Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Diabetes Queen Video Blog

Even though my year as the Northern Illinois Youth Ambassador is over, I want to keep promoting Diabetes Awareness and Education. I have created a video blog called Diabetes Queen which I will update weekly. Make sure to check it out every week on Youtube. Each week I will pick a diabetes-related topic. The first link is my introduction about the purpose of the vlog (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grQvHTou8OY) and the second is a discussion about the different types of diabetes (including the "new" type 1.5 diabetes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzt1pwEyarc. Please let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover by emailing me at janovsk2@illinois.edu. Thank you for your support.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Farewell

This is my last blog post as your 2014 Northern Illinois Youth Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association. This year has been filled with memories that I will always keep in my heart. I have learned so much about myself this year through this experience and I wish that it did not have to end. Special thanks to Sue and Mallory for honoring me with this position and supporting me throughout the year. Thank you to my friends and family for encouraging me with everything I do. My favorite part about this experience was being able to share my story at many of the ADA events and at the summer camps. I will never forget all of the amazing people I have met this year . Promoting diabetes education and research is my passion and I will not stop being an advocate. I will continue being an active volunteer for the American Diabetes Association. My goal is to one day become Miss Illinois and then Miss America in order to promote my platform of Diabetes Awareness and Education. To those of you who have been dedicated readers to my blog, thank you for listening to me. I hope everyone has a blessed 2015.

Here are some highlights from my year:

Super Hero for a day at Camp Crossroads

Father of the Year award ceremony

Meeting NASCAR driver, Ryan Reed

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Season's Eatings

The Holidays are coming, which means a lot of food is coming our way. It is not always easy balancing blood sugar levels with the holidays but I have figured out a few ways to prevent high blood sugars while I am eating a lot of delicious food.

1.) Control your portion sizes
It is okay to eat Christmas cookies, as long as you make sure to eat a decent-sized portion. When I was younger, I would over eat when it came to desserts. I remember going to Christmas parties and trying at least one of each dessert, which lead to a long night of high blood sugar levels. Today, I set my limit at two cookies. I recommend setting a specific portion size before you start eating.

2.) Always make sure to include as many food groups as possible
Christmas dinners are always lovely. My family has a buffet style Christmas dinner which makes it hard to control my eating. To prevent high blood sugars, I make sure to choose some options that are not carbohydrate-heavy and eat different food groups. For example, I may eat mashed potatoes and a dinner roll, but I make sure to have a source of protein by eating chicken and vegetables by eating green beans. That way, I am not eating all carbohydrates.

3.) If possible, choose sugar-free
I know that these days there are many sugar-free dessert options. If possible, try to make a sugar-free dessert that everyone will enjoy.

4.) Drink water
I heard that the day of a big meal, you should drink two glasses of water when you wake up. By being hydrated, you will feel full and not want to pig out later.

I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing holiday.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

What I am Thankful For

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was so happy to see my family after being away at college for several months. I am thankful for many things this year. To start, I am very thankful for the support of my family. They have been by my side from the moment I was diagnosed to now where I am confident in my diabetes management. I am also thankful for my friends. At first, it was difficult explaining to them what diabetes is and what help I may need from them but now they respect my diabetes management and are always willing to give me help when needed. Also, I am thankful for the advancement of diabetes technology. I am happy to announce that in a few months, I will be using the MiniMed 530G with Enlite. I am so excited to be wearing this new pump because of a new important feature, Thresh Suspend. By wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor with the pump, the pump will suspect when my blood sugar level is dropping and will automatically suspend. Most importantly, I am thankful for all of the opportunities I had this year. I am thankful to be your 2014 Northern Illinois Youth Ambassador and for this wonderful year of being involved with a variety of ADA events.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Last week, I was in Louisville, Kentucky for an internship with the North American International Livestock Exposition. Everyday from 7:30 until 6:30, I was working in the Press Room conducting interviews, writing press releases, and pitching my stories to editors of newspapers. I am so grateful for this experience. I learned how to write with deeper thoughts and interesting facts about livestock. The most important lessons were not learned in the press room, but in everyday situations. We were in control of finding our own meals. As a young woman with type 1 diabetes, I needed to find meals that were healthy. Everyday, I would eat a greek yogurt from the hotel's cafe and then eat a bowl of Cheerios at the press room. We had the chance to go grocery shopping at the beginning of the week so I was able to buy healthy microwavable meals such as soup and Lean Cuisines along with snacks. These meals agreed with my blood sugar levels. After a long day in the press room, the other interns and I would go out for a nice meal. This is where I would run into problems. Eating out took a toll on my blood sugars. During the night, my blood sugars would run high. To solve this problem, I made sure to order healthier meals such as salads. By the end of the week, I learned how to write to my best ability along with how to take care of myself when adapting to a new schedule. Plus, I found out that if your hotel room does not have a refrigerator, you can call the front desk and they will let diabetics rent a refrigerator for free.

One of the perks of having this internship was attending the rodeo.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Search of the Next Northern Illinois Youth Ambassador

As my year of being the Northern Illinois Youth Ambassador is coming to an end, I am filled with sadness. This has been one of the best experiences I have had so far. But, it brings me with great joy to welcome a new Youth Ambassador. Will it be you? If you are between the ages of 10 and 17 and have participated in local ADA events (such as the Step Out walks, Tour de Cure, one of the ADA diabetes camps, ADA Expo), I encourage you to apply. To inform you about what types of events you will be attending, please take a look at my year:

The Dash to Cure Diabetes Second City fundraiser
ADA Volunteer Recognition Reception
Father of the Year Nominee Reception
Band Aid fundraiser
Illinois Diabetes Policy Coalition's trip to Springfield
Tour de Cure
Father of the Year Awards
Camp Discovery
Camp Confidence
Camp Crossroads
Drive to Stop Diabetes at Chicagoland Speedway

Listed below are the unique opportunities I have experienced this year:

Raised money for the ADA through my high school's 2014 Prom Fashion Show
Wrote for my own blog
Spoke in front of audiences across Illinois
Conducted Parent Talks at the ADA summer camps
Interacted with the cute campers of the ADA summer camps
Met my State Representatives
Wrote a blog post for the ADA's National blog
Interviewed Miss Idaho and had an article published in Diabetes Forecast
Met NASCAR driver Ryan Reed

As you can see, I had a great year. You can have this incredible experience too so please apply. Applying is pretty easy, fill out the application by December 31st along with submitting two reference forms. These forms are found in the ADA Family ENews October 2014.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Facing Those Who May Not Understand You

I want to cover a serious topic that everyone can relate to. As a college student, I have been faced with many challenges so far such as homework, midterms, finding time for friends, trying to eat healthy and exercising. The biggest issue I have faced so far was staying true to myself. I have recently joined a sorority which I really like. I decided to go to my first college party, just to see what it is like. I get to the party and right away someone from my sorority offers me a drink. I said, "no thank you" and tried to carry on the conversation. The girl looked a tad angry and asked me if I drink. I responded that I do not drink because 1) that isn't me 2) I am afraid how it will affect my diabetes. The girl did not understand and continued to pressure me. I finally was able to change the subject. Through this experience, I learned that it is more than okay to be myself. Even if others do not understand me or agree with me, it is important to be me at all times.

This lesson can definitely relate to having diabetes. Many people with diabetes are afraid to tell others that they have it. They may be afraid that people will ask questions or that they may not understand. In fact, the character Elsa from Disney's Frozen is inspired by the executive director's diabetic son Sam. In the movie, Elsa learns to not be afraid to be herself. When she learns to let go, she feels free and liberated. This same feeling is related to diabetes. Even though at first it is scary to be open about having diabetes, it feels good to tell others. Even though diabetes does not determine my identity, it is still apart of me. Do not be afraid to be yourself!