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The “Art” of Diabetes

Living with diabetes isn’t just about numbers, calculations and dosage titrations.  There is a persona and a story behind every reading.  Karen Callan decided to apply her photography skills to express her thoughts & feelings about life with the “Big D”.  She was gracious enough to share her images with us (we’ll run a few in each monthly edition of Diabetes Bites).  If you like what you see, please visit karencallanstudios.com and let her know!

Callan photo - A year's worth of John's spent insulin pump infusion sets

John amidst a year’s worth of his insulin pump infusion sets

Type 1 x 2

By Karen Callan

No prevention, no cure. Those were among the first comments I heard when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 51, a relatively late age for such a diagnosis. But the “good” news, I was told, was that with around-the-clock vigilance, drastic changes to my diet, and several prescriptions, my diabetes could be managed, and I would most likely be able to live a normal life.

For me, however, the treatment plan wasn’t news. I had lived the diabetes life secondhand through my husband John’s experience living with Type 1 diabetes.

His battle began when he was 13, and has resulted in several diabetes-related complications, the most daunting being kidney damage, necessitating a kidney transplant 20 years ago.

Callan photo - A half-day's dose of medicine John takes to keep his transplanted kidney healthy

A half-day’s dose of medicine John takes to keep his transplanted kidney healthy

As spouses with Type 1 diabetes, we are somewhat an anomaly, even to our doctors who are amazed a married couple would both be living with an autoimmune disease that strikes a very small percentage of the United States population.

Although I had witnessed John’s 24/7 regimen of trying to control the disease, I wasn’t prepared for the life-altering routine I was about to begin and the array of prescriptions, medical supplies and expenses that came with it. I soon felt compelled to chronicle our shared challenge through photography. In 2012, with the aid of a grant from The Puffin Foundation, I initiated the project by packing away all of the diabetes supplies we used that year, along with our medical receipts, and even product packaging. Images of these items along with shots of the two of us managing our diabetes daily form the basis of this exhibit.

Callan photo - John's spent insulin pump infusion sets

A year’s worth of John’s spent insulin pump infusion sets

If you have diabetes, make time for DSME and discover these benefits for yourself.

We here at Integrated Diabetes Services can meet your individual needs. Our diabetes educators focus on a variety of specialties. Some of these include education for newly diagnosed, type 1 and pregnancy, optimizing use of devices, weight loss for insulin users, as well as insulin management for athletes.  

For more information or to get involved in DSME, call 877-735-3648 (in N America) or +1 (610) 642-6055 (outside N America).

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