Cheryl Alkon is the author of Balancing Pregnancy With Pre-Existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby (Demos, 2010) and created the blog Managing the Sweetness Within to chronicle her efforts to get and stay pregnant while living with type 1 diabetes. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband David, son Ethan, and daughter Hannah. For more things Cheryl, see www.CherylAlkon.com
How old were you when you were diagnosed with diabetes and how long have you lived with diabetes? I was seven in 1977 and as of August 8, I will have lived with type 1 for 34 years.
What do you feel has been your biggest challenge living with diabetes as a woman? Pregnancy, and keeping tight blood sugar control before conceiving.
Do you know any other women with diabetes? Yes–I have a group of type 1 women my age I met in a support group more than a decade ago when I lived in New York and I became very close with them–we went to each other’s weddings, and still stay in touch despite being all over the country now. I also know assorted women my age through college, through my current social network of friends, and of course, through blogging and from interviewing for my book (though those are almost all virtual friendships).
What has been the greatest piece of advice you’ve received about living with diabetes? Blood sugar numbers are just pieces of information: test, correct if you need to, and move on. (I.e., don’t get yourself upset about the numbers, just do what you need to do and get back to living your life).
Do you live: in spite of or because of diabetes? I live a full life full of passion for my family, friends, writing, reading, food, great conversation, bright colors, and so much more. Type 1 diabetes happens to be just one facet of that life. I’m not spiteful of it; I just do what I need to do to keep it under control as I pursue all the other things I love.