When I started this blog in 2007 I actually had no intention of sharing so much of my Diabetes story. After all, the blog is titled 'Nerdy April's SPACE Adventures' not 'Nerdy April's DIABETES Adventures'. But, as I began to record my thoughts and adventures it became clear that I couldn't tell the full story without including Diabetes.
As my adventures progressed from college to career, I started seeking out other Diabetes bloggers that had pushed through the same boundaries I was facing. I quickly learned that the population of Type 1 Diabetics is relatively small, and the sub-population that wants to obtain a medical clearance from the FAA or get certified in the altitude chamber or helicopter dunker or NASA mission control is even smaller. Sure there are many amazing blogs and T1's who have physically pushed themselves to complete a marathon or triathlon and these are significant feats, but I'm talking about paperwork barriers here - bureaucracy, rules laid out by 'Federal' agencies or military doctors. Even though the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) was there to lend support I felt very alone, blazing this new trail. I decided to publish my struggles through these endeavors in the hopes that it would give others the strength to pursue whatever goals they have, without worrying too much about Diabetes. But even if Diabetes is a factor, at least they will have someone to talk to!
I'm beyond thrilled that my bloggy dream has already turned into a bloggy reality. A T1 I met via this blog is a spacesuit engineer at NASA and has recently been through water survival training, Navy ship doctors and is a volunteer fire fighter! I'm 100% confident that he would have done all of these things on his own, but it's so nice to share our experiences with one another - it's just the 'down in the trenches' sort of pep talk a T1 needs every once in a while.
And beyond these awesome experiences, I am always thrilled to give Parents of T1's the news that this disease is not a roadblock to their child's dream pursuit. Diabetes is simply a challenge. In my experience pushing through the challenge of Diabetes just makes the reward that much sweeter (pun intended), and valuable skills and qualities are learned along the way.
I'm still working on getting NASA to let me be an astronaut, so far they haven't budged to much on that one ;-) In the meantime I can't wait to hear about all of the new barriers T1's are breaking!