John: I was eight years old and I was really tired and skinny and thirsty all the time. I went to the hospital and the doctors found out that I was diabetic. Once they gave me insulin I felt so much better.
Me: Me too! It's amazing how quickly you start feeling better. But I was pretty upset when they first told me. Tell me, are you mad at your pancreas?
John: YES! I want a new one. But it's the only one I've got, so I love it, with all its faults.
Me: Haha, that's a really good philosophy. I will try to forgive my pancreas too, but for now, we're still not talking. John Jay, I'm worried that now that I know I have diabetes and that I have to keep treating it for the rest of my life, that things will change a lot. What has the biggest change been for you?
John Jay: Just going easy on myself when my body needs a rest. It's easy to get frustrated, but I have to remind myself that it's not my fault and I'll be feeling better in a bit.
Me: Did you have to change how you eat when you found out you had type 1 diabetes?
John: Yes, I had to start really keeping track of how much I ate. But I got really great at math, adding up the sugar and the insulin to balance it! I used to eat candy and sweets, but recently I stopped eating them and I feel a lot better. But many diabetics still eat candy and can stay healthy if they really keep track of how much sugar they eat.
Me: What are your three favorite things to eat?
John: I love steak, fish, and tacos!
Me: Oh wow! I love tacos too! Especially shrimp tacos. John Jay, thank you so much for talking to me and helping me feel better about having diabetes - so long as I pay attention, sounds like this isn't so scary. Do you have any more advice for me?
John: Love yourself and your body, even when it's not working the way you want it to. Having diabetes is just a reminder that you are alive - go out there and live!
John was such a great resource, and so friendly! I also asked him about travel, since as you all know, it's one of my favorite activities. John assured me that he has traveled all over Europe and Asia and has always been able to manage both his world traveler life and his diabetes treatment!
Do you have any other advice for me?