Hello World. My name is Mindy Bartleson (not short for anything- but named after the show “Mork and Mindy” and yes- I have seen it!), and I’m 25. I have been telling type 1 diabetes who’s boss for over 18 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! 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 chronic illness and mental health along for the ride.
Chronic Illness and Mental Health
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) when I was 7 years old in the time of NPH (not the actor) and Regular insulins. Sadly, like many my diagnosis took a long time, and I was misdiagnosed (with everything else). On March 8, 2000 I was finally diagnosed with T1D. Each year I celebrate my dia-birthday (the day I was diagnosed- or diaversary) I went on the insulin 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 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 grew up in a small town in the south so I faced a lot of bumps along the way- I was the first and for a long time only student with T1D at school (I was the reason we got a nurse); didn’t know about 504 plans until middle school; 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 (via Camp Kudzu and JDRF) 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).
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 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 was diagnosed with ADHD, generalized anxiety, and OCD (officially) at 22 (with statement saying I presented before the age of 12). My ADHD, anxiety, and OCD all interact with each other as well as everything else. 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.
At 23, I was diagnosed with PCOS (poly cystic ovary syndrome) and endometriosis (after YEARS of issues with my period). I went on birth control continuously but am still in search of a permanent solution. However, the diagnoses explained a lot of the issues I had with my period (and even a few other things!).
How I Take Care of it All
Disclaimer- Unless noted, I do not have an official agreement with any of these companies listed. I am listing what I use, but this does not mean I do or do not recommend these tools or am telling you to use them. Always talk with your doctor. Opinions and medical decisions are my own and my doctors’.
My method of management- POLI (aka Pumper on Long Acting insulin or untethered). My insulin delivery is through the Tandem t-slim pump and Tresiba. I also use a CGM, and I have a love hate relationship with it that mostly stems from my journey with mental health. I currently use the Dexcom G4. My meter usage varies, currently I utilize OneTouch.
I take adderall for the ADHD and sertraline for anxiety and OCD>
PCOS and Endometriosos
I take birth control continuously and am also enrolled in a women’s health study currently.
For allergies, I take singular and occasionally something else- primarily when I am in GA.
I take Lactaid for the lactose intolerance- well mostly for my love cheese.
I’m a born and raised GA peach with a lack of a Southern accent besides saying “y’all” (it’s gender neutral people!) I graduated college in May of 2015 and immediately moved to Boston. 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 about college are Dawgs for Diabetes, a chapter of the College Diabetes Network.
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 chronic illness 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 with 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 in college. But I enjoyed so much more. (In high school I was very active in Theatre, Band, and Beta Club.)
I currently live in Boston. 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 chronic illness and mental health 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; the Boston pride and local mentality; etc. I love Boston oh so much. I’m loving the healthcare up here and my new health insurance. I currently write for several sites and publications. I’m also on the UGA Alumni Boston Board. I take pottery classes at Feet of Clay Studio. Plus so much more.
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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