It’s been awhile since I interviewed a T1D parent, but Sara Spencer-Kinoti stands out. Her LinkedIn profile reads unapologetic, ridiculously excited diabetes advocate, ally and part-time pancreas. In this episode we discuss her college side hustle taking care of insulin dependent cats, her family history of Type 2 and how she uses her unique platform as a healthcare provider to not only influence and educate those living with diabetes, but also members of their care team.
I am a Registered Nurse (RN) and Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist (CDCES) with over 17 years of healthcare experience. I am currently the Program Quality Coordinator and co-creator of the newly established and accredited Diabetes Education Center at Austin Regional Clinic in Austin, Texas where I facilitate Comprehensive Diabetes Self-Management Education in the ambulatory care setting.
Growing up in rural Oklahoma and later Texas in a family with a strong predisposition for type 2 diabetes, diabetes was commonly talked about so even as a child I had some level of understanding. It seemed natural then that when I was a student at Oklahoma State University, I found my niche earning extra money taking care of insulin dependent cats in their homes while their owners were away.
As Alanis Morissett once referenced, “life has a funny way of helping you out” as little did, I know that this was a sort of preparation for the most important job that I would assume later in life – that of type one mom.
In 2013 while I was on maternity leave with our second child our then 3-year-old daughter was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Our newborn bliss quickly turned to survival mode abruptly sending my life on a new trajectory. Her diagnosis ignited my passion to create a better world for those living with diabetes. It awakened me to the myths, stigma, misnomers, ignorance and bias that exists for those living with diabetes that complacently permeate society including healthcare. It was through this new awareness that I realized the need for greater access to diabetes education for those living with diabetes and for those who care for them.
As a healthcare provider I have a unique platform to not only influence and educate those living with diabetes but as important influence and educate other members of the care team. I am grateful for all the opportunities that I have been given to use one of the darkest moments in my life to help others on this journey.
When life gives you lemons, make some sugar-free lemonade or at least don’t forget to bolus!