LAUREN CETRONI TAKEOVER: Lauren has lived with T1D for 19 years and over time she gathered the resources and tools she needed to thrive. And now, she wants to lead by example, be a role model and a support system for other people living with T1D. This year, her goal is to raise awareness and funds for JDRF and document her bodybuilding journey. A journey that she wanted to prove to herself and other adults living with T1D that you can achieve anything you want – the opportunities are limitless – because this disease is for warriors; for extraordinary people like you.
I was 20 years old going to school for graphic design and living on campus having the time of my life. Partying, not sleeping, eating whatever I wanted and doing what most 20 year olds do. I slowly started noticing I was thirsty all the time, I was getting sick often, my vision started blurring randomly, I was losing weight and I associated all these things to my reckless lifestyle. I was 20, the only thing I cared or thought about was where the next party was.
The next thing I knew I was boarding a plane to go to Mexico for spring break. I remember drinking pina coladas, talking about a sugar storm, and my hands and feet going numb frequently. My body was fighting so hard to keep me alive because for months I had undiagnosed T1D.
After the trip I flew home and that’s when I called my mom. “I think there is something wrong with me”. I got bloodwork and as the days passed, I was so weak I couldn’t get out of bed. The feeling was so strange. I was home alone, my parents were at work, I was sleeping until two in the afternoon and the phone rang. “Lauren we need you to come to our office right away. Your blood sugar is 500 and you have type 1 diabetes”. I had no clue what any of this meant. I called my mom hysterical and she rushed home. We went to the care station and by the time we got there I was getting sicker by the second.
I couldn’t stop shaking.
They decided to rush me to a local endocrinologist to get insulin injections immediately. The acid in my blood was so high I started to not be able to breathe. That’s when the ambulance arrived. I was hooked up to an IV, they gave me oxygen and they started taking tons of bloodwork.
We were all exhausted. My blood sugars slowly started coming down hours later and then there was a knock at the hospital door at 10pm. It was Dr. Herald the endocrinologist – she had come to the hospital. I could see the look in her eyes of concern. I wasn’t sure if she was tearing up knowing what lied ahead for my future or if her eyes were glassy from working a 15 hour day. She held my hand and we scheduled to see each other in her office first thing the next morning. She discharged me from the hospital very late that night and just like that, and just like you, everything changed.
MY STRUGGLE AND MY GOAL
I have had my own struggles with diabetes over the years but 19 years later I have collected many tools to help me thrive with this relentless disease and I decided I want to share them with others.
As a JDRF Outreach Volunteer, I’ve been paired with adults with T1D and started to see a common thread in those I mentor; many whom suffer from Diabelimia.
Diabelimia (a portmanteau of diabetes and bulimia) is an eating disorder in which people with T1D deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need or stop taking it altogether for the purpose of weight loss.
After hearing stories from my mentees, I thought to myself, what can I do to lead by example and raise funds for JDRF. I wanted to prove you can achieve your desired body image, while being a healthy diabetic. That’s when I rolled up my sleeves, called a body building prep coach, and started this life changing journey towards becoming a body builder!
THE START OF MY JOURNEY
I knew I had to be smart, so I built a solid team of professionals including medical doctors, holistic doctors, therapists and coaches. I’ve challenged myself in the sport of body building at an elite level and pushed my mind and body to unimaginable athletic levels. I’ve managed to stay healthy while giving myself proper insulin doses and being monitored under close professional care.
Limitations only exist in your imagination. I’ve faced a lot of obstacles over this last year especially with the COVID-19 pandemic; gyms closing, training in all types of weather, grocery stores running out of specific foods I needed and working through all types of injuries. I figured out how to work around some challenging obstacles and pushed through them with a positive attitude!
I started this body building journey in November 2019. Exactly one year later I was down 27% body fat. My coach took me through what a typical competitive stage prep is like. We wanted to see how my body and mind would handle the process and I succeeded.
Diabetes has shaped me into the person I am today, never taking a moment for granted, and I’m forever grateful for that. When I first got diagnosed in 2002, I never thought – as someone with T1D – I would achieve such an unthinkable goal. But I challenged myself to think differently and ask the question, “Why not you!?”. With the right attitude, dedication, and consistency anything is possible. I’ve been in this fight for the last twenty years and I’m ready to take on the next twenty with my diabetic community.
The physical and mental toll diabetes takes on a person is tremendous! We are all WARRIORS and together we can fight for a cure $1.00 at a time. Diabetes never quits and neither do we! By raising money, science and technology advancements will continue to get better. Please share this link and let’s raise money for this cause: http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/Laurensdonationpage.
And, if you are interested in learning more about my journey visit laurencentroni.com.
MY MESSAGE TO YOU
I’m sharing my story today for all of those out there who have been recently diagnosed and feel like their world flipped upside down. I too was laying in that hospital bed at 20 years old feeling my walls caving in and like I was suffocating. I know you want to be woken up from this bad dream, I know you’re trying to adjust and relearn an entire way of living. I know you’re scared for your future. I’ve been in your shoes!
You’ve climbed mountains before, and you will again. Diabetes is a constant moving target, 24/7, but every time it knocks you down you will get up.
This is a disease for warriors, extraordinary people just like you. The sun always comes out after a storm. Some of your brightest, most joyful days are ahead. I am living proof of that. When you need extra help email me firstname.lastname@example.org or dm me at @prick_this. I’d love to connect and hear your story as well, warrior!