Wednesday Warrior: Perri Fine Bullock

I’m pumped to announce this week’s Wednesday Warrior: Perri Fine Bullock

Perri and I got connected from a mutual friend (thank you, Chels!). We’ve never met in person, but I’ve enjoyed getting to know her through online messaging and hearing her story. I wanted her story to be shared because I believe others could benefit greatly from her past experiences and outlook on her diabetes.

Perri was diagnosed during a time where diabetes management wasn’t heavily understood. She managed her diabetes by only taking 2 shots a day and when carb counting wasn’t a way of controlling blood sugars. She was also told not to eat sugar… oh, have times have changed! She is currently on the T-slim pump but is about to switch over to the Medtronic 670G.

Perri has had a wide variety of ups and downs in her journey with diabetes, but she still sees herself as Diabetic Proud. She continues to fight each day and mentions she wouldn’t be herself without diabetes. She has a great sense of humor and a beautiful soul! I truly enjoyed this Wednesday Warrior’s story and I highly recommend the read!  

Also, Perri’s dia-versary is coming up soon on November 17th, so I would like to cheers to a soon-to-be 26 years of living a beautiful life with diabetes!

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Here is her story:

I was diagnosed on November 17, 1992

I’ve been living with diabetes for almost 26 years.

I currently live in Knoxville, TN.

I am a Realtor with Keller Williams.

  1. What type of diabetes do you have?

I have Type I Diabetes.

  1. How was your life before your diagnosis?

Since I was diagnosed at the age of 2, life didn’t change much for me. I don’t actually remember any of it. The changes fell on my mom and dad.

When I was first diagnosed my mom did not take it well. My dad had to remind her that it could always be worse. My Mom spent a lot of time making me sugar-free treats and goodies so that I never felt left out. This was also before cool things, such as Dexcom existed, so my parents would wake up in the middle of the night to prick my finger.

Forever grateful for all they did for me and still do for me!

  1. How has your management changed from when you were diagnosed to now?

At the time I was diagnosed, there wasn’t a carb counting process and everything was based off not eating sugar (makes me laugh now but probably why some people are so confused!)

  1. Did you try to hide your diabetes?

I never tried to hide my diabetes. I went to an all girl’s school for middle school and high school. We had a uniform and I had mine altered with holes through the pockets when I decided to get a pump in 7th grade.

The tube would go through the hole in the pocket and I clipped my pump proudly to my belt!

  1. Do you do anything else to manage your diabetes more effectively, such as exercise, diet, or other medications?

I did shots for 11 years before deciding to get a pump. Something about being constantly attached to something really freaked me out. I started out with 2 shots a day in the early 90’s and over time it began to increase. Once I built up enough scar tissue and was doing a ridiculous number of injections a day, the pump didn’t seem so bad anymore! I started with a Medtronic Paradigm and traded to the T-Slim about 5ish years ago.

I just ordered the 670G this week and cannot wait to test out this closed loop system!!

I exercise and I do have a gym membership, but I can’t say I am consistent with it. Life gets busy and sadly exercise seems to get pushed to the side (I need to work on that)!

I also just had my second knee surgery on September 7th, so I am somewhat limited to what I can do at this time. I also suffer from hypothyroidism and take medication for that. Some days I am so exhausted and all I can do is get out of bed…. but I continue to fight!

I also don’t limit myself when eating. If I want something, I’ll have it. I just try to not get out of control and remember portion sizes.

  1. What are the hardest parts of being diabetic?

The hardest part of being diabetic is that it is EXHAUSTING. It is a full-time job.

People who live without a chronic illness think that their lives (job, kids, family, errands, etc.) are exhausting. We live those same lives with an extra full-time job on top of that. Sometimes when I am ready to go to bed and I feel my pump vibrate, I just want to ignore it and pass out. However, I know if I don’t change it out, fill it up, charge it, etc., I will be feeling bad within a couple hours and waking up to deal with it on top of feeling like death.

It’s exhausting and sometimes I just want to ignore it and pretend I don’t have to deal with it…. but I do and that’s just part of it.

  1. Where do you get your support from?

My husband and family are a great support, but my main support has come from a place I hold very dear to my heart: Tennessee Camp for Diabetic Children (TCDC).

I started my first year there in 1998 as a camper and went every year for as long as I could. It is now too much to take off two weeks in the summer, but I miss it every day. I met so many diabetics and realized I am not alone in the fight. I have many diabetic friends and I am still in touch with a lot of them. Social media makes that easier than it used to be.

Honestly, without the camp, I don’t know where I would be with my fight with diabetes. To know I am not alone and that there are people that understand how I feel sometimes, how demanding this illness is, etc., makes me want to continue fighting the best battle I can.

Also, I receive support from my 3-legged Yorkie, Remy! She’s been with me since 2009 and has been by my side through the good and bad days!

  1. Do you have any stories you would like to share about diabetes?

I actually dated a Type I diabetic for many years. I traveled over to Germany to visit him one summer when he was doing an internship. While exploring Amsterdam, it began to rain, and my pump stopped working.

Thankfully he had a pump and we shared while waiting for a replacement to get to me. It was not an easy process and we both didn’t speak German so we ended up on a wild goose chase to track down the delivery truck that had it.

  1. Are you diabetic proud? Why or why not?

I am definitely diabetic proud! As much as I hate it, I also want to show others that it is something that can be managed, you just have to be strong.

I pray for a cure every day, but I can honestly say I am not sure who I would be without Type I diabetes. I feel like it is a part of me and it’s all I have ever known.

  1. What is a piece of advice for someone who was just diagnosed?

My advice for someone who has just been diagnosed would be to get in a system for eating, checking blood sugars and giving insulin. It will make the transition easier and keep them on top of everything, so they can be more in control of their diabetes.

  1. What would you like someone who doesn’t have diabetes to know about your diabetes?

I wish people without diabetes could just feel like I do sometimes for one day. That obviously can’t happen, but I feel we are misunderstood sometimes. From mood swings, nausea, exhaustion, I feel people just don’t understand.

Since they can’t feel it, I would just want them to understand that I don’t want to be moody or snappy and I don’t mean to take it out on them sometimes. I would probably tell them to think about how terrible they feel whenever they get sick occasionally and tell them that is how I feel every time I have a bad blood sugar. I would also probably tell them I have Type I and the management is very different. Sadly, people don’t understand that there are two types!

 

If you would like to personally connect with Perri, please don’t hesitate to reach out! She would love to connect. 

You’re not in this war alone. We’re fighting this TOGETHER.