Thanks To Diabetes, I Have Learned How To Overcome Obstacles And Achieve My Dreams

Thanks To Diabetes, I Have Learned How To Overcome Obstacles And Achieve My Dreams

This disease changed my life.

In honor of National Diabetes Month, I want to write about my life as a Type 1 Diabetic.

My seven-year diabetic anniversary, or diaversary, is fast approaching. Being a diabetic is a daily battle of ups and downs. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects the insulin production in the pancreas. Which means that my body doesn't produce insulin and I must manually inject it by syringe or by something called an insulin pump. Without this daily injection, my blood sugar will continue to rise, with the digested glucose having nowhere to be absorbed.

Since my diagnosis in 2011, I have had to deal with daily finger pokes, multiple insulin injections, and the mental struggles of having to deal with extreme highs and lows.

Diabetes is an invisible disease, there is no physical evidence that anything is wrong, which can be emotionally draining.

Without the support of my family and friends, I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today. The amount of support it takes to be able to walk around every day, with a disease that's invisible to the majority of the world, is tremendous. Every day I wake up and hope that today is going to be a good day, but I have no earthly idea what my day will actually be like.

Even though we are told that we can eat whatever we want, just as long as we give the insulin for it but it's not that easy. I am slowly beginning to learn that eating clean makes my numbers so much better. Being in college makes having a disease like this so much harder. You want to be able to get pizza at 11:00 while you're studying, or sleeping until 2:00 on Saturdays, but diabetes makes that almost impossible. I spend night after night, being woken up by blaring alarms telling me my blood sugar is high and I need to give a correction dose of insulin, or that I am too low and I need to get up and find some juice or fruit snacks.

There are many times that I wish I didn't have this disease and that I was normal, but I'm so glad that it's me and not someone else. Having diabetes has helped shape me into the woman I am today and for that, I'm forever thankful.

If I hadn't grown up with this disease I wouldn't have learned how not to let difficult things stop me from achieving my dreams.

In the last 7 years, I have successfully continued to show horses competing at the state and national levels and now at the collegiate level. I will not let diabetes run my life or stop me from my passion.

Cover Image Credit: @diabetesresearch

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Scoliosis: The Curving Disease


Heather Searfoss


The Curvature

After winning the 2018 Super Bowl Philadelphia is known as ‘The City of Champions and Underdogs’. It is the birthplace of the underdog boxer, Rocky Balboa, and the home of the current Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. It is also the birthplace of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where fighters are born and challenged every single day.

I was one of those fighters and I was fighting scoliosis.

According to, “173,000 people are diagnosed with scoliosis every year” (2018, ST&RC) and most of those diagnosed are children. I was diagnosed when I was 11 years old. But before I get into details, what is scoliosis? How is it caused? And why do we need to know about it?

Scoliosis is a medical condition that causes the spinal vertebrae to curve. It is caused by genetics, arthritis, or it may not have a known cause at all, in which case, this is known as idiopathic scoliosis. “Spinal deformity in children and adolescents accounts for the largest share (48%) of all musculoskeletal deformity health care visits – over 857,280 each year” (HCUP-AHRQ 2011) (2018 CLEAR) and this number continues to grow along with the population. But is scoliosis a serious medical condition? Yes, it is and it must be taken seriously.

Scoliosis severity is measured on 3 levels according to CLEAR Scoliosis Institute:

·Mild- Curvature is 20 degrees or less

·Moderate- Curvature is 20-40 degrees

·Severe- Curvature is above 40 degrees

I had 2 curves in my spine.

One curvature was 65 degrees which caused my rib cage on my right side to protrude and constrict my left lung cavity and, the other was 32 degrees which caused my hips to protrude towards the left side. Altogether my curvatures were 97 degrees. By the summer of 2008 my curvatures would have escalated to 100 degrees or above.

The tricky part about scoliosis is that it is a progressive disease. It is like cancer, but without tumors or chemotherapy. It cannot be placed into remission and it cannot be fully cured.

Only maintained and monitored.

“Bracing will NEVER reduce the curvature, and surgery is only a temporary solution for scoliosis treatment” (2018 ST&RC) as for me, I have been through both treatments. I wore a back brace for 2 years and I had a spinal fusion on February 18th, 2008.

To this day, I still have the bars in my back from the surgery and my quality of life has improved since I was first diagnosed in the summer of 2004 so I would say this far I am lucky.

Scoliosis is a disease that most of Americans and society do not think twice about. It is a hidden disease that can only be diagnosed with specific tools and expertise. It is a challenge for those who face it and a burden for the families who witness it. But, with this knowledge I hope we can band together and end this plague, I call

‘The Curvature’.

Works Cited

My own personal experience with scoliosis. To hear my full story please visit my blog @

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5 Things To Remember Now that Everyone Is Sick

Will you be next? Hopefully not.

It’s that time of year when everywhere you go, everyone is getting sick. You walk into work or school, and one by one, people disappear like fallen soldiers. Influenza becomes a word to fear, and "cold" no longer means the temperature. Everyone carries tissues, cough drops, and bottles of cold syrup and wields them like weapons against evil viruses. Are you next?

1. Drink plenty of water:

Drinking water is your new hobby. You must keep water bottles in your car, at work, stuffed between couch cushions, pillows in bed. If you think you've had enough water, you're wrong. Someone coughed on you at the grocery store today... Oh no.

2. Keep track of your vitamins:

Did you know a red bell pepper has over twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange? Red bell peppers are now your new hobby. You figure out ways to put them into every meal, and when all else fails, you just serve them on the side. You thought your throat was sore earlier, but it's probably just dry, right?

3. Bundle Up:

As the temperature plunges, so should you... into your closet for warmer clothes. Scarves and gloves and hats and sweaters. Keep the cold out and warm up! Plus, they act as great barriers for when everyone around you starts to sniff and sneeze. Did you just sneeze? It's just dust!

4. Tell your sick friends to stay home:

As your sick friends begin to grow and grow to an unmanageable size, make sure to gently remind them to stay home and avoid getting everyone else sick. They will probably ignore these suggestions though, so it may be best to just save your breath, which for some reason is a little tighter today.

5. Rest up:

It's official, you've woken up and you're sick now too. Stay in bed an extra hour grieving over all the appointments you're going to miss in the next few days. Rest up and try not to get anyone else sick!!!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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