7500 Views in 48 Hours

Signing a copy of my book for a parent of a teenage girl living with diabetes.

Signing a copy of my book for a parent of a teenage girl living with diabetes.

For the last two years I’ve been blogging for another diabetes website. I decided to stop with that because it had started to not become as fun for me anymore. I wanted to get back to purely writing for myself on my little WordPress site. Unrestricted. Not influenced by what content or messaging they had on their homepage. I feel most centered when I’m speaking about my diabetes journey. I realize not one d-journey is the same…but I hope to be a voice to those who need one.

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The Video that got 7,500 hits in 48 hours

I was playing around with a new Facebook video feature last week and posted a year-old video that I had filmed by a guy friend of mine who I met through Bible study last January. Imagine my shock when I went back on my FB two days later to see the video had almost 7,500 views! The video is something that I’m really proud of and I wanted you all to know why filming that video helped me break aways chains to bring me freedom again….

Him and I worked on a concept and he suggested that I bring in my figure skating background to weave into the story. That didn’t sound like a good idea to me. Since beginning treatment (for bulimia), I had not laced up my skates. During my tough years of struggling with an eating disorder, it made me feel not good enough. The old things that I loved to do were not fun for me anymore. I hadn’t played a note on the piano since leaving the pageant scene in 2010 and hadn’t laced up skating boots since 2007.

I didn’t even have my pair of skates at my apartment in Minneapolis. He told me he wanted to show another aspect of my life, other then just living with diabetes. I bought a $25 pair of figure skates off of Craigslist and brought them to get sharpened the morning of the filming. He told me he had picked out a small pond that he thought would remind me of the days when I learned to figure skate in my parent’s backyard.

My book got published last January by River Place Press.

My book got published last January by River Place Press.

I had to get to the point that day that my history of being sick with an eating disorder did not have to dictate my destiny. If living with diabetes for 16 years has taught me anything…it’s that you may have tough days and fall, but the next day is a new one and you must find strength in the Lord and pick yourself back up.

Skating around that pond last February reminded me of my love of the sport. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t whip off jumps and spins anymore. What mattered was that I laced those boots up after years of fearing of not being good enough on that ice.

Publishing my book last January about my journey living with diabetes has fueled my desire to want to continue to speak out about my personal story. Tomorrow I head to Washington, D.C. to speak to over 100 Novo Nordisk employees about being an effective diabetes advocate and on Wednesday we will march the Hill. Send prayers my way!

Please take a moment to watch the video and let me know of a time where you overcame a fear….

To learn more about the work I do for diabetes, or to see if I’m speaking in a town near you, check out my website….www.QuinnNystrom.com

Next week’s blog post –  JD will write on what it was like for him to shoot a video and learn more about diabetes from another angle. 

Simply Raw – Reversing Diabetes in 30 days

I have lived with type-1 diabetes for over 13 years. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed. I’ve watched my younger brother Will for 15 years go through trials and tribulations with diabetes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve met people and they’ve poured their diabetes story out to me. There is one main thing in common with all those people and their loved ones…we would do anything to have a cure for diabetes. Point blank.

When someone recently sent me a link to a site telling me that someone has found a cure for diabetes I knew right away that’s impossible. It’s impossible because there is no cure for diabetes (type-1 or type-2). Why? Because a cure means, “a means of healing or restoring to health”. Over the years people will come up to me and send me information on promises of a cure for the disease. I’m sick of places capitalizing on the diabetes epidemic. It gets people’s hopes up when they hear about something like this, when it’s not the truth. Please stop. Please stop your “creative leniency” on advertising materials.

Here is the link so that you can see for yourself the claim that I’m talking about…

http://www.rawfor30days.com/themovie.html

I think the VERY SMALL PRINT at the bottom of the page says it all, “The program featured in the film at the Tree of Life Rejuvination Center is most effective with diabetes type 2 but is also very effective at increasing quality of life and reducing insulin levels for diabetes type 1.” Decreasing insulin CANNOT be termed a cure.

So they’re telling us stuff that we already know…

  • some type-2 diabetics can reduce medication and/or get off completely if they have the disease because of obesity
  • some people are so ignorant about diabetes that they think they can use terminology like “reverse diabetes” when we all know that if you have type-2 and you no longer have to use medication (for whatever reason) you still have it, you’re just not taking medication
  • finally, for their type-1 comments…we know the less sugar you eat, the less insulin you would need to take. You’re not telling us anything new…other then making yourselves look uneducated.

And to think that they have over 18,000 likes on their Facebook page for “reversing diabetes” makes me sad. Switch your banner headline to “a solution to help you treat your diabetes better” and then we can talk about me clicking that button.

To all of you who are even clicking “LIKE” on these people’s page is tough for me to swallow. In the preview of the movie on their website they immediately discredit the American Diabetes Association’s statement on how there is no cure for diabetes. As a volunteer for the ADA I’m sickened that people would question their statements. The work they do to unite people so we can actually find a “real cure” and to fund programs to help with your quality of life have personally saved me.

SIMPLY RAW: You don’t think I would pay $29.95 for a cure for this deadly, chronic illness that I’ve lived with for 4,805 days of my life? You don’t think I would pay $29.95 to take away the pain that my brother has had to go through to just be able to  be healthy enough to play in a high school varsity game? You want to make this claim to the world (with some small print at the bottom) and confuse more people about diabetes?

Quantity Product Price Total Remove
Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days
$29.95 $29.95
Coupon code (optional):
Subtotal: $29.95
Total: $29.95

Yes, if I ate raw foods every day I would decrease some of my insulin doses. If a type-2 were to do this, they may be able to get off their medication. But NEITHER of us are cured. Please stop your misleading headlines.

I hope that the diabetes community bands together to not support companies who make these claims, but we stand together to educate people properly on diabetes.

To learn more information about the different types of diabetes click here.

If you would like to learn about ways that you can get involved in the diabetes community please feel free to reach out to me and I would be happy to match you up with an opportunity. 

diabetes -> a family affair

This week’s blog features an article that my Mom wrote last year for the Lakes Country Jounal on what life is like with having two children with type-1 diabetes.

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It just up and quit. No reason, no warning, no explanation. Will’s pancreas stopped producing insulin. One day our five-year-old son was sliding down the snowy hill behind our house and the next he was in the hospital learning how to live the rest of his life with diabetes, an incurable disease.

Life as we knew it was over. The first time I put a hypodermic needle into Will’s sweet soft arm, I sobbed my heart out. I cried for Will and for our family and for a future that seemed beyond bleak. And then we kept going because the only options were life or death.

I asked our doctor if we should be concerned about our two older children. With no family history of diabetes, he told me we would be on the cover of the New England Journal of Medicine if we had another child with diabetes. Three years later, our thirteen-year old daughter, Quinn, was diagnosed with diabetes.

The good news was that we knew how to live with diabetes. The bad news was we knew how to live with diabetes. I cried out to God convinced that I had flunked His first test, requiring a retake at Quinn’s expense. He came down close in those dark days, reassuring us of His love and faithfulness.

Life rolled along in a new normal way. Insulin shots and blood sugar checks four times a day were wedged among school, church, friends, skating and sleepovers. Will and Quinn managed their own insulin doses. Thor, our oldest child, was the odd man out – the only kid who didn’t have to take an insulin shot before meals.

We got involved with the American Diabetes Association and put together a team for the annual Walk for Diabetes. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of our families and friends. When Will was diagnosed with diabetes, Quinn pledged to work the rest of her life to help find a cure. Now as a bonafide diabetic, she redoubled her efforts, pulling the rest of us along in her considerable wake.

Will and Quinn joined other young diabetics across the country in Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress for increased funding. They began to believe they could make a difference.

On the third anniversary of being diagnosed with diabetes, sixteen-year-old Quinn was named the National Youth Advocate for the American Diabetes Association. She traveled across the country speaking at conventions, advocating for increased funding to find a cure for diabetes and improved care for those living with the disease. She was invited to the White House and became a regular visitor on Capitol Hill. The best part of her year was visiting diabetes camps where she talked to kids about living with diabetes.

Quinn and Will found heroes. Will met Gold Olympian Gary Hall, Jr., the fastest swimmer on earth and a diabetic. Quinn became friends with Nicole Johnson, the only Miss AMerica with a chronic disease, diabetes. Our kids also became heroes. Quinn developed relationships with younger girls in our community with diabetes, cheering them on and challenging them to make the most of their lives. Will was a counselor at a diabetes camp. He helped boys understand that diabetes only limits life if they let it. He urged them to take control of their disease by managing their insulin shots and blood sugars. He showed them how to have crazy fun despite diabetes.

Will went off to college, packing his bike, laptop, sports memorabilia, and a large box of needles, insulin, and blood-testing supplies. I calculated how fast I could get to Texas in an emergency. “Don’t worry,” he repeated. “Diabetes isn’t that big of a deal.”

I had to agree. Diabetes is a footnote in our family, not a headline. It has brought us close as a family. Our faith deeper and our understanding of God clearer. Our children learned compassion. They know how it feels to struggle and they’re willing to reach out to others. They don’t give up easily. They’ve learned that the harder road isn’t impossible, it’s just harder. And in the scheme of things, diabetes really isn’t that big of a deal.

You want me to go to Camp NEEDLEPOINT?

I had only had diabetes for two months when my parents forced the idea on me to go to diabetes camp. My Mom, who I considered a strict parent, approached me to talk about going. Though she was broaching a topic, as my father always says, “What Mama wants, Mama gets.” I remember her going on and on about how she thought this was going to help me better cope with having diabetes. I told her I wasn’t interested in listening to her ideas. Besides, I had two beach parties planned that last week of August that I cared more about then going to a place that she told me was called Camp Needlepoint. Camp Needlepoint? Though I love my mother dearly, I thought she had lost her mind. The last place that I wanted to spend a week of my summer vacation was at a place where I wore a Camp Needlepoint t-shirt and had to sit in long educational sessions about what diabetes is, how I should be treated, and the serious complications that I would get if I didn’t listen.

My Mom was the Mom that would constantly remind my brothers and I that her job wasn’t to be our friend, but to be our mother. She trumped my opinion on camp and brought my Aunt Roxane for reinforcement. They packed my bags as we departed Baxter, MN for the long 4-hour drive to Hudson, WI where they dropped me off for my week at camp. I had never even met another person living with diabetes, except for my little brother. I didn’t want to be the sick kid or the kid that everyone threw sympathy votes at. I made my Mom promise me that she would pick me up at the earliest time possible on the last day of camp. I sulked off to my bunk bed in the platform tent and just cried. This was not the life that I had thought for myself.

A young girl, around my age, walked into the tent and crawled up on my bed.

Nicole & I

“Hi, my name is Nicole and I’m from Babbitt, MN. Where are you from?”

I choked up my tears and said, “the Brainerd Lakes area.”

“Cool. I come to camp every year and just love it. We’re going to be the best of friends.”

Nicole seemed so normal. Her blonde, bouncy curls followed her as she went to set up her bunk. She seemed nice, pretty, and the girl at school who all the guys would want to date. But wait, she has diabetes, just like me? She seemed so happy and didn’t even ask me about my diabetes when we met. Another girl was sitting on the bottom bunk eating Starbursts. I looked again, and yes she was eating candy. I remember back to when Brittney shoved the piece of cake in my face on the day I was diagnosed and announced to my friends that I couldn’t have sugar anymore. I said to Breanna who was eating the candy, “Aren’t you going to get in trouble for eating sugar?”

Breanna looked up at me and said, “Just because you have diabetes it doesn’t mean you don’t eat candy.”

I will be forever changed by camp. There were kids as young as five and up to eighteen years old that had type-1 diabetes. For once in my young life I didn’t feel so alone. That week I didn’t learn how to live life with diabetes, but instead to live life despite having diabetes. The kids around me were going through the same daily struggles as me and they were living life to the fullest. I learned to rock climb, sail, be a better artist, and sharpen my acting skills in the Camp Finale Play. Nicole and I called each other twin sisters separated at birth. We even slept in the same bunk bed at night because we couldn’t be separated. She would tell me who her dia-

Nicole and I with our "diacrushes"

crush was at camp (guy with diabetes who we were crushing on that day) and then I would give my thoughts and then report on my own. When the last day of camp came around my Mom was there promptly at 10am. Her and Nicole’s mother had to practically pull us apart. That week Nicole taught me that I could still be me, even if I did have diabetes.

To find out more information about finding an American Diabetes Association Camp near you click here.