With all the negative news headlines that inundate our day-to-day lives (think iPhone notifications, newspapers, radio, TV...the works), it's easy to forget the goodness of humanity. At this point, you may be laughing. Understandable. But it's out there. Really. Everywhere we go.
Inspiration to the T1D community and friend of the ESC Scholarship Program, Annalisa van den Bergh, has found this to be especially true on her thousand-mile bike journeys across America. She has the stories and friendships to prove it. Now, she's sharing it with others.
Diagnosed with T1D at the age of 13, Aidan Fernandez is about as well rounded as they come. Now 18, Aidan is graduating from Duncan U. Fletcher High School with above a 4.0 GPA. While maintaining his grades, he has lead the varsity baseball team, served as a counselor at the American Diabetes Association’s Camp JADA, coached youth sports, tutored students in math, and worked at the YMCA. Oh, did we mention he’s bilingual?
In short, Aidan is a force. He is an invaluable representative of the type 1 community and will undoubtedly add a great deal to the University of Florida, where he aspires to major in biomedical engineering...and one day become a pediatric endocrinologist.
Here, we share some of Aidan’s insights from his Every Step Counts Application. Congratulations, Aidan!
Tidepool is a powerful data collection and analysis tool. One that will change the way individuals with diabetes can integrate data and contribute that data to change the way we live with diabetes in the future. Exciting stuff.
I found out about Tidepool from Chris Snider at the JDRF TypeOneNation Research Summit-- he was representing Tidepool while I speaking on balancing sports and T1D management. Not only is Chris the Community Manager for Tidepool, but he also has T1D himself and hosts a podcast: Just Talking. I even got the opportunity to sit down with Chris and talk about med school, The Marathon We Live, running the Boston Marathon, and cheering for the Washington Capitals.
Here, Chris shares Tidepool's mission, uses, and future directions.
Seemingly out of the blue, Angela asked if I had interest in running Boston 2018 with an Abbott bib. No qualifying required. Just a heck of a lot of training and using the Freestyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system to help manage my glucose throughout. She also asked if I knew another T1D athlete who would be willing to do the program….a.k.a. do you have any other athletic, just-crazy-enough friends with T1D who would agree to run the Boston Marathon?
I immediately thought of Pat. He hadn’t run a marathon yet, but was determined and had done plenty of running around the soccer field. Wouldn’t hurt to ask…
Turns out, Pat had already been training for a half, but Boston was on his bucket list. He said he would think about it…which really didn’t take all too long. Pat was in.
He rose to the occasion and I couldn’t be happier to have him by my side (before passing me) at the Boston Marathon on April 16th. Here we sit down with Pat to get an idea of his training, balancing T1D, and what he’s most excited about for Boston 2018.
Erik and I only did one true training ride before cycling across the country on Adventure Cycling’s TransAmerica Trail. Around this time a year ago, we hopped on the Metro-North with a few friends from our type 1 diabetes Meetup group and headed to Peekskill, New York...
...Both of our blood sugars kept dropping and it seemed no amount of granola bars and gummy bears would keep our numbers stable.
There was no way of testing blood sugar at home, so we tested my urine instead. A special procedure involving a test tube with a solution containing drops of my urine was boiled on our stove. The solution changed color, and that gave some indication of how much sugar was in my urine. Each morning my urine was tested, and there was an injection of the animal insulin...
...In the mid 1980s I bought my first glucose meter. It had been 40 years before I was able to finally test my own blood sugar. I saw very high blood sugar almost every time I tested with the meter. Numbers in the 200s and low 300s were frequently seen, and there was no fast-acting insulin to correct those highs.
A1c tests were first available in 1976, and my doctor had my first A1c test done in 1980. It think it was a 12%. In 1988, I found a magazine article about carbohydrates, and I started reading labels on products. I began limiting the number of carbs I ate, and my meter started showing lower blood sugars. My A1c's improved. In the mid 1990s I started basal and bolus insulins. By the end of that decade my A1c's were in the high 5's and low 6's...
My mom was also in the audience (such a treat!). Her hand shot up.
"Were you wearing your medical ID when you got stranded?"
The answer is...no...I was not. To me, the most interesting part of that story was lack of strategy. To my mom, it was the fact that a very simple solution could have protected me if the situation escalated. Mercifully, a car drove by and I was able to get a ride back to campus to treat my low. But what if I had passed out and was not able to communicate that I had T1D?
I took a quick poll to see who was wearing a medical ID. Out of 50 teens, less than half were wearing medical IDs. Why not? Clunkiness. Perception of "coolness." Forgetting to put them back on. All relatable reasons. When I was not wearing my ID, all of these factors came into play.
The day after graduating from college in May 2015, one of my mentors, Dr. Ickes, had a final assignment: I was to submit an outline for The Marathon We Live: Training for a Personal Best in Life with Type 1 Diabetes...a book I pledged to write before starting medical school. I thought it would be like writing a college essay, but a bit longer. After making the outline, I would follow through linearly one section at a time and then tweak as needed. I estimated that with hard work, this process would take around 3-6 months.
As I tried (unsuccessfully) to rip an entire 180-page draft about nine months later, I realized how naïve that actually was. When I started to research and write, my outline changed. Many, many times. So did my target audience. So did my title. So did my tone. In fact, everything about every book I looked at changed.
Diagnosed just before her junior year of college, Alex has embraced life with T1D to empower and inspire others. In addition to working as JDRF’s Development Coordinator the for Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Chapter, Alex ran for Team JDRF in the 2017 New York City Marathon. She shares her T1D experiences with a dose of humor on her awesome blog: Iced Coffee and Insulin. Here we (virtually) sit down with Alex to pick her brain about living with T1D, empowerment, and advocacy.