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CWD: Inspired by Jay Hewitt - Again!

Jay Hewitt and me, Kerri.  :)

Jay Hewitt is one of those diabetes role models that makes sense to me.  He's smart, tuned in, and realistic about his health, and he doesn't pretend to be perfect.  (You guys know how I feel about the notion of diabetes perfection - doesn't exist.)  Jay and I spent some time chatting on Friday afternoon and we talked about the concept of survival with diabetes.

"I try and live my life as a non-diabetic.  I'm not going to live in denial [about diabetes].  I live in determination."  Jay told me about being diagnosed at the age of 24 while in law school (he's lived with type 1 diabetes for 18 years) and he's convinced that the stress of law school and life at the time is what triggered his diabetes diagnosis.

"Me, too!  I had a virus on my birthday that my doctors are convinced triggered my diabetes."  I said.  I told him that many of us with type 1 can remember some kind of catalyst event before the "you have diabetes" moment.  (Stress seems to play a significant role in our collective medical histories.)

We talked about the impact of being public about our diabetes management has on our drive to be healthy.  I admitted a few of my own fears to Jay.

"I'm healthy now, with no visible diabetes complications, but I worry about what will happen, and how people will perceive me, if things change in the future.  How does that motivate you?"

"It makes me work even harder.  I take that 'I'll show you' mentality when it comes to diabetes management.  Knowing that people are watching helps me to push," he offered candidly.  "It's not about guilt [when it comes to complications], but revenge." 

We talked about the impact of being diagnosed as a child and as an adult, how most of the parents at CWD were caring for their child's diabetes directly while his own parents had more of a distance between themselves and the disease.  Since Jay is a motivational speaker and speaks to groups both dealing to diabetes and otherwise, I asked him what message he wants to impress upon his audiences. 

"What is the takeaway you want for parents?" 

"I want parents to have the confidence that that their child can be anything they want to be, and the comfort that they can sleep at night."

And for the kids?

"I want them to see anything they want to be and think, 'I can be that.'"

As I sat across from Jay, straddling that line between being a "kid" and that desire to be a parent myself, I saw a guy who lives an incredible life, despite and even with diabetes.  He's healthy, determined to succeed, happily married, and the proud parent of a little girl.

And I thought to myself, "I can be that."

(Unnecessary sidenote:  Last year, I wrote about Jay Hewitt's speech at CWD, and in my blog post, I mentioned that he was handsome. 

Of course, someone that knew Jay found my post and forwarded it to him. 

And, of course, he read it.

And, of course again, I was mortified and went to edit the article but the damage was already done, so I was forced to leave it as is and suffer the embarrassment.

So this year, when he came to find me and he said, "Hi!  Nice to see you again.  I loved your post from last year," I turned all kinds of colors and tried to pretend I had grown up a smidge since then.)


Ahhh. The internet coming back to haunt you. That worries me more than my T1. ;-)

Great post. Good to have awesome inspiration out there.

It's not like you were slanderous - or even wrong. :)

Thanks for your stories from CWD. They've been striking some chords for me this week. Soon, I'll be writing a post triggered by your previous one.


I totally agree with your assessment of Jay. The first words out of my mouth were, "Man, he's cute!"

Thanks for sharing the information from CWD. It means a great deal to me as a mother of a Type 1 to have support in this journey.

I think you are both very inspirational!!

PS: Your side-note is exactly why I never put my thoughts on handsomeness of fellow D-community members online. I simply confide them to friends who will (hopefully) keep my silliness a secret. ;)

I was diagnosed as a child (I was 9), and shortly later I read Robinson Crusoe. I can be anything I want to? Not Robinson Crusoe, I wouldn't have survived 28 days without insulin, let alone 28 years. I'm studying astronomy/astrophysics. I can be anything I want? Not an astronaut. That's the ugly truth. And these things both bothered me and sometimes still do.

But apart from that I totally agree - I can be everything I want to, of course I can. (It certainly never discouraged me to study physics because I'm a girl.) :D
Also apart from this little detail - great post again!

More than anything- I want Jada to live in determination like Jay! To use this disease as a springboard to further her life, a reason to be healthy, a reason to rise to the challenges of the world around her. I captured a picture of Jada on a recent hike here in Alaska (it's on my blog- yesterday's post) that shows just who she really is and that at 4 years old, there is nothing stopping her from taking on the world! It captures the attitude that I want her to live with forever!
Great post, Kerri and so timely for me!

Kerri, we are so blessed in the diabetes community to have awesome role models who have stepped forward to let their voice be heard and make a difference. I'm reading your post today, and Jay Hewitt sounds an awful lot like YOU! "Jay Hewitt is one of those diabetes role models that makes sense to me. He's smart, tuned in, and realistic about his health, and he doesn't pretend to be perfect." :)

Ah. Not perfect, but perfectly handsome. :)

Great post, Kerri. The conference sounds like a great place to gain some much needed esteem and motivation. It's smart to be out there with your diabetes. Accountability is beneficial. I always eat better when I know people are watching me. :D

Kerri -

The first thing I thought when I saw the picture of you and Jay, was wow what a handsome man.

As the parent of a 7-year-old son living with type 1 diabetes -- he was diagnosed at 4 --- I appreciate your work. After checking Austin's BS at 2 am, sometimes I can't fall back to sleep, so I'll spend time reading your blog. You are an inspiration.

Thank you,
Jenn Dearborn
Bedford, NH

Bethanne - I know what you mean. When I know people are watching, to a certain extent, it makes me behave a bit better. :)

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