#50: Miss America, Nicole Johnson | A Life Of Advocacy After Wearing Diabetes On-Stage

An hour before her emcee duties at the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center’s Connect+Cure Gala in OKC, Nicole Johnson joined us and shared her perspectives since winning Miss America in 1999. From the surprising career trajectory afterward, to dating and diabetes scenarios, we embraced the whole journey. Per the usual flow of the show, many laughs were had, and we all got to know each other.  (more…)



Diagnosis Day Was A Total Relief

When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, my first feeling was perhaps different than you might expect: relief.

The months leading up to my diagnosis were some of the worst of my life. I had been flying from Washington DC to the West Coast and back on a weekly basis, and I thought the constant red-eyes had finally gotten the best of me. I was battling fatigue, circulation issues, and weight loss, and I could barely get any sleep. I just felt awful. (more…)



Questions We Ask When We Know A Different Life: Thriving In Peace Corps, Part 5

Michael Bliss wrote a book called The Discovery of Insulin in the early eighties – I read it just before I left for Ukraine. It was terrifying and heartbreaking to learn the stories of T1Ds before insulin, and it was fascinating and enraging to learn about diabetes research, past and present. I have always wondered about the world, and knowing Peace Corps’ medical rules, I wondered about how T1Ds in Ukraine and elsewhere lived. (more…)



Advocating For T1D in D.C. (10 Actually Exciting Takeaways)

Recently I returned from a whirlwind trip to Washington DC, where I advocated for Type 1 Diabetes with folks from all over the U.S. Our primary mission was to garner support from our state’s (Oklahoma) senators and representatives for the renewal of the Special Diabetes Program, and to cover the JDRF stance on the ACA. I was blown away by many aspects of the trip, and would like to share with you my top 10 takeaways, in countdown form. (more…)



The Balancing Act (Is It Ever Okay To Sacrifice Control?)

Type 1 diabetes is one of the few diseases that needs to be micromanaged on a daily basis, 24 hours, 7 days a week. There is no holiday, time away, or opportunity to hand over control to someone else for a while.

When you have a personality like mine, this means becoming almost obsessed with the daily management tasks of living with type 1 diabetes. This has many benefits, no doubt: great control, predictable BGLs, and a HbA1c below 6%. (more…)



#35: Elizabeth Rowley, T1International Founder | Everyone Deserves to Chase Their Dreams

Diabetes is rough right? Even with a CGM and around the clock basal insulin from a pump, most days are still a grind! But staggeringly, across the globe insulin prices are accounting for up to 40% of monthly expenses, and people are walking 100 miles to get a prescription.  Elizabeth Rowley, founder of T1International, is digging deep to gain awareness to the disparities in care and often inadequate access to standards in daily management, like strips and insulin. They campaign for systemic change that not only meets daily needs, but aims to solve the underlying issues in healthcare. If you’d ever like more information on the subject of diabetes across the globe, they are the knowledge hub.

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Pt. 2, Thriving As A T1D Peace Corps Volunteer: How to Say ‘Insulin Pump’ in Ukrainian

Moncia's Host Family

I arrived in Ukraine with my life packed into two suitcases (one of which was half filled with medical supplies). My first stop as a Peace Corps trainee was an old sanitarium just outside the capital city of Kyiv. There, my group of volunteers had a few buffer days in which Peace Corps became real: we learned which language we would study, where our 10-week language and job training would take place, which other volunteers would be in our 4-5 person training ‘cluster’, and we filled out a lot of paperwork. This is also where I had to decide how and to whom I would tell about my diabetes. (more…)



Part 1: Never Forget A Backup Plan (Thriving in Ukraine in the Peace Corps)

PeaceCorps and Type 1 Diabetes

I was diagnosed with type 1 when I was thirteen. Shortly after, a fellow traveler broke it down for me: you can either control your diabetes or you can let it control you. A rabble rouser froma young age, I decided quickly that if those were my choices, I’d choose option A. At the time, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to make that decision each day, but gradually it helped me develop a personality trait I see in a lot of folks with type 1: we love a challenge, and we love to prove people wrong. When I decided to be a Peace Corps Volunteer, I went into it with that same bullheaded mentality that had been an almost constant companion since diagnosis.
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#19: Amy McKinnon | Venturing Into Uncharted Vegan Territory… And Lower Insulin Levels

Don’t they always say that Instagram brings people together? Actually, no, we’ve never heard anybody say that, but the rule applies when you’re vegan and have type 1 diabetes. Amy McKinnon, an Aussie originally, quit her job a few months back to explore the world, traveling the likes of Cuba, Peru, Mexico, and Ecuador. She and Ryan “met” on Instagram, probably while admiring each other’s photos of papaya or something strange of the sort. She too has felt the transformative power of a plant-based diet and joined us to share her own experiences with a vegan lifestyle. For fun—and honestly we mean this—she loves to go for casual 10 mile jogs. If you’ve ever been intrigued with the marathon running life but aren’t sure how to get started, she’ll tell us how to make it happen.
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5 Strategies To Survive New Holiday Traditions With Strangers

Thanksgiving Dinner Guest

I’m always down for a road trip so when I was invited to Austin to share Thanksgiving with new friends, I starting packing my bags. I met Lisa and her family in Hawaii and spent a number of evenings with the Thomas family. I even attended her daughter’s wedding, so driving a few hours for Thanksgiving was a no-brainer.

As the departure date approached, I felt the anxiety creep in. I was excited to see everyone, but nervous to spend 72 hours in someone’s home I barely knew. We had discussed my diabetes so they were familiar with me testing my BG and shooting up, but a wave of insecurity came over me.

  • What if I can’t eat what they’re serving?

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