Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Life with Diabetes - Ondrea

Today marks week three in our Life with Diabetes series.

Today, we introduce to you, Ondrea!

I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes for over 19 years. For the first 15 years living with diabetes, I took several daily injections. Four years ago, I was up to 4+ finger pokes (still am) and 7-8 injections per day. Injections and finger pokes combined seemed to be consuming my life. I made a conscious decision to switch to an insulin pump instead of continuing multiple injections a day. Since I started insulin pump therapy, my A1C has been in the 5's and 6's (which is really good!!). 

Just because my A1C (one of many numbers that matter to diabetics) has been really good since I went on the pump, DOES NOT mean the pump is a cure. The pump simply allows a diabetic to be in tighter control if they choose to do so (by micromanaging food, activity, blood sugar, etc.). 

The pump is similar to an IV. It is always hooked up to me (dripping insulin every 2 minutes) and although it's not as big as an IV, there is always a small box with tubing that's connected to me. This machine is amazing! I have the freedom to eat as I'd like (mostly), but don't be fooled, the box does NOT do the thinking for me. In order to be in as tight of control as I am, I have to be constantly aware of what my blood sugar is, how many carbohydrates I've consumed and the timing of when the carbs need to be tackled by insulin. 

My day consists of doing math. Throughout my 10 years of being diabetic, I've become an expert in the field of carb counting. Although I consider myself an expert, there are several factors that weigh in and can make my educated guess, wrong; which can make for a very long day. I refuse to let that stop me. It is days like that, that drive me to push forward in the fight for a cure. I make the choice every single day to control my diabetes and not let it control me.  

If you wold like to make a donation to support Ondrea's walk team, please click here

Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

42 Years, 42 Reasons

JDRF released their 2012 Annual Report and the theme is 42 Years, 42 Reasons. The report has quite a bit of depth to it. If you're thinking, depth? I don't have time for that right now. I can assure you, you'll want to take a peek. They've presented the information via their website in an eye-catching and engaging fashion. 

Take a few minutes and check it out. You won't be disappointed!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fun Facts!

The Minndakotas annual Walk to Cure Diabetes at the Mall of America is only 29 days away. 
Enjoy some fun facts about what makes the walk and JDRF so awesome!
Did you know?
  • The JDRF Mall of America Walk raised a record breaking $2.2 million in 2012.
  •  A record breaking 22,000 people attended the event.
  •  The JDRF Walk at MOA is Minnesota’s 2nd largest single site charitable fund raising event.
  •  670 family teams registered for the 2012 Walk, raising an amazing $954,000.
  •  The MinnDakotas MOA Walk is JDRF’s LARGEST single fundraising site – raises the  most money, attracts the most participants and engages the most family teams.

Ø  Regenerative medicine tells us the body can heal itself. JDRF funded research (in Pittsburgh, Stanford, Zurich and Jerusalem) has proven that it can be trained to produce more insulin producing cells to replace the ones killed by T1D. In animal studies, new drug therapies are stimulating the body to regrow insulin producing cells.  Once proven in humans, a person with T1D could replace blood glucose testing and insulin shots (or their pump) with a once a day oral medication that would make new cells. No more diabetes!
Ø  JDRF challenged the world to invent Glucose Responsive Insulin. By expanding the pool of scientific talent thinking about this problem – through the innovative scientific discovery mechanism of a challenge prize -  JDRF now has three innovators working on making GRI a reality. If successful, people with diabetes would replace insulin shots (6-8 times a day) or wearing a pump with a once a day (or maybe only once a week) insulin shot that would sense glucose and deliver insulin all on its own, acting like a body without diabetes.
Ø  Vaccines prevent other diseases. Why not diabetes? Using its innovative industry partnership funding strategy, JDRF is partnering with Selecta (a Massachusetts company) to ensure they focus on T1D, something that wasn't previously a priority for them. Together we are working to develop a vaccine that would stop the auto-immune attack from happening, thus stopping a person from becoming insulin dependent.

JDRF is an IMPRESSIVE organization and we’re not the only ones who say so!
  • More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support the mission.

Forbes: JDRF was awarded an efficiency rating of 89 out of 100 in Forbes Magazine’s most recent charity ranking. Forbes called JDRF “...a tightly run organization that puts almost every dollar spent to work curing disease....”

Better Business Bureau: Recognized as an “Accredited Charity” by the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance, JDRF meets all of the BBB 20 Standards for Charity Accountability and is an accredited BBB Charity Seal holder.

  •  Business world model delivering results.  JDRF has set the agenda for T1D research worldwide and gone beyond discovery science to deliver cures, treat­ments, drugs, and therapies to patients.

The New York Times: “The foundation typically outperforms, in lobbying and fundraising, nearly every other interest group built around a particular disease.”

  • JDRF lights a fire under everyone who can help drive our mission. By partnering with academia, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, venture capitalists, government entities, and other foundations, we ensure results.

The Wall Street Journal: “Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has spent some [$1.6 billion] on research. It has a pile of discoveries to show for it....”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Life with Diabetes - Nick

Today marks week two in our Life with Diabetes series. 

Today we introduce to you, Nick!

It was the middle of summer, I was 15 years old and I was in Hawaii with my mother, father and sister. I was drinking 5-6 gallons of fluids/day, losing weight, my vision was getting a bit blurred and my body ached a lot. I never imagined it would be Type 1 Diabetes. 

When I got home, my mom took me to the hospital and after many tests, the doctor returned to tell me that I was diabetic. I was shocked. I didn't know much about the disease and knew even less about the impact it would have on my life. I went home, defeated. I was given this load that I must carry for the rest of my life.

Over the next 6 months I went through weeks of classes to learn to count carbohydrates, how to diet, how to give shots, how to test my blood, when to test my blood and much more for this crash course on how to live. I had to teach myself to watch everything I ate and monitor everything very closely (quite a feat when in your teens - to completely change your lifestyle). Everything was very hard to accept, but with the help and support of my family (especially my mother), I got through it. 

My mother went to every doctor visit with me, learned everything about carbohydrates and meals with me, learned the effects of diet and exercise and helped me stock up on diabetic-friendly foods (i.e. meat & cheese, food with no carbs). Having my mom by my side eased the transition into becoming diabetic. I knew I had someone fighting in my corner, even when I didn't want to. The one thing I had to do on my own was give myself shots and check my blood. My mom didn't want anything to do with inflicting pain on me. Throughout high school my family and friends helped build me up and create a wonderful base for me to build on. 

In college (@ UMD), my diabetes became very hard to manage due to the changes, influences of others and the freedom from home. It was especially tough to leave my support system that had helped me over the years. I decided to join the alpine ski team to help create the support structure I needed. The team welcomed me with open arms and I lovingly got the nickname "Diabud", which was short for Diabetic Buddy. I built strong relationships and built an additional support system. 

Shortly after moving back home from college, my mom was diagnosed with cancer; my biggest supporter and advocate. Interestingly enough, it was pancreatic cancer, as if she was trying to take the diabetes right from me, so I could be free of this disease and not worry about it.

At this same time, I met my best friend, who would later become my wife, Melissa. She instantly became my biggest cheerleader in life and diabetes, being the base I needed to keep me going. She has become the greatest gift I have ever received. We wed on September 30, 2012. We had an amazing wedding with our entire family present.   

The week after our wedding, my mom passed away after a long fight with cancer. I would like to thank my mother, father, sister, wife, friends and family for their constant support and caring for me. I owe everything to each one of you. 

Although I've had a JDRF Walk for the Cure team for 10 years, I am now becoming more active and dedicated to the cause. I hope that you can back me in the fight to cure Type 1 diabetes! 

If you would like to make a donation to support Nick's walk team, please click here. 

Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes

Did you know that Celiac Disease is found in 1 out of every 10 diabetics compared to 1 out of every 100 in the general population?  

People with Celiac Disease cannot tolerate gluten. The gluten intolerance can only be resolved by eliminating all gluten from one's diet. See below to read more about Celiac Disease and it's connection with Type 1 Diabetes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Hunt for a Cure!

Have you ever wondered where all of the money you so generously donate to JDRF goes? JDRF allots more than 80 percent of it's expenditures to support research and research-related education. With that said, your donation is helping to fund one of many different research related projects.

Take a look at a few of the projects taking place! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Life with Diabetes - Brianna

Today kicks off a new series. We will be featuring a different YLC member and 
their story every Wednesday, through the week of the Walk to Cure Diabetes. 

To kick off our series, we introduce to you, Brianna!

Most people have a general understanding of what Type 1 Diabetes is, but do you know what it's like to be a diabetic? I want to give you an example of what a day in the life of having Type 1 Diabetes is like, this auto-immune disease I have that also affects millions of others. Here we go...

7:00am - Had an overnight "low" which made me get up at 2am and drink a bit of orange juice, feeling extra sleepy and frustrated. Tested my blood sugar with a finger prick and blood draw to a meter. I had a good read: 121 (Normal blood sugars should range from 85-130)

7:30am - 1 of 2 insulin shots for the morning. One for breakfast, one for an insulin that lasts all day

10:00am - Feeling good and awake finally. Had a morning snack that's low carb (string cheese, small apple). Tested blood sugar: 189. Gave myself another insulin shot for the snack and to "cover" my higher blood sugar reading. With diabetes, simple math is the name of the game. 

12:00pm - Time for lunch. Tested blood sugar: 130. Lunch is a hearty salad, apple and bag of chips. Gave insulin shot accordingly. 

3:00pm - Tested blood sugar: 209. I didn't count my carbs right at lunch because of this, I'm feeling drowsy, but hungry for an afternoon snack (popcorn). Can't overeat though! Insulin shot to "cover" my high blood sugar reading and to cover the popcorn accordingly.

5:30pm - Headed to the gym. Tested blood sugar: 150. Ate banana before my workout. 

6:30pm - Got low blood sugar on the drive home from the gym. Felt really weak. Tested blood sugar: 63. Small glass of juice to hold me over until dinner. 

7:15pm - Dinner. Carb counted my dinner. Insulin shot, half of a regular dose because I worked out.

10:00pm - Small late night snack. Tested blood sugar: 149. Gave bedtime long-lasting insulin shot to hold my sugars (hopefully) steady through the night. Bedtime.

A day in my life consists of constant monitoring, worrying about how certain foods will mess with my blood sugar levels. All of this affects my mood, physical energy, and my mental and physical well-being. Some days I give myself 5-6 shots, or check my blood sugar 6 times a day. 

Some days are (sort of) a breeze, but some days I want to stay at home, frustrated. Sometimes I want to exercise, but I can't because my blood sugar levels aren't right. Sometimes I can't have the treat everyone else is having, or sit through a presentation without going low and having to leave. Sometimes I have to curl up on the couch to get through a nasty low that makes me feel shaky and sweaty. Sometimes I am not the nicest person in the world because my blood sugar is too high and is causing me to be short-tempered (Thank you to my fiancé Eric for understanding!). Big picture: It is NOT easy!

If you wold like to make a donation to support Brianna's walk team, please click here

Thank you for your support!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are a crucial part in bringing us one step closer to a cure for diabetes. 
Have you ever been interested in joining a clinical trial? 
Visit or click here to Be a part of the cure!