimism. That’s what I hope the painting displays; a juxtaposition of brightly colored candies and the sudden sharp, alarming glisten of an exposed syringe. I used to be afraid of labeling myself, but now I proudly say, “I am a diabetic.” With the completion of this work, (Balance) I believe I found my voice. Bittersweet (charcoal, pastel, gel medium, oil [...] continue the story