My Diabetes Story: Fitness Instructor Kiley Schoenfelder

Posted by kiley on Wed, 02/12/2014 - 17:50 in

Check below to read about fitness instructor Kiley Schoenfelder’s diabetes story and learn how she manages her diabetes while leading an extremely active lifestyle. 

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1986 at the age of nine. I generally remember only happy memories of my childhood with diabetes. Nothing stopped me from participating in activities. I was involved and excelled in multiple dance classes, gymnastics and soccer from early on. I only have two vivid “diabetic” moments in all those years.

First, when I was a freshman in high school I was participating in a soccer camp at Indiana University. I remember being on the field in the middle of a game and my blood sugar got so low I had to leave the game. I remember my friends gave me a large bag of candy and I ate the entire thing while sitting on the sidelines watching the rest of the game! Needless to say, I did NOT feel well later and it took me the entire night to recover from the low/high rollercoaster.

Second, I clearly remember having a seizure in my sleep at a hotel after a national championship cheerleading competition in high school. I seized so hard I feel off the bed and I woke up on the floor with my entire team and parents surrounding me. That experience still haunts me. I am extremely fearful of low blood sugars because of it. Basically every other memory from childhood is like I never even had diabetes. I think I have my truly amazing family to thank for that. They always treated me like I was no different from anyone else and trusted I could take care of myself - and I did. They taught me to be independent and responsible.

My First Go at an Insulin Pump

Photo Credit: Satio Photography.

In 2003, I was living alone in Chicago and was still scared of having lows at night. I had an extremely active lifestyle as a trainer and taught fitness classes all the time. During the day I would purposely eat without bolusing for fear of not making it through five clients in a row or teaching a Spin class. I was told I could disconnect or lessen my base insulin for situations like this if I tried an insulin pump. So I did. And it didn’t go very well at first.

Exercising became a hassle with the tubing on my first pump and I often disconnected it when I shouldn’t have. As a result, my blood sugar readings didn’t get much better than when I was on injections. Not only that, but I was a single girl and embarrassed by what my peers thought of me being connected to a strange device. Eventually I went back to injections. The shots were much easier to hide. At that time in my life, I thought being “different” from others was un-cool.

My Diabetes Wake-Up Call

Ten years later, I moved to New York City. My career and business turned out to be a huge success. However, despite my healthy lifestyle and relentless carb counting, my blood sugars remained higher than what the doctors expect. I decided to switch to another insulin pump, because my life took a tragic turn on September 9, 2013. I found out my brother lost a life-long battle with drug/alcohol addiction. The loss of my brother made me realize how precious life is and how important it is to be in the best possible control of diabetes I can be. After hearing all of the pump options from my doctor, I decided the Omnipod insulin pump was the best choice for me. In a few months, it has already improved my life in numerous ways. And this time I have the amazing support of my best friend, my boyfriend. He makes me feel beautiful with or without a pump.

What’s Next on My Journey

My life is currently filled with the joy of helping others feel and look better, and also for many, take better control of diabetes. I plan to expand my fitness and health knowledge so I can personally use it and share it with others this year.

I also plan to enjoy what little free time I have outside of a gym. I just love to laugh and have fun. The balance of work and play is what I find works best for my diabetes control. I swear I’ll be making up goofy dance moves and making my family smile even when I’m 80.

Looking into the future, I believe the Omnipod insulin pump will be able to give me enough control of my blood sugar levels to be able to have the option of having children of my own without any major complications. If and when the time comes, I know I will certainly find the experience worth blogging about. Regardless of what my future holds, my life has been forever simplified with the use of the Omnipod.

Note:  Information posted on Podder Talk is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider for questions and guidance on managing any health-related issues.