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Change your Mindset – Change your Life

PIVOT – the word of 2020, and exactly what I have had to do. During the height of the pandemic, while trying to start a family, I learned that I was diabetic. It has now been nine months of pivoting and learning how to live with a chronic disease.

In April I went in for fertility blood work and left hearing the words that I had diabetes. I was expecting to hear concerns about my egg reserves; not that my fasting blood sugar was over 300. At the time, I was incorrectly diagnosed with type 2 by my PCP and told to go home, exercise more, and watch what I eat. I was so lost. I was spinning 5 days a week and eating all home-cooked meals. Sure, the pandemic brought on some baking, but I could not believe a few weeks of sourdough bread had broken me. There was so much self-hate and self-blame.

After a few weeks and no improvement in blood sugars, I took my health into my own hands and called Joslin Diabetes Center. Within 24 hours I had insulin in my body and a correct diagnosis of Type 1.5 (LADA). And so began a new journey of learning to manage blood sugars, learning of new medical devices such as CGMs and insulin pumps, and relearning how to live my life to the fullest.

During this confusing time, I was the director of our local Chamber of Commerce and held an elected position on my town’s Select Board. I was trying to help businesses navigate the pandemic, keep our community safe from this virus, and also trying to figure out to inject insulin and carb count before every meal! 

At first, I was angry and confused. Why was this happening after 30 years of being healthy? Shortly after this diagnosis came two more autoimmune diagnoses. It felt like my body was shutting down one organ at a time. But I have taken these thoughts and PIVOTED my mindset.

Instead of being angry, I am finding the joy in this diagnosis:

  •  I have gone out walking with family and explored more of my beautiful community than I ever have
  •   I have learned to meal prep and be prepared. No more hangry outbursts because I always have a snack
  •   I’ve learned the importance of exercise for moving my body, not just for weight loss
  •   I’ve connected with so many amazing T1D warriors across the globe who are inspiring me every day
  •   I’m grateful to be diagnosed at a time when technology allows me to monitor my blood sugars from my phone and deliver insulin with a click of a button
  •   I’ve learned the importance of the phrase “put your own oxygen mask on first”. While I love serving my community, I must focus on my own health above all else
  •   I quit my job and found one I love, which provides the flexibility that I need.
  •   I’ve learned that bad days are normal and it’s okay to not be okay. Use your support team and know you are not alone
  •   I always knew, but the past few months have shown me how perfect of a partner my husband is
  •   There is no such thing as a perfect diabetic. I am more than my blood sugar, my A1C, or my time in range.  
  •   Most importantly, I’ve SLOWED DOWN and learned to enjoy life (even during a pandemic!)

When I was diagnosed, my PCP told me I should start looking at adoption. Through so many supportive Type 1 warriors, I have learned that it is possible to have a safe and healthy pregnancy with diabetes. While I am still waiting to become a mom, I know this diagnosis will help me stay present and enjoy every moment.

I share my story to raise awareness for Type 1 Diabetes and the stigma around diabetes. I can still (and do) eat sugar, and I did not cause this autoimmune disease. Let’s stop the diabetes jokes and stigma.

I also want to share the signs. I thought my exhaustion and increased thirst were from dealing with a pandemic and being on zoom for 18 hours a day. Be on the lookout for:

  •   Increased thirst
  •   Increased urination
  •   Weight loss
  •   Blurred vision
  •   Fatigue

2020 has been quite the year! Cheers to 2021 and hopefully no more health concerns

Kristie Ferrantella
Krsities lives in Massachusetts with her husband Ben and puppy Zoey. She was diagnosed with LADA in 2020.

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