Speaking out


I am looking to see if this is a good idea and if you think people my age would want to hear about this.

I am 25 years old, and have had diabetes for 10 years going on 11 now. I went through a battle of control, not in control, and to the point of total neglect where i self medicated by partying. I am now in full control, do not party, but i have suffered some complications from my neglect. Last year i was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy and just this month with gastroparesis. I have nerve damage which I am on medications for.

I thought it would be helpful if in my city I was a i guess motivational speaker.. I know how it feels when you decide you want to get back into control and you dont know where to begin or give up because you think it will take FOREVER to get there and as we all know, we dont want forever, we want INSTANT results!

Let me know if you think this would be a good idea, and also if anyone around my age wants to talk about complications and you were in the boat I was in, feel free to message me :)


If speaking out will help you, as it should, THEN GO FOR IT!! I do, and can remember my 20's and what fun it was. Relating to your post brings back those fond memories. Party Hardy!, Live life to the fullest, and then some! Those were the days :-) Even with all that far behind me, I am still moving forward with the big D. Good luck Tara!!


Thanks Jedd! yes I think it will help me and maybe if its someone who is younger relating to younger people.. it may hit home a bit more for them.. the only thing I have to lose is that whomever I speak with wont take my words seriously and well thats ok. At least I am getting my story out there :)

Hi Tara,  If you dont mind me asking, where are you from?  I live in Boston and am going through a VERY similar experience. Since 2008, I have had pancreatitus, gastroparesis, cataracts in both eyes, got put on the pump in October and the CGM in July of 2011, laser surgery due to retinopathy,  I am now facing an amputation from breaking my ankle a yr and a half ago and due to "supposedly " diabetes complications.  I really think that people need to hear about this type of thing, but Unless you are at 100 percent doing everything that can be done to be the BEST Diabetic in the world, you might find resistance.  Dont get me wrong.... I dont believe that anyone can do everything right or who even know what is exactly right from wrong right now.  Things have changed night and day since I was dx'd in 1977 that I couldn't even tell you what the right thing to do is now.  You are doing the right thing for you, but that isnt necessarily the right thing for everyone else.  Good Luck in your journey, and if you ever need to get some crazy stories or want to talk about my trials and tribulations of the Life of 34 yrs with D.  Feel free to contact me.  

Hi Tara,

 I found a few things that do help with abuse of self, and no it doesn't work over night like face cream, but over several months ok.  Exercise is a good start, and lots of water helps too, the exercise will help to rebuild physical health and the water helps to rejuvenate cells and injuries I find. Also, make yourself a mental list of how your body and mind are, and every week, month, 3 months, whatever you want to use, take another assessment using the same things you thought before. This is something that helps me alot to realize where I am and what I need to do to improve things in my health. I have been through about all that this has to throw and I struggle every day with getting better, and I still fall off the wagon from time to time, we all will. Some of it is self-inflicted some not so, the real issues are not what you can keep from happening at your own hand, but when an emergency -  health wise - pops up and you are put into a serious illness/injury which will occur at no fault of your own. Then the reasons for being good to yourself become painfully clear, and wishes become self-doubt and anger at yourself follows that. So when you step out of your diabetic form and take chances, make sure they don't last for months, and understand if you don't want to pay for them the rest of your life, there will be recovery times you will need. Take care and best of luck, speaking to others about this is a great gift you show others!  Jeff


Your goal of working as a motivational speaker is a great one.  Start with the JDRF in your area or see if your endo's office has suggestions.

I don't think anyone has perfect control, so it's okay to be a diabetes role model and speaker who has the highs and lows that come with diabetes.

We tend to think complications only happen to bad diabetics, but it's not that clear cut.  Blood sugar is one factor, but there are others that influence whether complications develop or not.   This article on the Joslin 50 year diabetes study talks a bit about it.


I was diagnosed in 1977 too and had terrible control for at least a decade (A1c over 14).  I've almost died several times over the years from both ketoacidosis and extreme lows and was once hospitalized for a high and a low within one week!  Even now that I have a pump and better control I still have frequent highs and occasional mild lows.  But I have no D complications.  There's more to it than just blood sugars.


Hi Tara,

Jenna is right. I had terrible control and was a typical teen of the 70s. Sex, drugs, and rock & roll. My sugars were all over the charts, I rarely went to the dr., and I rarely kept to my diet. At 15 I spent at least a week in the months of June, July, and Aug. in the hospital with ketoacidosis and told that if I didn't change my habits, I would not live to see 18! I was a very active teen and played all types of sports and rode a bicycle most days. Now, at the age of 49, I have no major diabetic complications. I have some minor problems that drs. say may be because of diabetes, but none stopping me from leading a full life.

Speaking up and out about your experiences is a good idea for diabetics and non-diabetics. Everyone needs to learn about this disease and what it can and cannot do to people's lives. I was one of the :guinea pigs" for humulin trials in the early 80s and was one of the first to use an insulin pump at the same time. I am currently using a minimed and have gone from A1Cs of over 12 to about 7. I am trying to become a speaker and diabetes educator.

Good luck to you Tara!

T1 since 1968

age 6

minimed since 2005

wow everyone, thanks for the tips and advice! I do believe i am doing the best that i can, i however do not use a pump, i got quite sick on the pump with ketones and the sites giving me HUGE black lump infections, so its odd that i still use needles! i think im the only one in my city i swear that refuses to go on a pump haha. but it works for me! love the advice, keep it coming

i'm also "born again" and I think it's a great idea.  telling your story can help others.  I have had the opportunity to tell mine a couple of times and I found it helps me too.

the JDRF also has an online diabetes support team (ODST) where you can answer emails and help others, but it's more like 1 at a time.  You can apply on the JDRF website.

good luck Tara

ooo Joe, thats interesting! i will take a look at that right now and see if that is something I could do! thanks!


I too have lived your life and let me tell you, it is so hard to do the "right" thing 20 years later. I want so badly to get my A1C below a 7.5 so we can try for a baby and I swear the more I conquer in my health the more issues that spring up. It so aggrivating but I feel so accomplished at the same time. I recently began coaching the swim team at the high school I work at and have been able to reach out to one of my diabetic girls. I try to show her why doing the right thing is so important. And it seems each time I try to reach out to the youth around me struggling through the same battle, I end up breaking out in tears because I wish I would have had someone like myself to talk to me at that age.

Moral of the story, what you are doing is great. We should all be some kind of support to our peers. I know for me it has really helped me accept the life I have and be able to be successful again. Keep up the good work!