We ask featured guests to describe their connection to diabetes and the diagnosis experience, what’s working for them/not working for them, what they want people to know about diabetes, and what their message to the world is. With that in mind, we’re thrilled to introduce Ashley. Enjoy!
Ashley’s story – How to go from burnout to helping people
My name is Ashley Conlow and I am currently 20 years old. I was diagnosed at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when I was two-years-old on September 11, 2000. My mom thought it was strange that I was so skinny even though they fed me what the doctor recommended. She would have to change my diaper every half hour and I would never stop crying for water.
When she took me to the doctor’s they told her to take me up to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as fast as possible. Upon arriving at the hospital I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
I am currently using a Medtronic 630G insulin pump and a Guardian sensor, both of which have helped me achieve a great A1c. Two years ago I finally ended a five-year burnout and was able to get my diabetes back on track thanks to everyone in the diabetes community and the mySugr app. The mySugr app allowed me to keep track of my blood sugars and projected what my A1c was going to be which helped motivate me.
Beyond Type 1 is also a huge supporter because I felt like I was a “horrible diabetic” for ignoring my blood sugars and my health but it turns out thousands of people with diabetes go through burnout every year and I was not alone.
Managing school and diabetes…
One frustrating thing about diabetes is trying to manage my college work and diabetes at the same time. There are times where I have to write a fifteen-page paper and I am so engrossed in what I am doing that I forget to calibrate my sensor or bolus for a snack I just ate.
Then there are times where I cannot concentrate during a lecture in class because my blood sugar is high or I can feel my blood sugar dropping. I have gotten better at multitasking with college work and diabetes over time since I am now a junior in college but it can still be difficult.
I believe that it is important for people to understand the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and understand that diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar. I still hear diabetes jokes at work, school, and restaurants and I have become less offended by them – but it would still be nice not to hear them.
I also wish that type 1 diabetes was taught about in schools more not only to children but to faculty members as well because growing up, no one in my school understood what diabetes was and how to deal with it.
What I am currently working on…
I am currently working on my degree in Social Work to help children with medical disabilities and conditions, especially children with type 1 diabetes. My main goal is to educate people about diabetes starting with schools and jobs because there is a lot of discrimination and bullying against people with diabetes in the education system and in the workplace and I want to change this in the future.
Written by: Ashley Conlow @type1.ashley
Edited by Sophie Brodsky Blake: @diabetus422