Diabetes Story: Own your diabetes!
7 min reading time
Diabetes Story: Own your diabetes
Who this story is about?
His name is Levi. He lives just outside of Nashville, TN, and was diagnosed with T1D when he was 16 years old. Levi loves competitive sports, fitness, and recently, encouraging and informing others about T1D on his YouTube channel Between Two Lines. As a diabetic, he had some victories and plenty of failures. Levi’s goal is to help others capitalize on some of the things he had success with and avoid a lot of the pitfalls. He finds laughter to be encouraging and in the video, “If Blood Sugar Could Talk”, he dives into a humorous take on life if your blood sugar could speak to you. Enjoy, and good luck keeping it between the lines. Learn Levi’s whole story.
First Diabetes Experience
Dianurse: For how long do you suffer from diabetes? Levi: I was diagnosed when I was 15 years old I have been a Type 1 Diabetic for 16 years.
Dianurse: How did you realize it? How did you start your diabetes journey? Levi: I have no family history of diabetes and to date, I am the only diabetic in my family. I got a very bad 24-hour stomach virus. Once it passed, I lost 12 lbs over the next 10 days and went into DKA. After a visit to the doctor, I received the news that I was now a T1D. The virus had attacked my pancreas.
Dianurse: Did you know what diabetes was and how to act with it? Levi: Neither I nor my family had any idea how to handle the diagnosis. We were aware of the disease but had no real knowledge of how to move forward. Fortunately, Vanderbilt Medical Center here in Nashville, TN has a great program for educating newly diagnosed T1D’s.
About biggest fears …
Dianurse: What were your biggest fears at that time? Levi: I don’t know that I had any specific fears. It was more a dark blanket that fell over my future. I had no idea what the future held, what to do, or what it meant for me and my life.
How To Manage Diabetes
Dianurse: What’s the best way to manage diabetes, based on your experience? Levi: Own it. I hid it for many years. Internally I was very angry and chose to hide it from everyone. Friends, teammates, girlfriends, teachers. I only told people about it when I absolutely had to. I did not handle the adjustment well. I also felt terrible, slept horribly, and was quite moody. Once I began putting the effort forth and showing the discipline required to manage T1D, my quality of life improved dramatically.
Dianurse: Tell us more about your lifestyle, diet, and fitness/sport activities? Levi: I am an athlete. I was a baseball pitcher in college and once I was finished with schooling I was a personal trainer and had a high interest in bodybuilding. A well-balanced diet played a huge role in keeping my blood sugar stable, which then, in turn, helped to build muscle. Today, I still enjoy working out, playing sports, and being active. In addition to being fun and great exercise, activity does wonders for managing diabetes.
Dianurse: What is your favorite dish and why? Levi: That is a difficult question. I love food and enjoy cooking. I enjoy grilling and would probably have to say steak is one of my favorites!
Dianurse: What would be the best/most effective way to keep your blood sugar in the healthy range, again based on your experience? Levi: A continuous glucose monitor has had the greatest effect on my blood sugars. Managing blood sugar is very similar to trading in the stock market. Knowing what the stock is worth right now is great information, but even more valuable is knowing the trend. Is it rising? Falling? Time to buy? Time to sell? Knowing your blood sugar number is great, knowing what it is DOING is priceless. This data gave me an incredible amount of insight and knowledge on how to better manage my blood sugar.
About diabetes and technologies
Dianurse: Technology is rapidly penetrating healthcare. There are literally thousands of apps capable to track vital signs of humans, or simply data loggers ( carbs, blood glucose, etc.). What would be the added value of these technological advances for diabetics? How technology can help diabetics to effectively control their diabetes? Levi: I think these things are excellent tools for someone that is actively managing their diabetes. It requires discipline. If you aren’t willing to sacrifice and put the required effort into managing your diabetes, no app or technology is going to save the day. It starts with you. However, once your mind is in the right place – holy cow! There are so many neat tools and pieces of technology to assist you!
Dianurse: What do you think about the constant connectivity that tele-health app brings to both diabetics and healthcare providers? Levi: I do not know enough about it to give a good response. Like a lot of T1D’s, it is new to me and I still have a lot to learn!
Dianurse: How can you inspire others to take better care of themselves and their diabetes Levi: This is something I talk quite a bit about on my YouTube channel, Between Two Lines. I had several dark years. I lost an incredible amount of weight. I am 6’5 and went from fit to emaciated in a matter of 2 years. I dropped from 240lbs to 186lbs. I was in bed one night and felt my shins and thighs tingling. I realized that it was the beginning of neuropathy. I gave thought to how many years I was shaving off my life by ignoring my health, and within 2 months I had an insulin pump, CGM, and a watch that showed my blood glucose. My life was immediately transformed. I felt better, slept better, my relationships were improved, and my job performance increased. It was night and day. Several people in my life began encouraging me to take my story and use it to help encourage others. The result of managing diabetes is an unbelievable improvement in the quality of life. I want others to hear my mistakes to learn about things to avoid and capitalize on some of my victories. Good luck keeping your blood sugar between the lines! You can check follow him on Twitter ( @_between2lines) and Instagram ( @_between2lines)
Monica is a marketing maanger at Dianurse and a blogger.