Amanda “Mandi” Carlton is a pediatric nurse practitioner and single mom. She spends her days taking care of sick kids and when she gets home from work, she takes care of her two young boys. She works long hours and is always on the go. There’s nothing about her appearance or actions that would suggest she isn't healthy or strong.
But Carlton has Type 1 diabetes, and has managed it since elementary school.
She's one of many: According to the American Diabetes Association
, 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year
. Chances are you know someone who has diabetes. Someone like Carlton.
Z Living spoke with Carlton about how she manages her diabetes:
Also on Z Living: 10 Little-Known Diabetes Facts You Must Know About
How did you manage your diabetes as a child?
Please share your diagnosis story.
"I was in second grade, and we had one of those big standardized tests and I fell asleep during it. I was dancing 4 days a week, so my mom chalked up my weight loss and thirst to that, but this was a final straw. My mom worked at the elementary school, and was explaining to the school nurse she didn't know what to do. The school nurse tested my blood sugar using another child's monitor, and found that I was over 400 mg/dL. [Editor's note: That's extremely high: a normal fasting blood sugar level is between 70 and 99 mg/dL; a normal blood sugar level two hours after eating is less than 140 mg/dL.] We drove to the ER at the local children's hospital and spent a week learning about my new life as a diabetic."
"There were good days and bad days. Basically, I was raised to know I was left-handed, I had brown hair, I had diabetes. It was as important, but didn't stop me from doing anything I wanted to do."
How do you manage it daily?
"I test 4 times a day, I have a sensor I wear sometimes, I use my pump and try to do my job same as everyone else."
Did you try to hide your diabetes from others?
"Sometimes, as a high schooler or in college. Not now."
Also on Z Living: The Top Ways Diabetics Can Keep A1C Levels Low
Has having diabetes held you back from anything in life?
"Yes, only because there used to be the pre-existing condition clause on health insurance. So, I had to pick a career with health insurance tied to it."
What is the hardest part of being diabetic?
"I get low when I'm stressed. Trying to take care of stressful situations and also manage my blood sugar is trying."
What advice would you give to someone recently diagnosed with diabetes?
"Ask questions, find people with experience, do your research. Become an expert on you
, so you can take care of yourself the best you can."
WATCH on Z Living: Change The Day You Die
, where each week, one lucky person will get the chance to rewrite their future and start living a much healthier life. See a sneak peek here.