Two young women with type-1 diabetes sat in a coffee shop; strangers an hour earlier, fast becoming friends. One had been running for years, the other was only just beginning. One had learned diabetes-specific tricks of the trade by trial and error; the other wanted a guide. I told my new friend everything I knew. After more than two hours, I realized I had reached a turning point in my life and career.
It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post – so much has happened.
Oh, you know, like getting certified as a registered dietitian, changing up my website and finally opening up my private practice, which specializes in nutrition guidance for people, like me, with type-1 diabetes – so many aspects of type-1 diabetes.
And because I’ve got some new faces around here, I figured this is the perfect opportunity to fill you all in on the story of how I got here.
The italicized script above is an excerpt from one of the most influential occasions of my life.
The conversation in that coffee shop seeded a nugget of a thought in my brain. A nugget that would have me leaving a career in journalism, that I very much loved, to become a registered dietitian with the specific goal of filling a HUGE gap in the healthcare system for people with type-1 diabetes.
It was not a quick – or easy – journey for that matter.
It took 10 years from start to finish.
That’s like the tin-man anniversary!
But honestly, I’m surprised it didn’t take longer.
I had no math or sciences in my back pocket; journalism didn’t need chemistry.
But dietetics did.
I spent three years upgrading my high school courses – while working full time, pregnant, and as a new mom.
This nugget had taken hold and nothing was going to stop me from getting to that goal.
The Why of What I Do:
I was initially focused on working solely with athletes and active people with type-1 diabetes, but over the years of learning and reflecting, I soon realized that wasn’t the only area with gaps for our population – that wasn’t the only area that I had personally lived through without gaining sufficient supports that would have greatly benefited me.
The healthcare system is so limited in its offerings to this population – limited in time, limited in resources, limited in research, and so much more.
In Canada, we make up approximately 10% of the diabetes population. Ten per cent doesn’t sound like a lot, right. But 10% of more than 3 million is a lot.
And that’s a considerable portion of our population not getting sufficient care, whether that’s with their sport goals, or their transitions from child to adult, or their mental health, or managing aspects of disordered eating and, or diabulimia.
I aim to change that.
I aim to work with these T1D populations, all of them.
I aim to fill those gaps.
That was my goal, on a smaller scale, 10 years ago.
That is my goal, on a much larger scale, today.
I refuse to forget this population.
I refuse to put this population on the back burner.
I refuse to treat this population the same way that the type-2 diabetes population is treated; they’re not the same.
I refuse, because I am this population.
You are my community and I am yours – let’s build together!