Hello World. My name is Mindy Bartleson (not short for anything- but named after the show “Mork and Mindy”!), and I’m 24. I have been telling Type 1 Diabetes who’s boss for over 16 years now, but I also like to say thriving. I’m also thriving with PCOS, endometriosis, thyroid issues, ADHD, Anxiety, and OCD. Check out my hashtag #SmallTowntoBoston! Find me on Twitter and Instagram @mindy_bartleson, and find me on Facebook.
Disclaimer- I do not have any kind of medical degree (science and math are not my thing). My views are also my own and do not reflect where I work or any groups I am involved in. This is not medical or psycho-social advice. Please consult your doctor. Everyone also has different stories. experiences, and views. Please respect those- including mine. -thanks!
Welcome to my journey of discovery and navigating my life as I grow from my past and focus on me. As I learn about life and my place in it. With Diabetes and Mental Health along for the ride.
I was diagnosed when I was 7 years old in the time of NPH (not the actor) and Regular. Sadly, like many my diagnosis took a long time, and I was misdiagnosed (with everything else). Luckily I wanted glasses, and the eye doctor noticed something in my eyes (uhoh, but all good now). The doctors still didn’t take my parents seriously
with that information, but they were persistent (I get it from somewhere). My blood sugar was checked and in the 500’s, but no ketones. I’m terrified of needles so my first insulin shot was an adventure for everyone. I went on the pump when I was 9 and quickly exclaimed “I have my life back.” (One of the youngest to go on it in my clinic at the time). I gave the gluco-watch a try a few years later, but that was a disaster.
I grew up in a small town so I faced a lot of bumps along the way- first and for a long time only student with T1D (I was the reason we got a nurse); didn’t know about 504 plans; bullying and teasing from lack of awareness and education; teachers, parents, and admin who didn’t always get it; and general healthcare was an adventure to put it nicely. My family and I immediately found the Diabetes Community so I wouldn’t feel alone, and at a young age I started advocating, educating, and raising awareness whenever I could. After my dad passed away, a lot of things changed in my life including finances and health insurance so I have a huge appreciation for access to resources and how people get treated when they utilize resources and don’t fit in society’s boxes. (I would like to note- I do not like pity).
My method of insulin delivery is the t-slim pump and lantus (aka Pumper on Long Acting insulin). I have been involved with JDRF and Camp Kudzu since I was diagnosed, and when I arrived to college I got involved in Dawgs for Diabetes and in turn the College Diabetes Network. I have tried to maintain healthy management of my Diabetes since I was diagnosed because there’s a whole wide world out there, and I don’t want to miss any of it! BUT I firmly believe that A1C is just data. I also use a CGM, and I have a love hate relationship with it that mostly stems from my journey with mental health. I have been recently diagnosed with ADHD and generalized anxiety, but I was diagnosed with OCD long before any of that. My ADHD, Anxiety, and OCD all interact with each other as well as my Diabetes (and lactose-intolerance, Asthma, Allergies, and other things that add to my basket of fun). My anxiety is very centralized on always looking at the big picture (mostly with to do lists), Socializing, health- blood sugar above target, and other fun things.
I have found good things in Diabetes. It gave me camp, my favorite place on earth. It gave me another family. It gave me understanding – you can’t just learn that. It also gave me my dreams. I want to focus on advocacy and empowerment for children, teens, and young adults with life challenges, chronic illnesses/disabilities, and mental health.
I graduated college in May of 2015 and immediately moved to Boston to work at the College Diabetes Network. I received my degree in Social Work with a minor in Sociology, and up until August of 2014 I was on the Pre-Law track. My alma mater is the University of Georgia, and my fondest memories and what I miss the most are Dawgs for Diabetes, a chapter of the College Diabetes Network. Even though I put law school on hold (or not happening at all), I feel very lucky to already be following my passions while working at the College Diabetes Network in Boston!
In college I participated in the Speaker’s Bureau through the disability resource center at UGA- I was able to educate and motivate others concerning Diabetes and living and thriving with Diabetes. I used to be a CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate. I’m involved with Camp Twin Lakes; Camp for a Cause, Camp Kudzu, Camp to Belong (1 year), and Camp Twitch Shout (1 year). Dawgs for Diabetes means the world to me as well as our program The Campus Tour: a Diabetes Perspective. I was recognized as a UGA Amazing Student, Outstanding Senior Leader, and received other awards and scholarships. I was involved wit
h the Division of Student Affairs Student Advisory Board. I studied abroad in Paris during the summer of 2013. Those are just my “highlights” of involvement that I stuck with for several years. But I enjoyed so much more. (In high school I was very active in Theatre, Band, and Beta Club.)
I currently live in Boston and work at the College Diabetes Network as their Program Assistant. I experienced my first real winter in 2015/2016 in New England after moving here because I was a born and raised Georgia Peach. I thought that managing Diabetes would be A LOT easier after graduation (more concrete schedules, no late night studying, no more college eating, etc). But it turns out the real world has its own set of lessons. Right now, I do enjoy the real world more than college (I only miss my involvement in Dawgs for Diabetes and have realized that extended schools breaks were nice too.) I’m already a huge fan of the New England lifestyle; public transportation YAY (no more car!), the fast paced nature, etc. I’m loving the healthcare up here and my new health insurance.
Welcome to a small snapshot of my life. Please check out “I don’t like being placed in a box, including my blog” for posts/features I’m involved in elsewhere. I hope you enjoy. I hope you laugh with me. I hope to educate you. I hope to connect with you. -Mindy Jean
Hey you! Yes, you!
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