TYPE 1 RACING

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Eileen DeLeeuw Certified Diabetic Educator.

Having worked in diabetes care and education for 40 years and now having a family full of both types of diabetes, I have learned that diabetes is a very different challenge for each of us as it combines with our different personalities, circumstances, and other medical conditions in unique ways. None of us are anywhere near perfect in our diabetes self-management.  Yet, we are blessed by the And now, when diabetes complications do occur we have treatments that allow longer quality lives!

I vaguely remember my diagnosis at age 9:  Feeling so very Ill I slept through an exciting power outage, having a nurse walk into the hospital room and yank CHRISTMAS candy away from me, telling me I'd never eat candy again (HA!), being shown large bags of sugar free cake mix, taught to test my urine for sugar, and give injections with glass syringes and dull metal needles to an orange.  Because my parents remained positive and shared their religious beliefs that I, with the help of my Savior, could handle this condition, it has resulted in many benefits along with challenges.  

When I learned in college of the devastating complications diabetes, or, rather, high blood sugars, could cause,  I wondered how I could break that news to my parents.  Only years later I learned that at my diagnosis they had been told that because of diabetes I would suffer blindness, kidney failure, stroke, and death by age 30, and never be able to have children.  I honor them for not focusing on those negatives but encouraging me to learn to manage and deal with diabetes.

Having worked in diabetes care and education for 40 years and now having a family full of both types of diabetes, I have learned that diabetes is a very different challenge for each of us as it combines with our different personalities, circumstances, and other medical conditions in unique ways.  It can cause horrible short and long term problems.    

Diabetes management reminds me of Churchill’s statement:  “Success is not final, failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts.”   None of us are anywhere near perfect in our diabetes self-management.  Yet, we are blessed by the fact that, unlike so many health conditions, we can have a large degree of control and good health if we keep trying, learning from our mistakes, and doing better. And now, when diabetes complications do occur we have treatments that allow longer quality lives!

Sometime I would love to share my entertaining, disgusting, sad, scary, and inspiring diabetes memories with others.   There are also many specific advances in diabetes I would love to share as well as greater hopes for control and cure coming our way.  However, I think the more important message for our community today is that, unlike any time before, we have the resources we need to remain or become healthy with diabetes. I want to thank the health care providers and workers in our community who have become better and better at helping those of us with diabetes manage our condition.  I have seen amazing progress in the 20 years I have been working and living here.  Thanks to all.  

 I encourage all citizens to discuss their diabetes or risk for diabetes with their health care providers.  Work harder on some aspect of your control or efforts to prevent/delay Type 2 diabetes!  If you are struggling with diabetes, don't feel quite so defeated AND DON'T THINK POOR DIABETES CONTROL IS A SIGN THAT YOU ARE A BAD OR INCAPABLE PERSON.  But do know improved control will result in great long term health benefits---and teach you a few things about life too!  Please find a way to support yourself and other family and friends in fighting this fight!  If you think you don't have access to the resources you need to do these things, ask!  They are likely available.  You can always call me, a crazy healthy woman with diabetes, mom of 5 and grandmother of 15, supported by an amazing husband, family, friends, and health care providers, for any suggestions that might help at 435-840-0299.