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T1D Hack from a Miss World

G’day, I’m Jack, and I’m here with Nurianne Arias. She has a Type 1 Diabetes hack to share. Let’s go. Nurianne, how are you?

I’m good. Thank you so much for the invitation. I’m very excited to talk about type 1 diabetes and my personal hack.

Oh, fantastic. For those (who) don’t know Nurianne, and she is from Aruba. Aruba is an island just north of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea. She is a fantastic diabetes advocate with a plethora on her CV, starting with, and not everyone has this on their CV, ‘Miss World Aruba’.
Are you Miss World Aruba 2018?

Nurianne (01:16)
Actually, yes, I am. It’s been a while, so sometimes I forget that happened because it’s been about almost five years ago. I participated in the national competition. And funny story, funny fact, I was not elected to go to Miss World, I was elected to go to Miss Universe, but some way, somehow, I had the opportunity to choose to go to Miss World.
Which was awesome because I met a lot of friends, a lot of people (who) are doing very good things for the community, health-related, environment-related, any aspect that could help their community or around the world. And it has been an amazing experience ever since I participated in Miss World. I met a lot of people, it enhanced my advocacy.

I learned a lot from my peers, and from my fellow candidates. At the Miss World, we were 118 ladies in that year in China for a month. And it was a huge growth opportunity and learning curve. It still is, honestly.

Jackson (02:16)
It sounds like it instilled some leadership in you and you’ve gone on to advocate, become a lecturer, and a PhD researcher. What (is your focus)?

Yes, so at the moment I started that same year that I participated (Miss World 2018), I started lecturing just for one course at the University of Aruba, (the same) I graduated from in 2016. So that’s a while back. (this gave me) the opportunity to teach and I thought, well, I’m not afraid to work. It’s going to be my first job ever since coming back from the island (after Miss World). And I was doing it besides being an assistant, a research assistant to a PhD student back then.
So I was doing both and competing and doing my social projects because it’s quite a lot of work. To be honest, it takes a lot of discipline to be in beauty pageants or competitions. So now I teach different courses, research courses, and management courses, but also I advise students, which I personally love

I like to help people grow and find their strength and their power.

I’m a very curious person and I decided to start my PhD trajectory with the university support. (My PhD is on) ‘Invisible Disabilities’. The idea is to research and figure out how we can support people better and enhance their lives. Progress with their health outcomes or their desired outcomes for their health. 

That’s what I’m doing at the moment besides doing advocacy. Every day I try to educate people about T1D (Type 1 Diabetes) and that’s never gonna change. I do that at my job and work as a lecturer, but also everywhere I go, every time I travel, if I’m doing exercise, I’m always advocating. It basically never stops.

I love that. And on that topic, how long have you had (Type 1) diabetes for?

Nurianne (04:31)
I learned about my diabetes in 2015 in June. I say ‘I learned’ about it because I have suspicions that I’ve had it even before that, but I never got a diagnosis. So it’s been about eight years now that I have diabetes type one. My diagnosis truly helped because, when you know what you’re living with, the condition, you can treat it and avoid complications. I truly appreciate that even though it’s scary…Diagnosis is scary, but it’s better to know what is going on.

Definitely. Once you know what you’ve got, it relieves you from all the fears of what it could be. Then you can get straight into the management. 
2015, this is before you became Miss World and (just before your life got busy) busier than just doing diabetes, you’ve literally hit the ground running. And not only that, you’re using it (Diabetes) as your superpower.

Nurianne wearing the FSL X-Patch

Nurianne (05:22)
Absolutely. It is actually, it gives me power because I have a condition. A lot of us have Type 1, Type 2 diabetes or other conditions, but my power is that I’m very aware of my body, and how I feel. It speaks to me, it talks to me, it gives me signs and I love that. I’m more aware of myself as a person within my own community, but also of others and that is something that I truly appreciate from having type 1 diabetes. It taught me that everybody else is could be struggling or living with or managing a condition or something in their lives. It makes me more aware of the realities that we live in and makes me more kind. It makes me feel more empathy towards others. It makes the world more beautiful.

It does. The fact that you’re not only just doing it (advocating for) for type 1 diabetics, but all invisible disabilities. So I think what you’re doing is fantastic, which makes me very excited to hear about your T1D Hack.
This (life hack) is perfect for anyone on insulin (MDI).
Let’s hear it. I’d love to know this hack.

Nurianne (07:07)
Okay, so I’m a very busy person. I do a lot of things. I teach, I read, I do research, I exercise, plus family. So everything is color-coded in my Google Calendar. So I have a color for each activity or area of my life. However, sometimes I forget that I have to use my basal insulin injection (long-acting insulin) and then what happens is that sometimes I forget if I use it or not. Once or twice it has happened that I used it more than once in the same evening. I went to sleep and I had a dangerous hypo. 

It was very scary.

I don’t want it to happen again. So from then, I have a reminder on my phone so I don’t forget and I check it off just to make sure that I use it. (In addition to the calendar reminder T1D hack) I keep the needle on the pen, so I know, I’ve used it already. And in the morning (I remove the needle) to make sure that (I didn’t forget to take it). And that strategy has helped me so, so much.

Yeah, oh that’s fantastic. You’re using modern technology as well as a simple little hack with the insulin pen needle needle.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all taken a (insulin) shot and can’t remember if we’ve taken it or not. So this is a great little hack that I think will help a lot of diabetics out there.
Nurianne, thank you. This has been fantastic. I’ve never spoken to a Miss World or anyone from Aruba before, so I was very excited about this interview. Thank you…

Dear readers, let us know if this is something that you’re going to try.
If you have a Type 1 Diabetes or Blood Glucose Management hack – we would love to hear from you! Reach out to us on our socials or send us an email. 
And be sure to follow us on IG: @notjustapatch for future interviews. 

Nurianne Arias
Country: Aruba
T1D Level: 9
MDI: NovoRapid, Tresiba
CGM: FreeStyle Libre 2

Go and follow Nurianne (Miss World Aruba 2018)

This article is the created from the transcript of the full interview, which you can watch on our YouTube channel.
Edits and interview by Jackson Sinclair IG: @jackabetic

Blog: Interview with Derek Brandt
Blog: The story behind Not Just a Patch