Making an Invisible Disease Visible

March 06, 2019

“You look so diabetic right now.”

Type 1 Diabetic Injects Herself with Insulin on the Cover of the Largest Bike Travel Magazine.

In the middle of our 1,000-mile Alaska bicycle trip, I stop to treat a high blood sugar by injecting myself with insulin, the medication that keeps me alive. Propped on my Arkel handlebar bag is my Clinique bag. I don’t use it for makeup, though. I’m not really a makeup person.

The pouch belonged to my mother who lost her battle to leukemia four years ago. I continue her fight with my own fight. (Though, to be honest, I hate using the word fight). I use her flowery pouch to house my own medications that turn food into energy; I call the bag my pancreas. It’s stained with blood on the inside from the everyday reality of living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Bright on the outside, it has come to represent how invisible this disease is.

Which is why I’m thrilled that along with myself and my bicycle –– my beacon of happiness, this flowery bag has landed on the cover of Adventure Cyclist’s April issue. This photo, taken by my partner-in-crime Erik Douds, makes our invisible disease visible. Our cover feature tells the story of our 1,000-mile bicycle trip around Alaska through the lens of the Dexcom blood sugar graphs we both use to manage our T1D. The piece also acts as an educational tool, illustrating to the reader what it’s like to live with this chronic condition that in short, requires one to do all the work for their non-functioning pancreas.

With Erik on our Miles of Portraits: Alaska trip last fall.

Get the magazine!
You can get this April issue plus eight more a year by becoming a member of Adventure Cycling by Sunday, March 10th. Magazines are filled with bicycle tales, inspiration, and tools to get your journey going. Members of Adventure Cycling not only get nine magazines a year but also support their mission –– to inspire, empower and connect people to travel by bicycle.

Meet us in person!
Starting next week, The Miles of Portraits Tour de REI is coming to the Southwest. We’ll ride our bikes almost 2,000 miles from L.A. to Santa Fe, NM, stopping at REIs along the way to share our story + screen our film. Register for an event here.

Share the love!
A member of the T1D community is on the cover of a bike travel magazine taking a shot of insulin. Let’s show that more people with disabilities should be highlighted. How does it make you feel to see a T1D on the cover of this magazine? Where would you go with the inspiration and tools of an Adventure Cycling membership? On Instagram or elsewhere, share your thoughts in a post, include #ThankYouACA, and tag @adventurecycling. Then head over to @adventurecycling and leave a blue heart ???? on any post.

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