Connections: Rachel Marie Thomas
“The glass may be half empty to you, but to me it’s always full.” – Rachel Thomas
I met Rachel Marie Thomas when filming the TV show with Roberta Chadis. After the shoot as she had information about my work, she told me about her Type 1 diabetes and how she does similar work in her area. We got to meet up a few weeks later.
Rachel is smart, professional, personable and fun. She is amazingly optimistic and cheerful. She is young! (Well, to me anyway.) It is heartening to meet a recent high school graduate who is poised, energetic and committed to helping others.
She wants to help children with diabetes. She wants to help their parents. She wants to educate the public about what it means and what it doesn’t mean to live with diabetes.
Toward that end, she is on social media sites; Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. She has a TV show, Diabetic Girls Studio Sessions, and is launching a series titled, “Behind the Battle”. She has worked for years at a summer camp for children with diabetes and she is thinking about starting a support group.
She wants families of diabetic children to know a diagnosis is not the end of the world, having support is critical, and this is just a speed bump – you can get through this.
She wants the general public to know the differences between the two types of diabetes, to learn about the condition, and to offer support as appropriate.
When Rachel talks about her journey, she gives major snaps to her mother and younger sister. Rachel’s mother is a champion as she gracefully handled Rachel’s diagnosis at the age of 21 months, gave insulin shots, and did testing multiple times a day to a toddler. She also works at the summer camp and is dedicated to helping families with diabetic children.
Rachel is very grateful for the insulin pump she has had since she was 9 years old as it makes insulin delivery much easier.
Her social media sites are sprinkled with quirky references to the ‘betes and filled with jokes, making light of a serious condition.
“Don’t worry. Diabetes only complicates days ending in Y”
“I will have you know I had pizza tonight and was only high for 6 hours afterward.”
“Laughter is the best medicine…well, unless you are a diabetic, then insulin is probably better.”
To help Rachel spread information about diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes (formerly known as juvenile diabetes)
According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes.
- 30 million people in America have diabetes and only 5% or 1.5M have type 1 diabetes
- The body does not produce insulin, a hormone that converts sugar & starches into energy
- People with Type 1 diabetes do not eat too much sugar and ‘catch’ diabetes
- It is not contagious
- Insulin therapy and managing the condition leads to a long healthy life
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has genetic links, however, diet and lifestyle also plan an important role.
- 95% of people with diabetes in America or 28.5M have type 2 diabetes
- Every 17 seconds, someone in America is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
- Problem is greater in minority population:
- African Americans 2X more likely to develop type 2 diabetes
- 1 out of 6 American Indians/Alaska Natives has diabetes
- 1 out of 12 Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Highlanders has diabetes
Symptoms of Diabetes
The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
Diabetes is a condition that can be managed with insulin, healthy eating habits and exercise. It is also a serious condition that must be taken seriously and monitored constantly.
According to Rachel, a significant part of any treatment program, should be support and good friends.
You can follow Rachel: