#WeSwipedRight: How I Met My Husband on Tinder

By Carlie Widner

I’ve never been one to ask for help. I didn’t want to be on a dating app. I felt like using a dating app was “asking for help” so I put it off for a long time. I was more of a “traditional dater” and “non-traditional” dating just didn’t feel right. My best friend convinced me to try it out. She seemed to be having fun finding matches on Tinder, going on dates, and meeting new single guys, even if they weren’t husband material.

So I joined Tinder in 2014 after going through several toxic relationships over the years. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try and meet someone in a little more non-traditional way since the traditional way wasn’t quite working out in my favor. I let my guard down and realized that if nothing comes out of it, at least I’ll get a free dinner or two. After downloading the app, I hesitantly made a profile and decided to check out some of the single men in my area. “He’s cute…” Swiped right. “No, not him…” Swiped left. “Ehh, gross…” Swiped left. “Oooh, hottie!” Swiped right. I continued to swipe right and swipe left for a while.

Photo credit: Carlie Widner

Then, “You have been matched” came across as a notification. I checked who I matched with. There’s a picture of this guy holding up a barbell over his head. The first thing I thought was “Hey, he does Crossfit like I do. I like him already!” His name is Dustin. He’s a year younger than me, but that’s okay. We matched, so that’s a first step in the right direction.

The magic didn’t quite happen right away for us. We talked through the Tinder app for about a month before I felt comfortable giving him my phone number. I needed to make sure this guy was legit before I could trust him. I wasn’t looking for a hookup. I was looking for my husband. He was persistent. He didn’t give up. I liked that about him. He didn’t seem like someone who just wanted to hook up. Dustin and I went on our first date to a small burger joint in town and immediately hit it off.

Just prior to joining Tinder, my life had taken a turn. I was a travel NICU nurse living my dream, working in San Diego. I had wanted to do this since I became a nurse in 2006. Finally, my dreams were coming true for me, or so I thought. During this time, my body decided to attack itself, mainly my pancreas, and I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. That’s when I decided to pack my stuff up and move back home, ending my “dream” of working as a travel NICU nurse.

Photo credit: Carlie Widner

Living with type 1 diabetes is not easy. I was nervous to tell Dustin but I needed him to know that my life was not as “normal” as for most. Type 1 diabetes was so new to me and I was still in the process of learning how to live with this disease. To my surprise, Dustin showed up. We would be out on a date eating dinner and he would pull out his phone to help me count carbohydrates. He learned how to change my insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. He learned how to give glucagon if I ever had a low blood sugar emergency. He would bake low-carb snacks with me just so I could have a snack and have better blood sugar control. He was there for me.

Photo credit: Carlie Widner

After my diagnosis, I joined a Facebook group for athletes with type 1 diabetes and in 2016, Dustin and I went to an event put on by the type 1 diabetes community in Austin, Texas called Bolus and Barbells where we got to meet so many of our “online friends”. We had a blast! We lifted weights, counted carbs together, injected insulin together, drank alcohol together, and had an amazing time with all our new friends.

Many of our friends were joking with Dustin about when he would propose. It’s then that I knew…Tinder was my matchmaker. I had found my husband. At the end of 2016, Dustin proposed on the mountain in his grandparent’s yard. Of course, I said yes! On August 5, 2017, we got married in the mountains at a golf course, with a double rainbow to end the night. We used the hashtag #weswipedright at our wedding. Here we are in 2021 and we now have 2 beautiful baby boys.

Photo credit: Carlie Widner

I was very skeptical of whether or not trying to find my husband on a dating app would work. They say skepticism is good because it means you’re curious. And curiosity can bring good change in your world. Well, I’m glad I was skeptical of Tinder because that curiosity brought me to my husband. Now I’m really living my dream of being a wife and a mom.

I really wasn’t sure how dating would go while living with type 1 diabetes. I was so nervous and so anxious to tell him but once I did, he showed me nothing but support. It really takes a special person to be able to deal with the highs and lows of diabetes, but thanks to Tinder I found someone who was the perfect match and he handled me having diabetes so smoothly and never once gave me a hard time if I had to cancel plans because I wasn’t feeling well. So instead of going out, we would stay in and enjoy each other’s company.

Photo credit: Carlie Widner

At first, when people would ask how we met, I would laugh and would say “Tinder, we swiped right,” shrugging and feeling kind of silly for using a dating app to find my husband. But after a while, I became more comfortable with it. I tell people that it’s not easy, you weed through the ones you don’t like, or hit it off with someone, and you have to put in the work, but when you do, it can be magical. I’ve learned that it’s okay to let down your guard and ask for help. Even if it means using a dating app! I’m so thankful #weswipedright.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Mommy Beeps: Parenting with Type 1 Diabetes

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By Kim Baillieul

A few years ago, I sat at a park while my then two-year-old son played on the playground. A wave of dizziness fell over me right as I felt my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) start beeping. One, two, three – three beeps, confirming the low blood sugar I suspected.

Instinctively, I reached into my purse and grabbed the juice box floating among the loose change and used test strips. Of course, my son’s innate ability to sense whenever I have a sweet treat also kicked in, and next thing I saw were his big, blue eyes fixated on my hand.

“Mommy, can I have your juice box?”

Sure, my sugar had dropped in front of my son before, but this was the first time I had no distraction for him – no alternative snack, no books to read. Most importantly, it was the first time he asked me to share. I shook my head and told him no, but he persisted.

“Mommy, pretty please, can I have your juice box?”

My mind went blank.

How do you explain to a toddler that your juice box is literally keeping you alive?

What I Was Told

For years – even when I was still a child myself – I was cautioned about pregnancy. At 16 years old, my endocrinologist painted daunting pictures of a hypothetical future high-risk pregnancy: weekly doctor’s visits, insanely tight control, constant monitoring. A massive list of things that could go wrong. All of this became my reality over a decade later when I became pregnant with my son.

My high-risk pregnancy with him had overall, gone well, partially thanks to the hard work I put in to maintain a 5.1% average A1C, and partially thanks to luck. I was prepared for the extra scans. I was prepared for the drastic insulin changes. I was prepared for the constant vigilance. I was prepared for what could go wrong.

However, nothing prepared me for how to explain my type 1 diabetes (T1D) to my child. Or why suddenly, at this moment, I couldn’t share a simple juice box. Frankly, I was so dizzy, I couldn’t even get up off the bench.

“I’m sorry sweetheart, I can’t share. This juice box is mommy’s medicine.”

Later, after my sugars were stable, I thought about how to talk to my child about my chronic illness and the scope of what he needed to know. I wanted to achieve a balance – somewhere between knowing enough to be empowered but not so much that he’d become anxious; enough for him to understand what I was doing, but not enough for him to feel responsible for it himself.

All my life I had worked to overcome and ‘beat’ my diabetes, to not let it stop me, you know, upholding the usual mantras of strength. However, as I pondered how to talk to my kids about my type 1, I had to set that all aside. Pride had no place here.

The conversation remained informal, but honest.

Understand that mama’s body doesn’t work the way most other people’s do… I’m not sick, but it can make me feel sick sometimes… This is my insulin pump… This lancet is sharp, please don’t ever touch it.

He had a lot of questions.

Yes, Mommy beeps!… No, you won’t get it when I cough… Yes, even if I forget to cover my mouth… Yes, I can eat most anything as long as I’m careful… Yes, even ketchup… Yes, even ice cream… Yes, even ketchup ice cream – wait, that’s gross!

We both erupted in giggles.

A Universal Struggle

One of the beautiful things about the type 1 community is knowing you’re not alone. As I reflected on this intentional conversation, one of the first ‘growing up’ discussions I had with my son, I realized I’m not likely alone in facing this. Turns out, I wasn’t – the parents with type 1 community was peppered with struggling T1D parents facing the same hurdle. When I looked for resources, I didn’t find anything quite suitable for a type 1 parent.

Throughout my son’s toddlerhood, I captured my efforts in a children’s book I wrote called “Mommy Beeps: A book for children who love a type 1 diabetic.” It was a passion project of mine to provide a resource that didn’t otherwise exist, and hopefully help another family lessen the mental gymnastics of explaining type 1 diabetes to a child who doesn’t have it themselves. Every page is personal – down to the angry T1D on the phone dealing with a denied insurance claim. Because that is reality. Diabetes isn’t just about the finger pricks and injections – the medical and insurance logistics can be just as heavy. Extra doctor’s appointments, tracking of supplies, prescription refills – it all took time away from playing with blocks, giggling on the floor, or reading “Goodnight Moon” for the third time on a given evening.

As for my son, he took to my carefully crafted conversation well – and all of the impromptu ones that followed. Once, after a particularly harrowing high sugar, we planned a library visit to check out some books about the body, so he could find the “piece of Mama that doesn’t work.” We never made it to that page, though, because he was too fascinated by more amusing parts of the body (the toilet humor sure does start young).

A few years later, I braved the high-risk pregnancy world again and came out with a second little boy. The first time my type 1 diabetes interrupted our playing with trains, I talked to him, too. He shrugged it off and kept the train on its way to the station.

Later that night, he leaned into me. Pointing to my stomach, he exclaimed, “Mama’s Dexcom! I kiss it.” Clearly, something stuck in our conversation earlier that day. And I will take any win I can get.

They won’t know any other way, this will be their normal. And really, that’s a beautiful thing, because the T1D community is now just a little bigger.

Find out more about “Mommy Beeps” here.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

A 10 Year Old’s Advice on How to Beat Boredom During COVID-19

Written by Danielle Caggia

With my children home indefinitely, I thought an appropriate project for my very bored 10-year-old daughter was to come up with a list for kids, by a kid, on how to not stayed bored during this challenging time. I hope you and your children enjoy Danielle’s tips on how to stay entertained. Stay safe, everyone!

The Coronavirus has forced all of our schools, stores, gyms, and restaurants to close down. While we will keep busy with distance learning, we kids need some ideas on how to pass the time, too. If you are a kid like me and looking for things to do, here are my top 10 ways to avoid boredom while being stuck at home.

Provided by Jillian Rippolone

1. Get Crafty

I love to draw and create things. There are so many ideas online and you can even get creative with the things in your home like cotton balls and paper plates! (Allison’s tip: if your child with diabetes wears a continuous glucose monitor or an Omnipod, you can be creative and decorate them! Check out my favorite from my friend, Jillian Rippolone, T1dChick.)

2. Watch Movies

Let a family member pick a new movie each night. It will allow you and your family to be together and appreciate each other’s favorite movies, too. So far, my brother and I have agreed on all of our choices! (Allison’s tip: there are so many movies that portray diabetes inaccurately. Get a laugh with your family watching movies from this list. And be thankful for technology and the progress we’ve made as a community!)

3. Start a Journal

With everything going on in the world, this is a great time to put down your thoughts and feelings. Hopefully, when this is all over, you can look back and reflect. (Allison’s tip: This is not a bad time to let children with diabetes take some ownership over their diabetes management if they show interest. Jotting down what they’ve eaten, the carb count, and the insulin dose taken may be a great exercise to empower them in the future! This may also be a great exercise for us adults living with diabetes and can also help our mental state.)

Provided by Allison Caggia

4. Connect with Others

I miss my friends! Thanks to phones and social media, I can stay connected and we can make each other smile! (Allison adds: We really all need each other to lean on during this time. No matter where you stand on screen time, make sure to take advantage and stay connected to your loved ones like grandparents and your friends who are alone.) (Allison’s tip: This is a great time for children with diabetes to get a penpal! Beyond Type 1 has an amazing Snail Mail Program that will help your children to form friendships and not feel so alone.)

Provided by Allison Caggia

5. Bake

My mom loves making healthy foods. I am going to help her come up with some tasty desserts that will last us a while. Check out some ideas here! (Allison’s tip: This is a great time to experiment with some low-carb options of your favorite desserts, visit Caroline’s Keto Kitchen for some delicious ideas.)

Provided by Allison Caggia

6. Get Some Fresh Air

With the warmer weather coming, we should all take advantage of the not so cold temperatures. Getting outside can also help stop the spread of germs. And it can also help us clear our minds. (Allison’s tip: Someone posted in my neighborhood Facebook group about having the children participate in a “rainbow hunt.” We all asked our children to draw a rainbow and place it somewhere noticeable outdoors, on your door or a window, etc. Then take a nice walk with your family and see how many you can find!)

Provided by Allison Caggia

7. Have a Picnic in the Car

My mom and I love being out and about! Two of our favorite things to do are going out to lunch and shopping. We decided to have a lunch date in the car and it was nice to get out of the house for a while. (Allison’s tip: Always be prepared. I wound up going very low because the food we ordered for curbside was taking longer than expected. Luckily, I had a Gatorade in my glove compartment. I was glad I was prepared and that my low didn’t ruin our mommy-daughter time!)

Provided by Allison Caggia. This was taken way before social distancing was even a thing.

8. Do Something Good for the Community

There is so much sadness in the world right now. Figure out a way your family can safely help. My mom and I always ask our elderly neighbors if they need anything when we go to the grocery store. And our project for this upcoming weekend is to look through this list and pick a way to give back! (Allison’s tip: Check-in on your local diabuddies to make sure everyone has insulin and supplies. I taught my daughter and her friends a valuable lesson this winter, when we delivered insulin to a diabuddy in need.)

Provided by Allison Caggia

9. Pamper Yourself

I love face masks! And lotions! Use this time to take bubble baths, try new hairstyles and maybe even offer a family member a free manicure! (Allison’s tip: Our skin is often put through the wringer with harsh adhesives and constant pricks and injections. Rotate your sites and let your skin breathe!)

Provided by Allison Caggia

10. Get Active

It’s important to not just sit around and be lazy. We must take the time to exercise our brains and our bodies! If you have a mom who is a CrossFit fanatic like mine, you may find yourself doing “wods” (workout of the day). She sometimes schedules workouts, and my friends join in from their homes, it’s a lot of fun! This is my friend, and our moms are doing an awesome workout called Deck of Death! Find a way to be active; you won’t be sorry! (Allison’s tip: Check out our latest article COVID-19: Apps to Stay Active at Home).

This is a really strange time for all of us. I am trying my best to stay upbeat and happy. Because I know I do have a lot to be thankful for. I can’t wait to see my friends and do all the things I love again! I hope you all stay safe, healthy and entertained!

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Diabetes Love Letter: An Ode to Mandi’s Late Parents

By Mandi Franklin

To my late parents:

It was the winter of 1990 and I was spending the week at my aunt and uncle’s house while my parents were chasing sunsets in the Caribbean. I loved sleepovers at their house – we would play “grocery store,” paint my fingernails, and stay up late.

This time was different…

“She’s drinking so much water. She can’t seem to quench her thirst,” my aunt said to my mother when she called to check on me.

I was so thirsty that I would climb on top of the bathroom sink and gulp water from the faucet like a parched cat. My aunt and uncle knew something was wrong.

Photo credit: Mandi Franklin

My parents caught the next flight home and I was rushed to Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

This is when the perfect world we once knew changed for me and my family.

“She has juvenile diabetes and we need to give her insulin,” explained the ER physician to my parents. Imagine hearing that your little, previously healthy 3-year-old now has a permanent disease that will need to be managed with multiple fingersticks and numerous injections daily.

Confused. Angry. Sad. Guilty. Numb. These are things that I am sure my parents felt at this moment.

Over the next few days, we learned how to cope with my new life with the help of the medical team, nurses, dietitians, child life specialists, and of course family support.

From that day on, my parents vowed to never treat me differently and promised that I would live a “normal” childhood.

Photo credit: Mandi Franklin

Looking back, I admire them for how they tackled this diagnosis and disease. I never felt like I couldn’t do something due to my illness. I was able to dance, play sports, go on vacations, and have sleepovers.

I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 29 years. There are days when I want to throw in the towel and say “OK diabetes, you win.” The other days are just like yours, except with a few extra pokes and a special ability to count carbohydrates.

My parents taught me to live my life and never let my disease get in the way. Because of this, I do what I love and continue to chase my dreams.

In conclusion, don’t ever give up.

Thank you, mom and dad, for raising me to be a strong, independent, resilient, goal-crusher who just happens to also have type 1 diabetes.

Love you always,

Mandi

More about the author on her website and Facebook Page.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Diabetes Love Letter: From Briana to Husband

By Briana Payne

Dear Aaron,

You are my husband, best friend, father to our children, and partner in crime. You were there in the instacare clinic on a Sunday morning April 24, 2016, when I got the dreaded diagnosis of diabetes. We later confirmed the following week that it was type 1 diabetes because I had the antibodies present that come with type 1. I walked into an instacare clinic confused why I was urinating so much, and found out it was sugar in my urine that was dumping out of my system, since I was dealing with undiagnosed diabetes. We thought it was a simple UTI that I could fix, and quickly found out it was a lifetime autoimmune disease.

Photo credit: Briana Payne

When I first got diagnosed, you were the one giving me my Levemir injections. Nine months into the diagnosis, I gave a continuous glucose monitor a chance. You helped me to put it on my body, especially in harder to reach places, like the back of my arm, or near my backside. You’ve always been patient with me and figuring out my diabetes with the technology, injections, cost of insulin, glucometers, diabetes appointments, etc.

Aaron, thank you for your sacrifices finding a job that will provide good insurance for me to switch to when I turn 26 in April 2020. You went out of your way to get a better insurance plan that will make your paychecks a little bit smaller, because you want to be able to afford our healthcare costs the best way.

Photo credit: Briana Payne

This disease is not pretty, nor is it cheap. I’ve dealt with some high and low blood sugars that have affected me, and you have been patient with me through it all. There are times to this day that I still feel guilty that I got this autoimmune disease six weeks after we got married. You could have left me after discovering that your new wife had a new chronic illness, but you didn’t. You have always been a very loyal and dedicated man — I cannot thank you enough. Amidst all of the struggles with costs and the daily to-dos is with this disease, I know we can continue to navigate this life together.

Happy Valentine’s, Aaron. Thanks for being my valentine.

Love,

Briana

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Type 1 Helped Create My Family

Ashley is a member of one of the Facebook support groups I am a part of. I was so amazed by her story. This one truly tells the tale of silver linings. Without diabetes, she would never have met her husband or created their beautiful family.  *** As a young child in rural Iowa, I never […]
Source: diabetesdaily.com

Shot Through the Heart: Dear Derek, Love Liz

Standing by your “sweet” one is what this month is all about! Our next “Shot through the heart” love letter just goes to show you that life can be that much sweeter when you’ve got an amazing person by your side.    To my love,   You mean so much to me. Let me tell you […]
Source: diabetesdaily.com

Shot Through the Heart: To Jack, Love Mom

A mother’s love runs deep, and our next “Shot through the heart” love letter shows that a child’s love for their parents, can run just as, or even deeper.   Dear Jack,   Not many 11-year-old young men have parents that both have type 1 diabetes. Your understanding of our disease and the nuances that […]
Source: diabetesdaily.com

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