ME?! RUNNING 7 MILES?!? Here is why...
Joslin Diabetes Center has been my diabetic "home" for over 15 years. This hospital has been helping me through all stages of my life while dealing with this disease emotionally, physically and mentally every single day.
My goal is to raise a $5,000 donation to the Joslin Diabetes Research Center for the Falmouth Road Race!! With your help in sharing my story and message, you are helping me and nearly 3 million other Type One Diabetics push towards a cure. Your donation will be going in its entirety to Joslin Diabetes Center to help fund ongoing Type One Diabetes research. Joslin has been an invaluable resource and treatment center to me throughout my time with diabetes, and they continually make huge strides while undertaking groundbreaking diabetes research. No amount is too little; though even if you can't donate at this time, please do not hesitate to share my page on Facebook and social media and spread awareness about the ongoing fight against Type One Diabetes. 'One' doesn't mean you are alone.
MY ‘SHORT’ STORY
My name is Heather Mara and at the age of 30, I have spent half of my life with Type One Diabetes (T1D). I along with nearly three million other Americans and millions more worldwide, battle every day with this disease, and will continue to do so because currently there is NO CURE. Many people who know me may know I have T1D, but don't really know the ins and outs of the depth of the disease and what I struggle with on a day to day basis. I have a 'fake it till I make it' attitude which keeps me positive and strong and have learned to not let bad short moments of my diabetic days effect my entire day.
My journey as a Type One could be a book within itself from my pre diagnoses of extreme weight loss *I lost 20lbs and became a 90lb 5'5" girl, also had extreme blurred vision, fainting spells, serve muscle cramps which left me in crying pain and leading to even throwing up blood*, to the rebellious teenage days of not taking care of myself, having to cope with my younger brother and his 3x AAL cancer diagnoses and relapses to unfortunate passing of cancer in 2016, to trying to figure out how I can still be "normal" in a college atmosphere, managing my type one while playing D3 college soccer, then living alone in my Boston apartment where I once again hit a "burn out" phase with my diabetes leading me into DKA and the hospital for 14 days to eventually doctors telling me I will not live much longer if I don't change my outlook on my diabetes.
I would not see the effects of my journey till my late twenties when trying to become pregnant. T1Ds statistically have a higher risk of developing PCOS, in addition to the already commonality of having a miscarriage and being a diabetic can highten these risks. Unfortunately, I had 2 miscarriages and our second rainbow baby was just shy of 12 weeks. This emotional, metal and physical stress took a literal toll on my body and effected my diabetes. I became extremely insulin resistant and gained 20 additional pounds, developed severe blurred vision and pain in my eyes. This is a high risk factor of being a T1D. I had developed Diabetic Retinopathy. Which if not treated can lead to blindness. Now I face once a month for three months injection shots in both eyes and once every 16 weeks for the next two years. *Don't worry there's a happy ending to my journey...keep reading :)
Back in 2016, the day my doctor at Joslin said "You will not live much longer if you don't change your outlook on your diabetes and have a different management system", is when things changed forever. The doctors and team members at Joslin switched me from injections to an Omni Pod Pump, which gives me insulin for 3 days, and a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) which reads my blood sugar every 5 minutes and links to an app on my phone. This technology can indicate high or low blood sugars BEFORE they happen! Pretty cool! My A1C drastically changed within months and for the first time I was the one in control of my diabetes. They checked in on my mental health each appointment and making sure I was staying on track, after all this disease does not sleep, literally.
Fast forward to 2020, after my 2 miscarriages, my husband and I kept positive and pushing forward in hopes of still being able to have a son or daughter to grow our family. Being a woman who is a diabetic and trying to get pregnant involves months of preparation for the safety of yourself and your unborn baby. Sense I had taken these precautions before I already knew what was in my future. This included being in tight control, carb counting, insulin doses, carb to insulin ratios in praying hope that trying for the third time would be our luck. I called Joslin to meet with their pregnancy team and doctors. I told my doctor I was ready once again to take get myself prepared for being pregnant. She tested my A1C and it was 6.5! An amazing great start however, not good enough. I needed to be in a non diabetic rage ideally. *5.5-6* (do woman have higher A1Cs and get pregnant and have successful deliveries, yes of course. I just did not want to have any "what if's" god forbid another miscarriage happened again.) It was game on. My doctor told me to get to a 6.0 A1C and then it would be 'safer' to start trying. In just ONE MONTH I was able to adjust my numbers, be on point with my nutrition, working out and trainings she was shocked and happily amazed with my efforts. Diabetes was in my control and I was feeling great to continue my pregnancy journey.
On my 29th birthday I saw a red cardinal at my bedroom window. *Red cardinals are especially symbolic in my family. They show the spirit of an angel is around you, my younger brother Nicholas came to say 'Happy Birthday' to me, or so I thought. I drove to get my morning coffee and saw another fly in front of me. For some reason I had a feeling it was not JUST a birthday hello from him in heaven. I drove to CVS and got a pregnancy test...andddd we were pregnant!!
Honestly, my doctor at Joslin was the 3rd person to find out! That shows you how amazing the team and support is at Joslin truly is. My doctor was very happy for me and continued to be my best support in navigating pregnancy with my questions and blood sugars. I was extremely blessed in having the most amazing, easy pregnancy considering I am a high risk patient, being a type one diabetic. My doctor was there for me every month for check ups, A1C checks, changing my doses during each trimester, and helping me through my insulin resistant stages.
This is why I’m “Team Joslin’: I contribute my successful pregnancy to my doctor and team members at Joslin Diabetes Center. By joining this team to run for in honor of Joslin is a small thank you to them for staying with me during all my highs and lows in blood sugars and in life. By donating/sharing and helping me reach my goal goes to furthering research of a cure for diabetics and keeps these amazing resources available till there is a cure. Setting a goal of running for Team Joslin is for myself. I’m a type one diabetic, a new mom, a creative career inspired person who has also gained 75lb fluffy pounds in carrying our baby. This goal of being able to run 7 miles scares me but they say if your goals don’t scare you then you aren’t setting your goals high enough! SO HERE I GO!!
Andddddd for those of you wondering…our literal angel baby was born on 2/1/21. Our healthy baby boy, Jackson Nicholas Mara born at 3:05am 8lbs 3oz 20 inches long. He is the most happy, entertaining baby and I can’t wait to smoosh his happy face at the finish line!!
Thank you to all who have been apart of my diabetic journey or who may be new here!
Go Team Joslin!
Donate to help Heather raise money for The 2021 ASICS Falmouth Road Race’s fundraising campaign.
|Donation date||Donor name||Donation amount|
|Jun 11||Body Ambition Fitness||$109.85|
|Jun 11||Chris and Vanessa||$55.35|
|Jun 11||James Lapolla||$109.85|
|Jun 11||The McGrath family||$55.35|
|Jun 11||Mrs Silver||$55.35|
|Jun 11||Anonymous||Undisclosed amount|
|Jun 11||Tricia Hines||Undisclosed amount|
|Jun 11||Dad and mom||$109.85|