The Making of ‘The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes’
Last week, I shared Part 1 of my conversation with diabetes blogger Sysy Morales as she opened up around the details of how she and her sister were each diagnosed with type 1 diabetes within a year’s time. In Part 2 of my discussion with Sysy, she shares the motivation behind why she started blogging at TheGirlsGuidetoDiabetes.com, some great stories about where her inspiration comes from, her passion for helping others and her future plans.
Q: Why did you start The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes?
A: Right after I got married, I was told that I wouldn’t be able to have children. My initial response was “Nooo!” To my surprise, though, 2 weeks after I was told that I wouldn’t be able to have kids, I got pregnant.
When I found out, I was pretty scared. You’d think a few weeks later when the doctor informed me that I was having twins, that I would be even more frightened; but, because I was having twins and I was a few months along already, I figured my body could do this. When my doctor told me that everything was fine, I just knew I could do it.
Once the children were born and I came home from the hospital, I had this big realization that my kids were healthy. At that time, I decided that I had to start the blog. I wanted people to know that it could be done. I had type 1 diabetes, yet I was able to create two healthy kids. I wanted to create a place where I could tell other people “You can do this!”
Q: With twins, wasn’t it tough trying to take care of your family and maintain a blog?
A: Yes. We were really busy and I wasn’t getting much sleep, but I had made the decision that I was doing the blog and I was going to do it. Honestly, the only time I had to write the blog was when I was pumping breast milk. My husband thought I was insane, but it felt like I was on a mission!
I was sleeping like 2 hours a night. It was crazy.
Q: In our last discussion, you mentioned that your sister, Ana, has begun to play a role in the blog. Can you explain her role?
A: Ana’s a really good writer and has won awards in creative writing and poetry and I told her “you really have to use that talent because you have a different perspective.” I thought her unique point of view would add a lot of value to the blog.
Right now, however, her energy is really going into painting. So, one day I asked if I could use her artwork as an image within a post. She agreed and the response to her work has been amazing. So many more people read if I include her artwork and a lot of people comment on the images.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working with her?
A: When we were growing up, all of my siblings daydreamed about having a restaurant together or working together in some way, so it’s fun working with my sister and showing her art to the world through the blog. Even after growing up together, I felt like I didn’t really know her until I started to read her writings and view her artwork.
Q: You mentioned in one of your posts that your blog has become a personal mission. What do you hope to do next?
A: Currently, I am a certified health coach and I want to focus on helping people with diabetes. I feel strongly about this because I went through years of very high A1Cs. During this time, I got to a point where I was clinically obese. I was in a really bad pattern of eating junk food as a response to feelings of guilt and hopelessness. I stopped exercising and everything got harder to manage.
Then, I decided to make a change. I wrote down a list of things that I wanted to change in my life. I took one step at a time and I focused on improving my diet for several months. Then, I shifted and focused on exercising and walking. I just kept going and I got back on track.
What I want to do is help other people. I don’t want to tell them what to eat, I want to listen to them and help them accomplish what they want to do. I think everyone desires to be healthy.
Because I’ve been through this, I want to help them start their journey and be successful.
Q: What’s the next step in your plan?
A: I have started to take on clients. I work with many of them over the phone. Because most people are so busy, they appreciate being able to chat on the phone instead of having to drive somewhere. As our children get older, I plan on growing my business.
For now, I’m starting small and just taking the natural route that life and the kids allow. My husband and I plan on homeschooling our kids and our dream is that he’ll be able to stay at home with them while I work from home. I don’t know if that’s how it will work out, but it’s something to shoot for. The fact that he’s behind that plan gives me the motivation to work hard right now.
I can honestly say that having had the opportunity to spend time with Sysy was an experience I will not soon forget. As I shared in my comment on the blog post she publishedshortly after we met, Sysy is an inspiration; she has the wisdom to cultivate change; and, her activism is to be applauded. I sincerely hope that her motivation and drive to help people living with and impacted by diabetes inspires others out there to use their passion and creativity to also help others. I’m proud to call Sysy a friend and look forward to seeing her accomplish her goals and dreams!
Disclosure: Sysy Morales received no compensation for this post. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewee, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.