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Always learning about my type 1 diabetes

By Lisa Ciallella
Published April 06, 2020

Lisa and her family

I’ve had type 1 diabetes (T1D) for 21 years - 11 of those have been while working at Novo Nordisk. You probably think that since I work at a company that makes diabetes medicine, I know all there is to know about managing T1D. Truth is - I don’t. Even after all this time living with the disease and working at Novo Nordisk, I still have so much more to learn.

I learn the most from other people with diabetes, whether they’re co-workers, people I follow on Instagram and Facebook, through newsletters, or at a weekend camp for adult diabetics. Yes, that really is a thing. In fact, camp turned out to be a groundbreaking moment for me. It was the first time I didn’t feel alone with my disease. I was surrounded by people who understood what living with T1D is like. Through workshops, and just hanging out during meals and activities, we shared our experiences and learned from one another. My most cherished lesson was that I’m not alone.

Lisa at a weekend camp for adult diabetics

I’ve since learned that diabetes, anxiety and depression can go hand-in-hand. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. Until last year, when I was blindsided by anxiety - about work, family, or any number of things happening in my life. It was helpful to learn from my friends with diabetes that it was something they had gone through, too.

I’ve also learned from talking to other people with diabetes about our blood sugar numbers that nobody has perfect numbers. We all struggle from time to time, and that’s no reason for us to beat ourselves up.

Whether you were diagnosed one month, one year or even one decade ago, you can be sure there’ll always be something new to learn about diabetes. Understanding and treatment of the disease continues to evolve. And, as I get older and my body changes so too does the way I need to manage my disease. Fortunately, I can count on my friends, colleagues, and doctors to help show me the way.


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