I am a
young adult author with type 1 diabetes. Why is that little fact important?
Maybe it isn’t, but it has shaped me as a writer, a mother, and a person, whether
I wanted it to or not. I didn’t by the way. I have never shared this publicly
as I am a very private person. However, this is important because I’m not the
only person dealing with type 1. You see, my younger brother had been diagnosed
at the age of fifteen with the same disease. I watched how it ravaged his body
over a short period of time. I saw firsthand how it attacks—one tiny blood vessel
at a time until there’s nothing you can do to reverse the damage. I also
remember quite clearly my mother being afraid to help him. He was on his own
years after his passing, I was thirty-one, active, slender and continuing to lose
weight even though my weekly running had slowed. I had developed an
unquenchable, burning thirst, my fairly good vision was growing blurry, and my strong
legs were cramping in the middle of the night. I knew in my heart what it was.
I’d seen the symptoms in my brother a decade earlier. After three months of
denial, I went to the hospital where I was diagnosed with what the doctors’
thought was type 2 diabetes. They explained I was too old to have type 1.
I was running twenty miles a week. I kept asking myself, “How could it be type
2?” My husband told me he could see how thin I’d gotten and was concerned the
doctors were wrong. They insisted and put me on an oral medication that clearly
wasn’t going to work. It didn’t. The antibody test came back positive and the
fact was, my immune system had turned on me. The insulin producing cells in my
pancreas were destroyed and would never return.
It was a
death sentence as far as I knew. I, too, was terrified. I had a husband and two
young children. I had a life I wanted to live for as long as I could. I knew the
chronic disease would kill me, if I let it. If I let it. So, I committed
to not let it destroy me like it had with my brother. I’m not kidding. I was
scared to death, but the disease that had taken him wasn’t going to take me.
to my medical appointments, feeling so desperately alone. I also went to
support meetings at my local hospital, which were actually the opposite of
support. There I met with fellow type 1 patients who had refused to accept the
disease and its mighty power and that scared the hell out of me. They hadn’t
seen what the monster could do. After two meetings, I never went back. They
seemed to be in denial and denial was not an option for me. If I encountered
another type 1 at a social event, I latched onto them like they were a life
raft, but none of them seemed to be on the same path as myself. I acknowledge
that everyone with the disease has to come to terms with it on their own and
figure out their own plan.
was to respect the monster, and in return my diligence would keep the monster at
bay so as to allow me to live as normally as possible. Day by day. Some days
great. Some not so great. But good health was and continues to be my goal.
my healthcare regimen with old-fashioned syringes and vials, moved on to
insulin pens, and finally graduated to wearing top-notch medical equipment in
the form of an insulin pump and a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) in one of
arms (I switch it to the other arm every ten days). After almost twenty years,
the last ten with tubes and gadgets attached to me, I’m pleased to say I have
no blood vessel damage to my eyes or kidneys. This is my life. For the rest of
my life, but I’m thankful to have the technology to maintain my good health and
I’m most thankful for the years my brother didn’t have.
scared? Every single day I wake up summoning courage to face the day. Type 1 is
truly a monster that never quits. I’ve dealt with other beasts in my life, some
of them in my own family, but this monster is a killer waiting to snatch
another victim. However, like in a fairytale the point of a monster is that it
is meant to instill fear and test the hero. Will the hero face her fear and
defeat the it? In my own story, I have faced my fear, my greatest fear, but
until they find a cure for type 1 diabetes, I won’t be able to defeat it. In
the meantime, I will continue to battle it every single day with strength and
as writing, I’d love to craft a story that features a character with type 1. In
the meantime, I am inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable,
star-crossed fates. Although I’m terrible at casting any magic of my own, I am
descended from an accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to
trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to
fall from the sky. That’s pretty cool, right?
currently taking a charcoal drawing class and golf lessons to bring some new
experiences to my writing. We’ll see how that goes! I have three published
young adult novels, I am a member of SCBWI, and I graduated from the University
present, I am working on a manuscript about a teen witch, Abigail, fighting for
her right to practice witchcraft in a conservative southern town with a history
of burning witches. As she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the tale of the
Silver Moon Witch, trouble begins to find Abigail who’s discovering the witch’s
story has dangerous parallels to her own life, especially when someone is
watching, waiting to toss a match.
CHEESIEST SPINACH CASSEROLE
a healthy, low carb casserole that I enjoy making and it doesn’t raise my blood
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir well
Spread mixture into an 8×8 baking dish and bake for 35-40
minutes or until the edges are golden and the center is set.
from THAT LOW CARB LIFE
Here’s a brief intro to Leigh’s latest novel. Hope you enjoy it.
As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.
How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?
As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.
is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine,
enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.
Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended
from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695
for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the