The problem with type 1 diabetes organizations (this is a rant).

Disclaimer that I have to put, even though – duh: all thoughts and opinions are my own and not that of my employer’s. 

There is no space for competition or animosity among diabetes organizations if any of us are actually truly aligned to our purpose – wiping diabetes off the map.

I have been involved with both JDRF and ADA since my type 1 diabetes diagnosis in 1997. I have done advocacy, hill visits, fundraising events and volunteered with both. When Beyond Type 1 was founded more recently, I hopped on their amazing community app, have shared their resources, and attend their events too.

I have worked for JDRF for a little over 2 years and have as much respect for this organization, ADA, and Beyond Type 1 as I always have. I STILL use each organization’s resources and go to each organization’s events. I donate to and fundraise for each.

I’ve found that almost anyone I talk to who actually has T1D knows that not only CAN these organizations coexist, but they should. Continue reading “The problem with type 1 diabetes organizations (this is a rant).”

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Doctors: How do you best help patients? Try asking questions.

In the early 2000s on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, a healthcare group was having trouble improving health outcomes for certain populations of native peoples.

The problem they were trying to solve was not unique – this population of native peoples tended to be obese, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and died young – 30s to 40s – from complications of all. The healthcare group wanted to help these native peoples fix the problem.

izTo paint the picture, you may know the remake/mash-up of “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” sung in a soothing manner by a man with a high voice playing a ukelele.

The song is by Bruddah Iz – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. He died at 38 from complications of obesity – he was 6’2″ and at one point, 757 pounds. He is of the group of native peoples the healthcare group was aiming to help. Continue reading “Doctors: How do you best help patients? Try asking questions.”

Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem.

lalaI’ve seen a lot of posts on IG from women along the lines of “other girls are just mad they don’t look like me” or whatever else. There’s a ton to unpack there, but I’ll say this:

If you feel as though your best accomplishment is your looks, you’re missing the bigger picture of who you are. I promise there are more interesting things about you. Your value is not based on your ability – perceived or actual – to make others jealous of your looks.

I think you’ll find that when you’re busy growing and developing your mind, your abilities, your character, your spirit, you start to realize there is no competition physically. It’s just not where the real work exists. That contest stops mattering.

I am with you that I love being called beautiful by a partner or a close friend – but it’s because when they say that, I know they’re saying it based on knowing the whole me. When they comment on my beauty, I know it’s for the whole package. Continue reading “Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem.”

Everybody poops.

Obviously. But some have a… less pleasant experience than others and – because it’s ‘not polite’ to talk about – they suffer through having super uncomfortable and true quality-of-life altering digestive discomfort when there are solutions!

#1: Gut Health

The gut health kit I use that tests all your gut flora to make sure you have a good probiotic balance going on is from UBiome. Using its results, I was able to look for the right probiotics I needed to support my digestion, and I’ve found I don’t react as severely to foods I have issues with when I’m supplementing correctly. The test will also show if you have gut flora that usually presents in larger issues, such as Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease, so can be a great first step if you’re trying to rule out true intestinal diseases that would need a more medically-based approach.

#2: Food Intolerances Continue reading “Everybody poops.”

I’ve been nominated for a WEGO Health award! (But I need your help)

Please help me use my voice to influence healthcare! I’ve been nominated for a WEGO Health Patient Leader Hero award, but I need endorsements from YOU. It’ll take 2 seconds, and mean an incredible amount to me. Click here, then click the “Endorse Lala Jackson” button. 

WEGO Health Awards connect the healthcare industry with top patient influencers. By endorsing me, you let healthcare companies – insurance, medical, advocacy, wellness brands, etc. – know that I’m a person whose voice is worth listening to in the health space. You know this is my jam, and I’d really appreciate your help to make these relationships happen for me.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 10, in 1997. I started meeting with local congress people through JDRF’s Promise to Remember me campaign, and traveled to DC with ADA when I was 17 to speak to lawmakers on the hill. My being a “bulldog” (ADA’s head of government relations at the time’s word, not mine lol) made it so an important bill got signed to allow kids with chronic illness to better and more safely take care of themselves in public school.  Continue reading “I’ve been nominated for a WEGO Health award! (But I need your help)”

What you focus on, grows. (aka, maybe your perspective sucks.)

Imagine what you’re doing to your brain if, for days, weeks, months, years, you are repeating the story – I am sick. This is hard. I’m tired. Everything hurts.

Imagine how much it fucks with your brain to HAVE to repeat that story to doctors in order to get them to believe your symptoms. To explain to your friends and family, over and over again, why you’re not up for doing XYZ thing.

Imagine how much, in the struggle to know your experience is valid, that this isn’t just in your head, that what you’re going through is real, you have to ground yourself in that reality.

In having to tell your sickness story over and over again just to be seen, heard, or understood, how many times have you emphasized to yourself just how sick you are? Continue reading “What you focus on, grows. (aka, maybe your perspective sucks.)”

Just saying hi

lalaLooking like it’s time to do a new hello, nice to meet you!

I’m Lala 👋🏼 I’ve lived in Brooklyn for a little over two years but I grew up bouncing between Hawaii and Seattle, went to college in Miami, and did my baby adulthood in Atlanta.

Having type 1 diabetes since I was 10 and a whole host of other autoimmune issues since my mid-20s has taught me courage, to be incredibly in tune with my body and its needs, and sent me toward a lot of really fascinating research on neuroscience as a way to understand our thought patterns, nutrition for immune health, ACTUAL self care (not just Instagram’s version of a bath and a face mask), and other awesome things to help us be well.

I pay that forward with my book Beyond Powerful, all about the superpowers we gain from a life with chronic illness, as a one-on-one personal chronic health coach for people who need a bit of extra help navigating a rough time with their health or want to reach a next level of sustainable wellness (LalaJackson.com/Coaching) and by working at @jdrfhq
Continue reading “Just saying hi”

My superpower is transparency

Speech HugVideo from my keynote below! This past weekend, I had the really wonderful opportunity to give a closing keynote at the Students with Diabetes national conference. I spoke about the superpowers we gain from the challenges we go through. I shared some stories from others and a few of my own –

– At the start, I taught hula, because that’s how I wake people up at 8:30am on a Sunday.

– At 12:34 I tell a story about how my mom taught me to use my superpower of voice.

– At 20:30, while talking about the superpower of vision, you’ll see why I think some of my superpowers are transparency and vulnerability, because I share an incredibly tough and personal story from last year.

– And at 42:02, Continue reading “My superpower is transparency”

Exercising isn’t my weight loss key.

Because I’ve lost 50 pounds so far, I get a lot of questions about my workout plan. Truthfully, I don’t have one. At all. I just go with what sounds fun at the time.

Because while nutrition has been 98% of the key for my body getting healthier, exercising – even if it’s as simple as an hour walk around my neighborhood – is the biggest factor in my mental health. I eat well mainly for my body, but I have to keep moving for my mind.

Not only does moving my body help boost endorphins and serotonin, keeping me calmer and able to better deal with stress (and helping my immune system deal with stessors too!), but reminding myself what my body can do reminds me that I’m a strong – physically and mentally.

I was a major athlete up until a persistent wrist injury took me out after my sophomore year in high school. I was gunning for the Junior Olympics US Rowing team and, in the summer before my injury finally made me have to give up the sport entirely, I spent 4-6 hours a day, 5 days a week on the water. Continue reading “Exercising isn’t my weight loss key.”

On not being allowed to love.

My earliest memories start around three or four. In one, I have climbed up a wooden fence, trying to balance my weight against the top while I reach out to feed a neighbor’s horse, that I have named Cow, a piece of my apple.

In another, I am wandering down the street back toward our mobile home, having just returned from the post office a half mile away. I had told my mom I was going and she had said yes, but when I asked to go to the post office to mail Mema some leaves I had burned holes into with a magnifying glass, she assumed I meant the “post office” that I had imagined in my bedroom. The leaves did not make it to my Mema; I had remembered a stamp but the address “Mema, Raleigh” was not specific enough.

In one of the most vivid young memories, I am on our home phone, sometime in the evening because I was in my soft, pink footie pajamas. I was about as high as the counter, my eyes just barely reaching to see its top. I was speaking to my dad – my biological dad whom I wouldn’t know I looked like were it not for pictures – and I was about to hang up the phone to go to bed. Continue reading “On not being allowed to love.”