Feature Friday: Debbie English
This week’s Feature Friday is with Debbie English! Debbie is from Peterborough in Ontario, Canada. This is about 2 hours from where insulin was discovered! How cool! She is a 51 year old, school bus monitor who also just so happens to have Type 1 Diabetes. Debbie is a great voice in the diabetic community and is both helpful and supportive to others. She also holds a realistic and positive point of view of her diabetes…
“As I struggle with diabetes on a daily basis, it does not bring me down. Everyday is a new chance to fight this disease and learn as much as we can. Everyday I learn something new and that’s key. Even being legally blind has not stopped me from doing much, well it does stop me from doing somethings, like driving. Gotta laugh when you can, and roll with the punches like a survivor and fighter.”
I was diagnosed at age 12 just after Christmas, where landed in the hospital for two weeks. This was where I learned to inject oranges and a nurse! Yes, you read that and I shall never ever forget that. I was so insulin sensitive that I could hardly get 1 unit of fast acting insulin. so I started out on beef and pork insulin, which they no longer make. A doctor once told me I was a pioneer and that day on January 21, 1981 at 4 pm is a day I will never, ever forget.
My initial thoughts were how did this happen to me? I’m already living in a house with a T1D parent, my father. I can still remember the look on his face and how sad my dad was when we came home to tell him the news.
Best tip if I can give someone is to get some good people around you to help you with being T1D. Lord knows there is lots to learn, and you need a clinic, an educator, and a dietitian. I couldn’t do this without them, and they are helping me a great deal. A good endocrinologist is someone who will listen to you and answer your questions. Theres going to be a lot of questions and I had a doctor once tell me that was learning from me. Educate your friends because they want to help you and they need to know how to, get a scale that does carb counting and fiber because this has been a game changer for me.
What helps me thrive through my T1D journey is learning from others like this awesome community! I swear that I learn something new everyday from this great community, new (injection) site places, new foods, new products, new recipes, and tips from others… I never thought I would still be learning all this great stuff after 40 years!
What do you wish someone told you earlier about diabetes?
I wish I had taken better care of my diabetes as a young adult but things have changed from 40 years ago. I had no T1D friends and not many to talk about with when I first got diagnosed. I should have listened more about how bad complications can be as I’m legally blind now, and still not out of the woods for more eye procedures. I am still healing from major surgery 4 years ago this month but I do believe the care for t1d has gotten way better with insulin and technology.
Words of Encouragement and Hope
Try to be patient as everyday is a new day, and there will be great days and very hard ones. You need how to roll with them and try not to be so hard on yourself because life happens.