Welcome to JDRF Bay Area’s blog, One on 1, a series of interviews with people who live with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Members of our community talk about how T1D affects them, how they manage it, and what they have accomplished despite it. For this entry, we invited Garrett Jensen, leader of the JDRF Young Leadership Committee (YLC) of Silicon Valley, back to interview fellow YLC member, Brady Ruebusch. They both live with T1D.
BR: I am an active member of the YLC SV. I do not have a formal title or position, but volunteer on subcommittees as often as possible to help with YLC’s presence and role at special events or helping the JDRF parent organization. I think the YLC provides a great space for 18-35 year olds to find support and have some fun with other diabetics. A lot of diabetic programs are focused on children or adults with children who have T1D (which makes total sense). The 18-35 year old focus is just not as prevalent yet. YLC helps address this group of diabetics and provides a space for them to share their experiences on the latest technology, upcoming studies, or how they manage drinking, eating, commuting, and other relevant issues. I have been a type one diabetic for almost 30 years now and appreciate having a group like YLC where I can be with other diabetics that are in a similar place in their lives.
GJ: What blood glucose control tips do you have for living an active lifestyle?
BR: I really enjoyed reading about Sean McPherson’s experience with running in the last 1:1 because I am a very active person and enjoy comparing how exercise affects different people. Nowadays, I help coach middle school basketball, hit the gym, and play golf – though I wasn’t able to participate at Tee to Table this year. I think it’s so important for diabetics to remain active to counter the effects of diabetes and the poor circulation that occurs from high blood sugars. With spring and summer here, I think it’s important for diabetics to get outside and move. I used to play rugby and always found the sports where I had to remove my pump the most difficult to manage my diabetes (but also the most fun). One of the biggest issues I faced was overheating. Playing on a turf field in the middle of the day with a blood sugar that is rising or a little high caused me to get mild heat stroke one time. Now, I’m super cautious about body temperature, have added ice packs to my diabetic kit for exercise, and use my body temp as a gauge to determine if I’m running high. I also stick to activities where I don’t need to remove my pump, which definitely makes management easier – go figure.
GJ: T1D diagnosis is often quite similar, but also uniquely yours. Tell us about your diagnosis?
BR: I was diagnosed when I was 2 years old. I was fortunate to have parents that were able to identify something had changed with me and quickly got medical attention. I started to always be thirsty; go to the bathroom way more; had changes in appetite; and went from active and playful to nonstop crying with way less energy. Getting diagnosed early was fortunate because I have always had to consider my diabetes with activities and eating. For me, it was not a life changing event where I had to learn new habits. On the flip side, I have seen and experienced the growth in technology as well as understanding of best practices for management, which has not always been an easy or smooth road. I also sometimes take too lackadaisical of an approach with my management because I’ve experienced such ups and downs through having it for so long. Toughest part of being diagnosed so young and for so long is staying mentally sharp about my management and not falling into bad habits.
GJ: Tell us about your career with the City of Mountain View.
BR: I currently work for the City of Mountain View as a Senior Management Analyst for the Community Services Department, which is comprised of Performing Arts, Parks, Forestry, and Recreation. I manage most of the budget related items for the department as well as a lot of administrative support for the divisions. It’s a really fun and rewarding job since I get to help with funding items like water slides, youth programs, and building new parks. My very first job was with the Recreation Division at the City of Mountain View so I feel like my career has come full circle at the moment. I’ve made it a point to bring up my diabetes at a staff meeting and provide some warning signs for my coworkers to look out for in case I need medical attention. I recommend that others do the same. Though not always comfortable or easy to bring up, it’s very important that coworkers know about type one diabetes, it’s affects, and most importantly the signs of needing help.
Join the JDRF YLC Facebook page for our next happy hour: facebook.com/JDRFYLCSV/
4/18: Advocacy 101
About JDRF YLC
The Young Leadership Committee (YLC) of Silicon Valley is a group of young professionals dedicated to raising awareness and funds for JDRF to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D . We host various networking and social events that attract young professionals between 18 and 35 living in the Bay Area.