“Even though diabetes sucks, it doesn’t have to rule your life.”
Rachelle was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in May 1999, just before her 18th birthday. Coping with it was at first very difficult. She dealt with severe depression and had to take medical leave from college, which lead to her feeling even worse.
For years she was in denial and lived her life as if she didn’t have diabetes. At that point her A1C was 12.8% (normal is 6-7%)—dangerously high.
She was getting multiple infections and was constantly in the hospital. “Eventually something inside me just clicked. The more I got sick the more I realized the only real way to deal with it was head on.”
This painful process is what helped Rachelle become a better person and value her health. Over time diabetes has given her insight into how different foods affect her health, energy, mood, and even her sleeping patterns. “I’ve developed a great interest in nutrition in general and because of this I am turning it into my career. My newest adventure is going to school part time during nights and weekends for Nursing. I want to help care for people and be an advocate for better nutrition, for both people with and without diabetes.”
A little over a year ago, Rachelle started competing in triathlons and other endurance sports. “To call this a hobby may be an understatement. It’s addicting in a good way and I’m having a lot of fun taking on the challenges that come with the sports and relishing the health benefits—and how my legs look in a skirt.”