The Type 1 Diabetic community is so large, and everyone is doing amazing things everyday (more than just fighting the disease, which is amazing in itself). I have decided to create a Monthly Spotlight where I’ll share about a family, person, or group in the diabetic community in the hopes to bring everyone a little closer and inspire others. It can be hard to deal with diabetes day after day, especially when you just want a break, but can’t take one (that has serious consequences). This months Spotlight goes to TheATeam!
TheATeam is made up of the Castillo family: Ariana, Anthony, and their twin little girls Aleah and Alana. Aleah and Alana are 2.5 years old and both diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes. The crazy thing is that they were diagnosed exactly three months apart on November 19th, 2018 and February 19th, 2019. Could these identical twins be anymore alike?! Aleah was diagnosed first, with Alana following quickly after.
Ariana and Anthony were new to the entire diabetic community. They didn’t know much about Type 1 Diabetes before their girls were diagnosed. I mean who can blame them? Even if we think that we have a good understanding of what Type 1 is, we don’t fully understand the emotional, mental, and physical strain it can have on individuals and their families. You have to go through it personally to understand the daily tasks and how draining they can be at times. But, dealing with it also makes you stronger.
TheATeam has realized that they are stronger than they thought. Aleah and Alana are truly inspiring. If you watch even just one video on TheATeam’s YouTube channel, you’ll understand exactly what I am saying. They are such brave little girls that show us that even though you have obstacles (in their case needles and blood sugar and monitoring their carbohydrate intake) you’ll make it through and come out better than before.
When the girls were first diagnosed it was overwhelming and emotional. Ariana and Anthony found a lot of support and resources when the girls were diagnosed. And as everyone in the diabetic community knows, having a support system is a crucial part of diabetes. It is important to have people you can go to for questions or advice or just moral support.
Ariana says, “These precious little girls push us everyday to try harder and harder to make their lives everyday as normal as possible.” The girls are too young to handle their own care at the moment, so it falls back onto the parents (as it does for many even when they are older).
You might be thinking “wow, I wonder what their daily life looks like. I bet it’s a little hectic having twin girls under age three that have T1D.” However, you’re a little off. Of course, there are harder days than others and some days it seems that everything goes wrong. But, in general if you didn’t see their pumps and patches on their skin you would never know that have to monitor blood sugar and always be prepared for highs and lows. Ariana says, “They are so happy and full of life. They love playing, going to the pool, and let’s not forget how much they love to eat!” Their favorite snacks are SlimJims, bacon, strawberries, and blueberries (smart girls). These little girls don’t let their disease define them. They live their life like any other toddler would. Which is quite inspiring.
The older we get it can be easy to get caught up in the “what ifs” of life. What if I didn’t have Type 1? What if I was 10 pounds lighter? Would I be happier? Would I be less brave? How would I find another community to bond with? Would I have more friends? There are so many questions that we can ask ourselves, but something that we can learn from Aleah and Alana is to live life to the fullest. Handle the important things when they need to be taken care of and then don’t worry about them. Go to the pool, indulge in your favorite snacks, and spread joy to those around you.
Being thrown into the world of diabetes has taught Ariana and her family so much. I asked her what advice and tips she has for other diabetics and here are her top 5:
- Try to keep a low carb diet for better sugars—check the labels and measure your foods so that you know exactly what you’re getting/giving. This helps greatly with knowing how much insulin to inject.
- Treats are okay once in a while—life is too short to not indulge. AKA eat the cake!
- You’re not alone. There is an entire community out there going through similar events. Reach out and find your support system.
- ALWAYS remember apple juice
- Be positive and patient— “The hardest part I would say is not being able to get a full night of sleep anymore. I can’t remember the last time I did. I’m constantly up throughout the night monitoring the girls, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!” Attitude is everything in situations like this. You can’t always control what happens, but the only thing you can control is your reaction.
Hopes for Family
When asked what their hopes were for their girls, Ariana and Anthony came back with an inspiring answer. “We just hope and pray that our girls grow up to be able to live a ‘normal’ life. We hope that they spread love, joy, and inspiration to everyone that they come across. Especially those in the Type 1 community because if they can do it, then anyone can do it.” Their response was humbling. They don’t care about what college or career their girls end up with. They aren’t thinking in terms of materialistic things. What they care about is how they treat others and that they are compassionate human beings. That’s what we should all hope for. Maybe if we adapt the mindset of Ariana and Anthony, our world will get a little closer….just like the diabetic community.
Go check out TheATeam YouTube channel to learn about this wonderful family and see how brave their two little girls are! (Obviously be sure to subscribe so you can keep up to date.) Also, follow their Instagram pages to see their life in squares!
Update: TheATeam now has a website: http://theateamfam.com/
If you would like to nominate someone, a group, or family for the July Spotlight, please leave their names in the comments, reach out on social media, or email! Can’t wait to see what wonderful diabetic story we come across for next month!