On the Eighth Day of Diabadass

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The 8th Day of Diabadass: Meet Jamie

Jamie Lowe graduated from University in England, and was psyched to start his new (and first) job, in a brand new city. For obvious reasons, it was an exciting and intense time. So when he started having all the usual symptoms of diabetes (frequent urination and insane, unquenchable thirst), he shrugged it off as new job struggles. Little did he know, he was headed straight into DKA. In the hospital, he was told he had type 1 diabetes.

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Since that 2015 diagnosis, Jamie’s been cruising. His job is really flexible; he can get to appointments easily and adjust his days accordingly when his blood sugars aren’t in a cooperating mood. He currently lives in Bristol (in South West England), where he works as a TV Presenter for Bristol Live. Most days, he’s capturing a really hard-hitting news story, trying out new features and products, or interviewing celebs. On the side, Jamie turns his focus onto some sort of passion project, usually blog posts for his website or videos for his YouTube channel.

And during it all, while running around town and filming his latest feature, Jamie always keeps his diabetes top of mind. T1D hasn’t always been so easy for him, though. Just after diagnosis, Jamie had an encounter that has stuck with him.

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“I was sitting in a new desk and the person next to me quite rudely asked me not to inject or test my blood sugar because it disgusted them. At the time, I didn’t say anything. But since then, I made a promise to myself to be unashamedly diabetic. I am tasked with my day-to-day survival, and I couldn’t care less if someone thinks their fear of needles is more important than that.”

In fact, Jamie’s entire T1D outlook has completely changed. He’s in his third year with diabetes and, so far, wouldn’t change a thing. He considers himself healthier since living with type 1:

“Now, I have a constant reminder that my body is only as good as how I treat it. I feel that I’m really in tune with my body and I’m not just inside a machine; it deserves to be looked after. Diabetes has also taught me to allow myself to fail. At first I struggled with having unexpected jumpers and hypos and felt like a failure. But after taking a step back, being mindful and calming down, I was able to deal with the ups and downs better. Mentally, I am stronger now.”

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Now that he’s got his jumpers (⬆️⬆️) and hypos (⬇️⬇️) figured out, Jamie continues to thrive. Staying positive and spreading the good vibes are extremely important to his everyday wellbeing. Jamie also has two younger brothers who help him not only keep on the sunny side, but also step up to the task and look out for him on nights they go out on the town. Jamie continues to crush his everyday, whether it be through manning his diabetes or producing a new film of his own. Next on the list of diabadassery?

“Go to South Korea. I don’t know why, I just have to go.”

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On the Seventh Day of Diabadass

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The 7th Day of Diabadass: Meet Roberta

Roberta Johnson is absolute diabadass perfection. Because she has such a story to tell, we thought it would be best to have her tell it to you herself. Here’s Roberta, in her own words, to tell you her beautiful, powerful, awe-inspiring story: 

“Wow – what a journey! I am a 53-year-old, unbelievably joyful woman who has SO many reasons to be thankful. I have been an educator for 32 years, and have taught choir, band, reading, Interpersonal Communications and theatre. I am currently working on my 3rd graduate degree – this time, a Master’s in School Counseling.

I tend to tell people that my ‘diabetes story’ began about 8 years ago, after my weight had climbed to the point that my knees weren’t handling it anymore. In a ‘routine’ check-up with my doctor (to check rising cholesterol levels and an adequate ‘anxiety medication’ dose for a lengthy period of depression), she discovered that I had diabetes. But really and truly, my journey began with gestational diabetes in 1993. I had GD for 3 out of my 4 pregnancies, and I knew that my risk for T2D was high. I just thought I could hold it off for a long time. However, I was 45 at my T2D diagnosis.

I made a lot of changes at that moment. I lost 30 pounds within a couple of months, and dropped my A1C significantly with metformin, diet, and exercise. That was 2010.

After living in a 25-year difficult marriage, (and all the while, dealing with pain from childhood trauma), I was at a dangerous time in my life. I left that marriage. With the help of a dear friend, I got off all meds for depression. I dug into figuring out how to love myself with the help of several therapists.

Two years ago, I married that dear friend, Darryl. (He also had endured a very difficult marriage.) We have blended our family and have 6 grown children together. The life we now have is full of more laughter and joy – every single day – than I could have ever thought possible. Even though he has gone through two brain surgeries (thankfully, not cancer, but very dangerous), and I was diagnosed with Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma last year, we are the happiest two people that I know.

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With Darryl’s help, I am off metformin and my A1C is at 6.0%. One Drop has been (and is) a huge part of my success in managing my diabetes. Darryl and I work together on stress management, exercise as much as we can, and always focus on being thankful for what we have been given in each other, and in our family. We put each other first, and we make sure laughter is a big part of our life. We look around every day and see evidence of just how amazing life is, everywhere.”

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On the Sixth Day of Diabadass

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The 6th Day of Diabadass: Meet Whitney

On the 6th Day of Diabadass (we’re halfway there!), meet Whitney. Whitney is currently California Dreamin’ in sunny San Diego, but is an East Coast gal (by way of Maryland) at heart. She and her husband have been West Coast for 4 years; the weather, culture, and beautiful beaches are hard to walk away from! ☀️ Whitney currently works in property management, social media marketing and building Happy Pancreas, which is where her type 1 diabetes (T1D) story comes in.

“I love helping others and inspiring them to live their best. My mission with Happy Pancreas is to bring love, support, and guidance to those who feel overwhelmed in their type 1 journey.”

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Whitney was diagnosed with T1D in January of 2014. Leading up to diagnosis, she’d been really sick for a little over a month, and in and out of urgent care. She was being treated for bronchitis and a UTI. Earlier in the month when she visited Washington D.C. with her husband, Whitney constantly had to sit down to take breaks while walking the city. At 26, her heart rate was extremely elevated, forcing her to rest to bring it down. Something was off.

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It was her OBGYN who finally suggested running a full lab panel. And the results gave Whitney her answer. At the ER, she was given her official diagnosis and survival tools. She sobbed in the car with her mom as confusion, fear, and uncertainty set in. But now, almost 5 years later, those feelings have transitioned into confidence, trust, and knowledge.

Mission Statement

“I have made it a personal mission to fight and tackle this disease head on, and feel empowered to live and feel better than someone without a chronic illness.”

Whitney is using this new, empowered perspective to fuel Happy Pancreas, her lifestyle blog and social media platform where she tells the world her T1D story, and help others with their own. Whitney is determined to help others who find themselves in the same T1D situations by providing them with the tools, tweaks, and tips she’s learned along the way. And while she wouldn’t necessarily reverse her diabetes (she’s already learned so many life lessons because of it), she is totally on-board for a cure!

Her greatest accomplishment, without question, is life alongside her husband, Derrick. They’ve been married for 10 years, and have seen lots of seasons together already. Whitney says that it’s Derrick who has been her strongest voice of reason in doubt-filled moments, that he pushes her closer to her best self. ❤️ Amidst her T1D journey, it’s Derrick who’s been Whitney’s anchor and inspiration to give it her all and not let it hold her back from anything she dreams of doing.

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Together, Whitney and Derrick spend their days with their pup, Sable, and in close community with their friends. Whitney also loves to cook (her Insta is loaded with delicious and nutritious recipes and tips!), meditate, and Crossfit! What could possibly make life any better? Living in Paris, Whitney’s number one goal. And judging by her diabadass attitude, she’s going to make it happen! 🤞

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On the Fifth Day of Diabadass

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The 5th Day of Diabadass: Meet Rick

Rick Canales is a native Houstonian. But catch him on any given Sunday, and that just might surprise you; although he’s a diehard Texan, he loves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Go BUCS!). In fact, his number one bucket list item is seeing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game at Raymond James Stadium, and hearing the pirate ship cannons fire! But beyond the Bucs, Rick always has and always will love his city.

What could he possibly love more than his Houston, Texas?

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“My wife and son are the world to me. My wife, Edissa, is the most amazing and gorgeous woman on the planet. Our son, Edward, is almost 21 and a Junior at Texas A&M. WHOOP! (It’s an Aggie thing.)”

Rick has a champ’s attitude towards life. “Go Big, or Go Home” is his motto. Which is probably why, when he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes back in 2005, he did not let it get the best of him. When he discovered his diabetes by accident (after a post-pancake meal, his blood glucose was 180 mg/dL), he immediately stopped it in its tracks.

Rick has been able to manage his diabetes without insulin, and as of this year, cut back on all his medications after having an A1c of 5.9% three times in a row! And One Drop was there to share in his wins:

“One Drop has helped me track everything: my medication, food, and exercise. And I don’t mind pulling out a cool gadget in public to check my blood sugar.”

We hear you, Rick! And couldn’t agree more. Having a “cool gadget” helps us all feel more empowered in our daily fight. 💪 His perspective on diabetes embodies his champ’s attitude: “I hate having any disease. But if I didn’t have diabetes, then I might tempt fate and get something worse.

Other than championing his diabetes, Rick is hard at work on Process Control Automation. At 50, he’s still very much an avid gamer. He loves being on the couch with his Edissa, binge watching TV while simultaneously playing videogames on another TV. You’d probably catch him binge watching all the Stars Wars movies: his second favorite holiday (next to Christmas) is May the 4th Be With You.

Rick, thank you for sharing your champion outlook with us, and setting a diabadass example for us all!

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On the Fourth Day of Diabadass

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The 4th Day of Diabadass: Meet Virelle

We met Virelle through her son (shoutouts to all the kids out there, looking out for their parents!), who was on the hunt for something to help out his mom when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. When Virelle’s son, David, introduced her to One Drop, everything changed.

“I never knew something like One Drop existed. It’s a miracle combination of friends, experts, practical tools, and community. Now, I could track my eating habits (honestly, that was a real eye-opener) and see how I’d gained all this weight. It took nearly six months to lose thirteen pounds and my A1C had barely budged. I signed up for test strips and a counselor, Dr. Mark, who was simply excellent. He was honest and kind, extremely helpful and knowledgeable. No one else had as many practical answers.”

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And since then, Virelle has been on a roll. She started this journey at a 6.9% A1c at diagnosis; she was exhausted, felt lousy, and assumed her problem was age, weight, and depression. But after she was given the proper tools and knowledge she needed to better understand and manage her diabetes, Virelle shed 25 pounds in six months, and dropped her A1c down to a healthy 5.9%. ROCKSTAR STATUS. 🤘

It’s the Little Things

Beyond the scope of lowering A1c and seeing better numbers, what’s all this greatness taught Virelle?

“Little things matter. Little bites, little efforts in the right direction, little words of encouragement from others.”

It really is the little things. And for Virelle, learning that sentiment is worth the journey.

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Currently, Virelle is loving retirement! Now that she’s got her blood sugars where she wants them, she’s able to take time for herself and her husband of 52 years (!), and travel to see her four grown kids and 11 grandchildren. With seven published books under her belt, Virelle is finally able to focus on painting. She’s loving learning all the new strokes tremendously! 🖌

Would she undo her diabetes, given all the obstacles it’s caused her?

“I would not undo the challenge, the need to finally discipline my body.”

How cool is that? And true! Because if we’re really, truly are attempting to take care of ourselves and better manage our diabetes, we probably are living way better than we ever would be without it. You can thank Virelle for that positive spin.  😉

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On the Third Day of Diabadass

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The 3rd Day of Diabadass: Meet Sarah

Sarah Johnson, aka @thediabeticcactus, is your (not-so) average, super awesome, superhuman, certified type 1 diabadass. 🏅 She works from home in Pennsylvania as a project manager for a small risk management company. She and her dad are avid fans of The Office‘s Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute. And, before we go any further, major shoutouts to her dad! Mr. Johnson: Sarah says thanks for staying up with her during all of those overnight lows!

Because Sarah is such a pro at sharing her diabetes journey with the world, we wanted to hear more about how it all came to be. Check out our interview with Sarah below!

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OD: What’s your diabetes story?

SJ: I was diagnosed the weekend before Thanksgiving in November of 2000. My mom, who is also a type one diabetic and a physician, (yay for type 1 family members!) noticed one day that I was drinking a lot of water and got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night (which was very rare for me). She knew there was a chance that I would end up with type one. So she and my Dad decided to take me into her office to do a urine dip to check for ketones and glucose. Once it was positive for glucose in the urine they decided to do a finger stick, that came back with my sugar being in the high 300s.

Next, they called my pediatrician to let him know that they thought I was diabetic. And after that, I was admitted. We only spent 1 or 2 nights in the hospital; since my mom was already type one and a doctor, we did the bare minimum as far as all of the classes. She taught me all the tricks to diabetes herself! 

OD: How do you manage?

SJ: I manage my diabetes with the Omnipod insulin pump! I just got it in September, but I’ve been on a pump for over 10 years. Before pumps, I was on MDI [multiple daily injections]. I’ve also been on Dexcom for about a year, which has been a total game changer!

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OD: Have you found any diabetes hacks along the way?

SJ: The main hack I’ve learned with diabetes is to just go with the flow. Some days you can do the exact same thing, eat the same thing, and have a great day of sugars. Then, the very next day, you can do and eat the same exact thing, and something completely different will happen with your sugars. Learning to roll with the punches and take the time to learn from what happened is key.

OD: What has having diabetes taught you?

SJ: Having diabetes has definitely taught me patience. I think it’s important to not get too bent out of shape over a bad number, because we’re all trying our best with this disease.

OD: What’s your most memorable diabetes moment?

SJ: Oh man, there are quite a few! The first one that comes to mind: I pretended to have a low blood sugar to get out of running the mile in high school. I’ve used my diabetes as an excuse many, many times. You just can’t argue with it!

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OD: Would you undo your diabetes?

SJ: I would not undo my diabetes. I don’t have any memories of not having type one, and for that I am extremely grateful. Having type one has given me a lot more empathy and compassion for people. It’s an ‘invisible’ disease, and it reminds me that you never know what the person next to you has going on in their own life.

OD: What’s your favorite quote, and why?

SJ: “To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people just exist.”- Oscar Wilde.

The one thing I will always remember (that my parents taught me) is to never limit myself with this disease. I don’t want to just exist with diabetes. I want to live with it!! You can either let your numbers control you, or let yourself control your numbers.

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On the Second Day of Diabadass

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The 2nd Day of Diabadass: Meet Terry

Meet Terry! Occupation: Dad. Well, it’s his absolute, most-favorite-ever and longest-running job. According to Terry, it’s the best job he’s ever had. ❤️ His son, the youngest, and his middle daughter are both at the University of Delaware, and his oldest daughter graduated last year with her Masters and is gainfully employed as a teacher. Talk about WINNING as a dad! Terry is also dad to two dogs, that bring him tons of joy.

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Fulfilling his dadly duties included coaching little league baseball and softball for 11 years. Now that all his kids have flown the nest, Terry still gets to cheer on his son while he watches him row with the University of Delaware’s Crew Team. Growing up, his three kids were super involved in gymnastics, cross country, baseball, and more. It was all those gymnastics meets and baseball games that helped Terry hone his photography craft. And it was cheering on the sidelines where Terry found his most rewarding, relaxing times, his camera always in-hand.

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Ask Terry about his career, and he’ll tell you, “I sit in front of a computer screen (yawn). But in 3 years, 7 months and 29 days I hope to retire and truly enjoy my life (not that I’m counting).” 😂 When that day comes (we’ve got a calendar invite set for Saturday, August 6, 2022, Terry!), the first thing he’ll do? Take a tour of the National Parks with his camera, it’s absolute top-of-the-list priority. We can’t wait to see that footage!

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Terry’s Secret to Being Diabadass

For now, Terry’s taking things a day at time, including his diabetes. And he absolutely owns it. Terry was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about twelve years ago after going through his divorce, when stress levels were at an all-time high, and diet at an all-time low. And after all the meandering, all of the highs, all of the lows, all of the falling-off-the-wagon moments to the gold-star A1c moments, Terry’s finally got it. He learned the secret sauce. And he’s crushing the daily diabetes obstacles. What’s the secret? CARBS (well, in this case, nocarbs)! And One Drop 🙂 And not beating himself up over a bad blood glucose reading. Here’s the low-down to mastering diabetes, in Terry’s own words:

“Since starting with One Drop, and being able to test my sugars more frequently, I was able to discover some foods that adversely affected my sugars and others that were very beneficial. Broccoli is my friend! Carbs, not so much. Growing up in an Italian community I love bread, pasta, and pizza. Now, they are enjoyed in very limited quantities.

One thing that has helped me the most is not beating myself up if I have a meal (or a day) where I slip and am not as strict with my diet. Sometimes it’s okay to have that slice of pizza or a few slices of fresh Italian bread or that slice of pie. Just so long as you don’t live there.”

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Game-changer! Those are diabadass words to live by. And Terry takes those words to heart. He’s learned first-hand, through his own diabetes journey, that his daily choices matter. And by choosing his health (over carbs, or stress, or work), he’s choosing success. Success for him, and his family, for years to come.

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On the First Day of Diabadass

The 1st Day of Diabadass: Meet Phyllisa

Phyllisa Deroze, the mighty voice behind Diagnosed Not Defeated, began her type 2 diabetes journey on February 15th, 2011. She’d been experiencing symptoms of extreme thirst and frequent urination in January (who else has been there? 🙋🏾‍♂️); when she went in to see her physician about it, she was shooed away and told it was just a mix-up with her electrolyte balance. (Who was there, too? 🙋‍♀️)

But when, on Valentine’s Day night, she passed out in her bathtub, she knew something was wrong, and Phyllisa took action. When she went back to her physician’s office the next morning, her blood sugar didn’t register on the meter; once she got to the ER, Phyllisa was told she was going into a diabetic coma.

“I couldn’t walk. I took a selfie and sent it to my husband because I thought that might be the last selfie I took in my life. I was living in NC and he in Paris at the time, so I was dealing with all this alone.”

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As her blog mantra states, Phyllisa is diagnosed, but not defeated. After being diagnosed with diabetes that day in the ER, Phyllisa’s home was torn apart by a tornado. And through it all, she managed to come out on top, and stand tall.

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Phyllisa now lives with her husband and their 3-year-old daughter in Abu Dhabi, where she teaches literature as a Fulbright Scholar (boss lady!). She loves traveling (21 countries crossed off the list), running 5k races (38 and counting!), spoken word poetry, and (currently) writing a book about her experience with postpartum trauma. Phyllisa explains, “this is a huge undertaking emotionally, but I am enjoying the growth in healing that the writing process is bringing me.”

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“[Diagnosed Not Defeated] reminds me that I am much more than even my roughest day with diabetes. It’s also a reminder that diabetes management is an active process, and that as long as I am trying I am a winner, I’m not defeated.”

Phyllisa not only crushes her diabetes on a daily basis, she also spreads her wealth of knowledge and experience with others regularly. But this diabadass spirit hasn’t always come so naturally. For 6 years, Phyllisa used an alias on her blog. “I was too afraid not to. I remember avoiding some interviews with certain publications or not applying for certain patient advocacy conferences because I didn’t want my real name to be public.” But that changed last year during National Diabetes Awareness Month when she decided reveal her true self to the world.

“I woke up one morning, put on my fanciest dress, went downstairs and recorded a video explaining that today is the day when I will no longer hide behind the fear and shame of type 2 stigma.”

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And man, are we glad she did! Since then, Phyllisa has been one of the biggest voices online for diabetes advocacy. She gives all of us insight into what she goes through, what others are going through, and what we’re all accomplishing together! It also gives the rest of us with diabetes the courage we need to fight our own battles. But Phyllisa’s “Diagnosed Not Defeated” mantra goes beyond diabetes; it resonates throughout the rest of her life. She’s gotten a PhD with dyslexia, she’s maintained a healthy, loving relationship with her partner (they celebrate their 10 year anniversary in March!), and she’s given birth to a healthy daughter as a person with diabetes. These accomplishments (what she considers her greatest) all contain examples of her fortitude.

“I am most proud of how I have endured and survived the many challenges that life has given me.”

That fortitude, which she applies to every aspect of her life, is something we could all use as we keep on our own diabetes journeys. Phyllisa, thank you for showing us your tenacity, bravery, and endurance. You are a true diabadass. 🔥

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The One Drop 12 Days of Diabadass 2018

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We’ve seen a ton of awesomeness this year in our One Drop family. 2018 gave us in-app estimated A1c 🔮, a partnership with insulin smartpen gurus Companion Medical, a dedicated Gestational Diabetes Program for expectant moms with diabetes 🤰, the first-ever direct BGM integration with Apple Watch ⌚️, blood glucose automated decision support 🤖, a top-3 spot on the global stage of diabetes apps, One Drop Packages, and One Drop carry cases to choose from, just to name a few.

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YOU 👇 Are Diabadass

Our One Drop family has also seen lots of awesomeness in 2018. Here’s just a snippet of the types of things you have accomplished this year:

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All those A1c numbers going ⬇️⬇️⬇️?! Now that’s what we we love to see! 😍 And it’s why we’re here. To help all of us living with diabetes know better, manage better, and, ultimately, live better. We do that by empowering each other to live every single day like the amazing, wonderful, superhuman diabadasses that we are. 🦸‍♀️⚡️🦸‍♂️

#12DaysOfDiabadass

Speaking of being a diabadass (and if you’re unfamiliar with the term, read all about it here), it’s that very special time of year again where we highlight just a few of our very awesome One Drop family members! Over the next few days in December, we’ll be shining the spotlight on those of you not only crushing your diabetes game, but also living your best life while owning your diabadass-ery during the One Drop #12DaysOfDiabadass. This month is all about sharing your awesomeness (diabetes & non) with the world.

‘Tis the Season of Giving

We are really spreading the wealth, health and good cheer with our greatest offer of the year! 🎅 If you’ve been waiting to take the One Drop plunge and join our family, this is the time to do it. All during our #12DaysOfDiabadass special, you have the chance to join our family and get 25% off your quarterly charges for an entire year! And, when you do the math, it ends up being three months of your One Drop subscription, totally on us. ❤️ How does that work?

■ When you sign up for a One Drop Diabetes Package, you’ll be shipped your supplies every three months, 4 times a year, free shipping always.

■ When you sign up for a Package during the month of December using the code 12DAYS, your 4 charges over the next year receive a 25% discount.

With our latest Diabetes Package plans, you’ll receive your test strips (the amount you choose) and lancets (only if you want them!) every three months. When you use code 12DAYS for your purchase, 25% off will automatically be applied to every charge on your plan for the next year. 😯 It’s our best offer of the year! 🎉

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Keep your eyes peeled all this month so you can meet just a few members of the One Drop crew. Then, start your 2019 early (and on the right foot!) by officially joining our family!