Joslin Diabetes Center 50-Year Medalist
Sandy Asherman has done many things during the 50 years since she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She has gotten married, had several careers, traveled extensively and learned that she can do anything she puts her mind to. Most importantly, she has learned that diabetes is an important part of her, one to be treated with respect and understanding.
Sandys dLife began at age 13, while living in a small town. Friends and neighbors asked questions and seemed to offer condolences, and Sandy became terrified of her condition. She was told that diabetes had killed her grandmother and at least one person in town.
Guidance from the family doctor helped Sandy become more relaxed and positive about diabetes. He instructed her to learn everything about diabetes and her body in fact, he said she should know more than he did. He recommended Joslin Clinic in Boston for diabetes treatment and education. Sandy doesnt know how her parents managed to send her there for visits over the next five years, and sporadically thereafter, but they did.
A patient of Founder Elliott P. Joslin, Sandy remembers walking down the hallway with his arm around her shoulder while he told her how to approach diabetes. She learned about carb counting and remembers her first meal plan 65 grams of protein, 150 of carbohydrate and 45 of fat. She also learned that insulin, food and exercise equally impacted her blood glucose and that the goal was to have normal blood sugars without dieting.
A decade later, living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and attending graduate school at Columbia University, she discovered that when she walked to school she could eat an ice cream cone every day! Exercise became very important to Sandy. Today, her usual regimen consists of three aerobic workouts and two to three Pilates sessions per week.
She began with urine testing and has become what her husband calls a bionic woman insulin pump with remote control, glucose monitor the works. Technology has greatly improved her diabetes control, and holds even greater promise for the future.
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