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Almost three weeks before I was supposed to move to Boston for my first-year of school at Simmons College, my entire life was flipped in a completely unexpected direction. At 18 years-old, on August 6th, 2015 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) during a routine check-up at my pediatrician’s office. My doctor discovered that I had lost 10 pounds since the year before, even though I was not trying to lose weight. She immediately began to investigate, and when they took my blood sugar, it was over 600. At the time, I did not realize I was showing some of the classic symptoms of T1D – I was painfully thirsty, but I blamed it on the hot weather. I was always tired, but I blamed it on my long work hours and having to get up early. I was always hungry and ate snacks and meals all-day, but I always have had a big appetite. I never suspected anything was wrong because I was absolutely unaware and ignorant of what T1D even was.Both my parents and I (mostly them) were already on edge and worried about my transition to Boston, but diabetes made the transition even more difficult....
The world is full of bustling cities, unique cultures, and delicious food. For many, deciding where to go might be the most difficult part of the trip. For those of us with type 1 diabetes (T1D), there are a few more things we have to consider when making the decision to study abroad.I chose to spend this past spring in Milan, Italy, and it was one of the best choices I’ve made in college. Not only that, but I learned quite a bit about the ins and outs of traveling with T1D.For starters, in picking your location, you should not feel limited by your condition, but it might be important to consider the resources to which you’ll have access. If you are choosing to visit a remote location like an Amazonian village in Brazil, you may have to make some serious pre-departure plans. My strategy was relatively straightforward: call the insurance company and secure six months of supplies. Most insurance companies are quite understanding of the situation and will happily comply. This way, you don’t have to find a doctor, make several visits, and set up an entire system once you reach your destination (though it is a good idea...
As a person with type one diabetes (T1D) who uses an insulin pump, I, like many of you, give new meaning to having something attached at the hip. For most people, the only thing they are attached at the hip to is a smart phone. Because type one’s are just like anyone else (but a lot cooler) we are no exception to this rule. Let’s be real, the amount of things we can do on our phone is pretty amazing. Most of us might mainly use it for harboring Instagram likes and sending emoji clad texts to the five group messages were all a part of - but did you know that you could be managing your blood sugars better with an app, too?I’m serious, for me, downloading a free app made a huge difference in my diabetes maintenance and helped me drop my hemoglobin A1C by 0.5 points. I would suggest trying a couple to see which ones work for you. The great thing about using apps for your diabetes is that they make diabetes care so quick and discreet. I’m never ashamed to test my blood sugar or use my pump in front of others, but it’s really...
When I decided to go to college three hours away from home, I knew there were certain aspects of my life I would be giving up. One in particular that had the biggest impact on me was giving up my close knit group of other people with type one diabetes (T1D) that had become my family since I was diagnosed in December 2008. I didn't expect to miss having that connection at Mississippi State University (MSU). I had an incredible support system of T1D’s and their families that lived close by. Yes, I could always call them if needed, but it wasn’t the same as being able to meet up with them when I was struggling or needed supplies.My second semester I began searching for a group of people my age with T1D somewhere near my college. There was absolutely nothing. Like any good college student, I turned to google. I joined a couple of online groups, but it still wasn't the same as in person connections. Then during my searches, I found the College Diabetes Network (CDN). I immediately requested more information because there was not a single CDN Chapter in the state of Mississippi. It didn't take long...
It's no surprise for any person with diabetes, or a parent of someone with diabetes, to face the challenges when it comes to health insurance. As a 24 year-old whose father lives in Korea and whose mother passed away, dealing with the stresses of health insurance on my own is not new to me. Though, every year, things seem to get tougher and more frustrating to deal with on my own. With many bills I’m responsible for, I’ve come to a point where I’m not able to afford monthly premiums and the out-of-pockets to receive care for my diabetes and supplies. With this dilemma, I’ve had to turn to applying for Medicaid.During this difficult and stressful time, the delayed progress in being accepted into Medicaid had eventually left me running out of Omnipod pump sites and test strips. Not wanting to be an inconvenience for anyone, I went back to the basics: Syringes and Novolog vials. What’s missing in this picture was the Lantus, spiking up my blood sugar overnight. My numbers started becoming so inconsistent that I started feeling weak and got headaches easily.Out of desperate measures, I had to text my friend, Sarah (member of the CDN Chapter...
 In life there are always firsts. Sometimes those firsts can be scary. Your first steps, your first day of school, and your first time driving come to mind. As a person with type 1 diabetes (T1D), my life is defined by a few other “firsts.” My first time giving myself a shot, my first sleepover after diagnosis, my first site change, and what this story is about, my first time travelling abroad with T1D. All my “firsts” had been scary, yet so rewarding, so I knew this experience wouldn’t be any different.I chose to walk 500 miles across Spain for six weeks with nothing but me and my hiking pack on a trail called the El Camino de Santiago. There would be daily 90 degree temperatures and hiking up and down mountains for over 10 miles each day, all while carrying 15 pounds on my back. This was definitely going to be a challenge.How was the time change going to affect my blood sugar? How was all this activity going to affect my blood sugar? How would I know how many carbs were in the Spanish meals? And most importantly how was I supposed to fit all of the insulin,...

CDN Grants- Awareness

Editor’s Note: CDN was able to provide $5,000 in grants to 16 CDN Chapters for the 2016-2017 school year. The funding for these grants was provided by Lilly Diabetes. You’ll be hearing about their events in our blog over the next few months! University of California-Davis- EmmetAs a type 1 diabetes (T1D) group at the University of California- Davis (UC- Davis), we knew we wanted to do something special for College Diabetes Week 2016. After talking about how many of our friends have misconceptions about what it means to have T1D, we decided it would be worthwhile to inform our fellow students what life with diabetes means. With that goal in mind, and the help of the funding from the College Diabetes Network (CDN) grant, we began to make outreach plans for College Diabetes Week.At the start of the week, we printed out flyers to promote an informational night and bought supplies to make a poster for outreach. Our poster explained what T1D is, how it is treated, and the truths behind some misconceptions about it. Having reserved a table outside the coffee house on campus, we set up our poster throughout the week, handed out flyers promoting our event, and had...
Editor’s Note: We caught back up with Charlotte, CDN Chapter Leader at the University of Rochester about what’s she learned as a sophomore with T1D. She blogged about her initial transition as a freshman last year! Somehow I’m already halfway through my sophomore year! I really can’t believe it! Such a cliché, but I’ve learned so much about myself. I really feel like I’m setting the stage for handling adulthood, especially in relation to diabetes management. Here are a few things I’ve learned about type 1 diabetes (T1D) while I’ve been at the University of Rochester (so far)----Plan AheadIt makes life easier to pack extras (batteries, glucose tabs, pump sites, etc.) It’s easy to say, “I’m just across campus,” to myself. In reality, though, packing these extra supplies ensures that I can keep on with my day without being fazed by a trip back to my room. It ensures I can arrive to meetings, work, and classes in a timely manner. Of course, diabetes management is always a valid excuse, but I feel better about myself when I can manage my diabetes without it getting in my way of my normal student schedule.-Educate Yourself, Educate OthersOne thing I’ve noticed about college...
Coming to college, I was sure that I would be able to handle my diabetes all on my own. It had been 12 years, I had been to sleep away camp, traveled to Europe, and grown up with this. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) had never been a huge burden in my life and I did not expect much to change when I moved out. However, after just one week, I humbled up. I could tell right away that this was a new life. My numbers were fluctuating from 400 to 50 within hours, I was lethargic, drinking juice constantly, and changing my pump site almost every day. The worst part was that no matter how hard I tried, I could not crack the code. I was testing my blood sugar more than ever, counting my carbs as best as I could with the new mysterious dining hall food, exercising… you name it. There seemed to be nothing that I could do.When I moved in, I jammed four months of every diabetes supply possible in tall plastic drawers that I hid in the back of my closet. I knew that I had to tell my new friends about diabetes, but I...
When I woke up on my first day of college, I had this wonderful, idyllic picture of what the next few months were going to look like. I was going to have a 4.0, work part time, go to the gym every morning, and to top it all off, lower my A1C. Heck, I was even going to exfoliate on a regular basis. In retrospect, my naivety is laughable. The first week of classes was manageable, but by the second, the sheer amount of work that I was facing seemed to be insurmountable. I thought that I had dealt with stress before, but nothing compared to the ever present fear that I was forgetting an assignment, or needed to write a ten page lab report on top of the exam I had to study for. I have always been a perfectionist, so the thought that I might not be completely in control of every aspect of my life was terrifying. Having type one diabetes (T1D) was always a challenge for me; to be perfectly frank I really hated it, but managing it never felt like an impossible task until this time in my life. This was probably normal given the...

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From The Blog

Madi blogs about her experience being diagnosed as a young adult.
Nathan blogs about his experience studying abroad!
Ellie talks about her experience with diabetes apps

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