I’m PUMPED to announce this week’s Wednesday Warrior is: Taylor Playforth
Tay and I have been good friends for some time now. Our paths first crossed in the nurse’s office during our daily lunch injection. We were among the few who would leave class early to get a dose of insulin before lunch, so we instantly became Diabetes Buddies and friends.
Taylor has an adventurous soul that cannot be tamed by diabetes. She has traveled to numerous countries around the world and is currently living in Oahu, Hawaii. She is a full-time student studying marine biology, a wife, a momma-to-be, and a complete Dia-Warrior.
She has been fighting her war for 18 years and she doesn’t let Diabetes stop her from living her life to the fullest. I look up to her in so many ways and I’m honored to share her story for my first Wednesday Warrior post.
Here is her story.
I was diagnosed on February 9, 2000.
I’ve been living with diabetes for 18 years.
I’m living in Oahu, Hawaii.
My current occupation is a full-time student studying Marine Biology.
What type of diabetes do you have?
How was your life before your diagnosis?
I was only six years old before being diagnosed so it is hard to even remember a time where diabetes has not been a huge part of my life. However, I was a very active child who loved the outdoors.
What were your first thoughts when you were diagnosed?
It becomes such a surreal moment when you hear the words. Losing my father to complications from diabetes two years prior to my diagnosis I was very aware of what diabetes could lead to and how it changes your life.
What changes did you have to make after your diagnosis?
After being diagnosed I spent about a week in the hospital learning how to give myself insulin shots, test my blood sugar, and learning to carb count. Being so young, the biggest adjustment was that I couldn’t just grab a snack with my friends without first checking my blood sugar and taking insulin. Also, being so active I had to learn what activity could do to my blood sugars and learn to check my blood sugar before and after things like going swimming or playing a sport as well as learning to sense when my blood sugar was dropping and if I needed to stop an activity.
Did you try to hide your diabetes?
I got really lucky with my support system when I was diagnosed so the initial telling people and changes seemed easier than when I hit the teen years. My family moved around when I was younger and when I hit seventh grade they made a huge move where I really struggled to make friends and constantly had questions every time I pulled out my meter to test my blood sugar and take my shot that I would often skip blood sugar testing and go to the bathroom to take my shot to avoid these questions and feeling like I was weird.
Do you do anything else to manage your diabetes more effectively, such as exercise, diet, or other medications?
I use the t-slim pump and the Dexcom g6 continuous blood glucose monitor to help with my management and I can’t say how much I love these products enough! I have just been put on the Dexcom in the last two months and it has truly changed how I manage my diabetes and helps tremendously with being proactive with high and low blood sugars by giving alerts if your blood sugar is increasing or decreasing and how fast as well as displaying a number every five minutes.
What are the hardest parts of being diabetic?
My husband and I are currently expecting our first little one and when finding out I was immediately filled with fear instead of excitement and then made the mistake of googling diabetes and pregnancy. (Do NOT make this mistake!) I was told I would have to see a high-risk doctor throughout, have to be induced, and that my entire first trimester I would be an even higher risk for miscarriage. It felt awful to be hearing this amazing blessing and then having to hide it from so many and not allow myself or husband to get excited until we made it to at least 12 weeks. Even now that we are 19 weeks I am constantly terrified over every high and low in fear of what it could do to the baby.
With that being said I am NOT discouraging diabetics who want to get pregnant! My last A1C was 5.2 which my doctor informed me was even better than his and the baby is completely healthy! I tell my story with this because I can’t stress enough how important having a great team for your pregnancy is and seeing a high-risk doctor throughout simply because they specialize with diabetes and help make changes with your bolus, carb ratios and diet throughout and help you have a completely normal, safe pregnancy.
Where do you get your support from?
My family, especially my mom has been my biggest fighters since day one. My mom dedicated so much of her life once I was diagnosed with educating herself and learning all the new technology that came out to help with management. She is truly the reason I was able to get through my teen years and be able to say I am healthy with no complications today.
When I started dating my now husband he was always asking questions about my diabetes and trying to learn about it and how he could and what he should do in certain situations. He has been such a huge help in this pregnancy from staying up with me in the middle of the night when I’m low and bringing me juice or Gatorade as well as helping me check my blood sugar and get through any illnesses throughout this pregnancy. He is truly my best friend and living so far from our families for the past 2 years would not be near the wonderful adventure it has been if not for him.
Are you diabetic proud? Why or why not?
I am 100% diabetic proud!
My diabetes has connected me to some really awesome people and organizations through the years such as JDRF and people like Brooke. I spent some time when I was younger as an ambassador and got to speak out on awareness, be in commercials for upcoming walks, sing the national anthem at places like Keeneland and the Great American Ballpark which I would have never had the courage to do without this organization’s support. They helped from a young age with my confidence with not just my diabetes but with myself as a whole.
What is a piece of advice for someone who was just diagnosed?
Never look at your diabetes as “an end”, a “curse”, or a “disease”. While diabetes does affect your body and life after being diagnosed it was a chance for me to take control of my body and really get in touch with how I feel and what my body is telling me it needs. I think through the years it has helped from many illnesses escalating to a hospitalization by making me more aware of any small changes and be proactive with what course of action to take next.
What would you like someone who doesn’t have diabetes to know about your diabetes?
Not all diabetes is the same! It can be frustrating when people think there is only one type and try to compare my type to someone with type 2 and tell me what I can and can’t do or eat. While different for every person, most type 1 diabetics can have the occasional sweet and take insulin based on the carbs they eat whereas type 2 occurs later in life typically and is usually health related and does affect people’s diet a little more.
If you would like to personally connect with Taylor, please don’t hesitate to reach out! She would love to connect.
You’re not in this war alone. We’re fighting this TOGETHER.