How I Stopped Diabetes From Managing Me

On a late September day in 1997, my life as I knew it exploded with the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.

For the first 19 years of my life, my feet danced across gymnastics floors, tumbled down balance beams and sprinted toward any adventure that would come my way. In an instant, my feet were literally stopped in their tracks. On a late September day in 1997, my life as I knew it exploded with the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.

Fear Tactics

I remember too much and listened too little that day. Like any life changing event, it was a half present, whirling master class of practicing injections on apples and learning that food was now defined by agonizing numbers. Beyond the memories of insulin filled fruit and learning to perfectly portion food, there were several additional “welcome to diabetes” bites I recall having to swallow. These pieces consisted mostly of my healthcare team's accounts of the atrocities that would ravage my body if I did not manage my new life with diabetes well. I was told that having children might be an impossibility, that I may go blind and perhaps most relevant to this writing, that my feet now needed to be protected with diabetic shoes, flip flops were out of the question and I would need to check my feet daily for wounds and pressure spots. As you might imagine, I did what any 19-year-old would do—I tossed on my cute heels and headed back to the dorms. There was a party to get to that night and I certainly was not going to be late.

We all can appreciate how effective fear tactics are in instilling motivation in anyone, especially to the teenage brain. Needless to say, from day one, I did NOT manage my diabetes well. Essentially, I did not manage it at all. Instead, I put on my high heels and trudged through my sophomore year, venti mocha frappuccino in hand, ignoring diabetes. By winter break I had failed out of university, developed a deadly eating disorder common in diabetes known as diabulimia, my vision was vague at best, and I could take less than one step without severe, depressing, and debilitating leg and foot pain. Within one year of my diabetes diagnosis, I had developed severe and excruciating neuropathy, bilaterally in both legs and feet.


The mind-bending, endless, and infuriating pain of neuropathy is unparalleled to anything I have experienced—and I have given birth without drugs! If you are reading this and are experiencing this unfathomable curse of pain, I am so sorry. I too have endured the endless burning, the sleepless nights, the despair, the guilt, and the bottomless depression that comes with neuropathy and its resulting complications. If you are reading this, know you are not alone. The pain and fear that come with neuropathy are real and exists for too many of us.

My own disregard for MY diabetes, depression, eating disorder, gastroparesis, deteriorating eye health, and the endless pain of neuropathy persisted for decades. I was spending my life in hospitals and with specialists, had endured foot surgeries, wound clinics, and pain in my legs and feet so devastating I could no longer drive. I was 30 years old and diabetes and complications had kidnapped my life and any hope for a future I wished to exist in. I was alive, but most certainly not living.


This, however, is a story of hope. If you are in the throes of diagnosis or the terrifyingly painful complications of neuropathy and diabetes foot disorders, please know that the journey to effectively managing diabetes took me many years and the right support. I no longer feel the pain of neuropathy, my retinopathy has reversed, and I even gave birth to a healthy baby girl at age 40. The solution for me was no pill, powder, or magic potion. Instead, it meant managing my diabetes. It’s difficult work, but the results for me were life-giving. As my A1C and blood sugar time in range improved, my complications began to fade. I am proactive in addressing any diabetes concerns that creep up, especially when it comes to my feet. I want to be able to grow old, watch my young daughter grow old, and use my feet to dance at her wedding. I know and understand too well how the fear, guilt, and pain can feel inescapable and permanent. One of the best pieces of advice I received was to live my life in a way that does not allow my body to know I have diabetes. Eat well and healthy, take my medications, check blood sugars often, move my body, and be quick to address and seek support when necessary. Life feels so much better when I am managing my diabetes instead of it managing me.

About Siren Socks

Siren Socks are smart socks that help detect potential issues with your feet. Siren Socks are an FDA-registered Class I medical device and are designed for people living with diabetes and neuropathy. The socks measure your foot temperature. Temperature monitoring has been shown to help reduce the number of diabetic foot ulcers in multiple clinical studies over the past 20 years and is considered the gold standard in diabetic foot care. The information from the socks is monitored by licensed nurses who contact you regularly to check on your health and the status of your feet. Your doctor reviews any issues that arise and determine if a clinic visit is necessary. Siren Socks are covered by Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and many private insurance plans. Interested patients can find a Certified Siren Provider near them and begin the enrollment process by clickinghere.

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