One Droppers: Meet Mark

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The Beginning of My Diabetes Story

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the end of my junior year of college.

I was really thirsty and tired all the time, but I figured it was because it was the end of the quarter and I had a lot going on. As the days went on and my symptoms got worse, I tried to convince myself everything was ok.

I had plans to spend the summer in Paris and I was scared that if I went to the doctor, they would tell me that I couldn’t go.

Eventually things got to a point where I could barely walk to class, so I went to the doctor and I had a blood sugar of over 800 mg/dL. Luckily, my doctor was awesome and told me that I could do anything with diabetes and that I could still go to Paris.

So three weeks after I was diagnosed with diabetes, I got on a plane and spent the next 2 months in France.

Appreciating the Diagnosis

I would love not to have diabetes.

That being said, I am grateful for the opportunities that my diagnosis has given me.

Because of diabetes, I have a career that I love and I get to have an impact on other people with diabetes on a daily basis. Everyday I get to work to make the lives of people with diabetes -- including myself -- easier. I would not have it any other way.

I have also met a lot of wonderful people who I would never have had the chance to meet without having diabetes.

Diabetes has also given me an awareness and a real appreciation for how important my lifestyle is to my health.

I am able to see, on a daily basis, the impact of what I eat and how active I am on my blood sugars and I how I feel.

This awareness has changed how I think about food and activity.

Life Lessons from Diabetes

I still have my rough days with diabetes. And when I do, I use mindfulness to get me through. It’s so easy for diabetes to get overwhelming; mindfulness gives me the flexibility I need to see these difficult days as something that will pass.

It’s common for the emotional aspects of diabetes to be just as, or more challenging, than the physical aspects of diabetes. My hope is that everyone with diabetes knows that they are not alone.

Remember that just like you, I have my tough bouts with diabetes. But it will pass, it always does. And, more than that, there are others out there dealing with the exact same situation, perhaps at the exact same time.

Most importantly, know that diabetes does not need to stop you from doing anything.

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Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE
Nov 01, 2019

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