Interview: Kerri Morrone from


During my pregnancy I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. After getting a glimpse of what life would be like having diabetes, I found Kerri Morrone’s website. Kerri is a fellow health blogger that I admire and respect. She has a great attitude towards living with diabetes, and a writing style that is addictive. I thought the readers would have fun learning a bit more about our “new friend”.
** Note from Christine: Today is World Diabetes Day! This interview was originally published last year. But Since I admire and respect Kerri’s work in the Diabetes community so much, I felt it was worth re-publishing. (She has since been married and is up to great things. Be sure to check out her site!)

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, and your blog.

My name is Kerri Morrone and I’ve been blogging over at Six Until Me about my life with type 1 diabetes for almost two and a half years. Diagnosed with diabetes when I was six years old, I started Six Until Me in May of 2005 because I was tired of Googling “diabetes” and coming up with little more than a list of complications and frightening stories. Where were all the people who were living with this disease, like I have been since I was a little girl? Was I the only diabetic out there who felt alone?

Enter blogging. Back when I first started, I was one of four or five diabetes bloggers. Now I am a proud member of an enormous diabetes blogging community who prove every day that I’m not alone with this disease.
Six Until Me has had the pleasure of some excellent moments over the last few months. I’ve had the pleasure of appearing on dLifeTV, winning the award from Health Central, and being interviewed for US News and World Report.
But there’s more to me than diabetes.
I am a freelance writer and a very proud member of the dLife editorial team. I don’t sleep much and when I do, there’s sometimes a little gray cat on my head. When I sleep, however, I don’t wear socks. They make my feet feel trapped.
I’ve been known to trip over my own feet while standing still. I’m making attempts to plan my wedding, but running off and eloping is still a viable option. I can’t drive stick and it never bothered me until that guy showed up with the Ferrari and asked if I wanted to drive. I don’t accurately retain song lyrics and have been called out about The Night Moose several times.
It’s been said that I may be over-caffeinated. I chew a lot of gum, read a lot of books, and have trouble keeping my opinions to myself. I never mean to offend but I always mean what I say.
And I do a mean impression of Mr. Peanut.
2. So many people (especially those with disabilities) have found the internet to be a place not only for information, but for socialization as well. The popularity of “blogging” is amazing. Many people find it therapeutic to keep an online journal. Many people find it intimidating to write. For those who want to start writing for pleasure ie blogs, or even just a plain old notebook, do you have any advice for getting started?
There are so many free blogging services (like Blogger and Vox and LiveJournal) that starting a blog is as easy as checking your email. Starting isn’t so much the trouble – it’s sticking with it that’s a challenge. So many bloggers start and have all the best intentions of updating frequently, but their blogs just fall by the wayside. If you are thinking about keeping a blog, go for it! Doing it regularly helps make it routine. Besides, going back to read old entries is fun.
3. How does having Diabetes “invisible illness” affect your day to day life?
Diabetes requires daily management and much of my attention. Every morning, I test my blood sugar and respond to the results. Every bit of food that crosses my lips first goes through the Math Machine in my head, calculating the number of carbs against the insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio, then factoring in any exercise, stressors, or other variables. Every moment of my day is spent with an insulin pump – a machine – connected to my body.
But every day also brings so much that isn’t diabetes-related, too. I do what I have to do to best manage this disease. And I have as much fun as possible.
4. Do you ever hear the comments “But you don’t look sick? or similar? How do you handle when people question when you do not feel good?
It’s a bit of a tangled question. I work hard to manage my diabetes and I take pride in the fact that people don’t know about my diabetes unless I chose to tell them. However, just because I don’t “look sick” doesn’t mean that my disease isn’t worth working towards curing. People with diabetes can live very normal, very active lives – it just takes a lot of effort to maintain this normalcy. “But you don’t look sick,” they say. And I thank them, happy that I don’t feel sick, either, but knowing full well the risks associated with a diabetes life.
I know I don’t look sick. I don’t feel sick very often. My disease requires a significant amount of management and there are moments when I feel every inch of diabetes, but there are plenty of moments where I feel just like everyone else. So I don’t look sick? Well thank you. Thank you very much.
5. I know you are engaged, (Congratulations) has having Diabetes affected your relationship? In good or bad ways? Any advice for other couples.
Thanks for your congratulations! I’m thrilled to be engaged to a wonderful man and excited to be planning my wedding. As far as diabetes affecting my relationship, it’s never been a secret or something I’m ashamed of. It’s also never been a part of my life that I pretend isn’t important. Diabetes is a daily disease and so many moments of a normal day are touched by this condition. My fiancé and I have made the minutiae a part of our lives, which takes diabetes off its pedestal and instead makes it part of a seamless landscape of life.
My advice for other relationships would be to talk about it. Citing good communication as the crux of my relationship sounds a little common, but it couldn’t be truer. Being able to talk freely about my disease – about anything, really – brings my fiancé and I closer and makes our relationship stronger. But is it diabetes that makes us close or would I be this way regardless? I have no ides – I have no recollection of a life with diabetes – but I like to think that my steely core of communicative confidence would have been there, diabetes or not.
6. After reading your column- I see that you try to focus on humor or a positive side to living with disease. In a time when many mass media outlets focus on “dramatic” or sad stories, why do you feel it is important to show a positive side? Is it hard to find humor?
Diabetes, on the whole, isn’t funny. This is a serious disease with very serious complications. Diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, affects more than 21 million people in the United States alone and the effects of diabetes on my life are profound.
But … it is still my life. And my life – my personality – involves plenty of laughter.
I often find amusement in the places I find discarded test strips. Multiple daily finger sticks are a part of my daily duties, and the strips are expensive, so that’s not particularly funny. But finding a test strip in my shoe or seeing my little kitten trot by with one in mouth does make me smile. Priming my insulin pump is sometimes an arduous task, but my fiancé walking by and saying I look like a mad scientist as I tap out the air bubbles from the cartridge makes me smile. It may not be funny to some, but it’s funny to me and it makes my diabetes burden far less heavy.
There are also the moments that you laugh because, if you don’t, you may burst into tears. I have experienced severe low blood sugar reactions where I’ve come to my senses and noticed juice staining my shirt, my hair stuck to my forehead with sweat, and my meter in a thousand pieces on the floor after having thrown it at the wall. Moments like these are enough to break you in two. But sometimes a laugh bubbles up from deep inside you, where you are the most scared and the most vulnerable, and it escapes. It gives you strength. It helps chase the fear away for a few minutes. It makes diabetes more manageable.
7. Having Diabetes, you must have what we like to call “tools of the trade”… medications or other health related items. Do you have any tips of how to carry these things around without standing out. Or how to set up a bedroom, or bathroom without seeming like a sick ward?
Diabetes management requires plenty of “tools.” There’s the medical stuff – the glucose meter, test strips, lancets, insulin pump, tubing, insulin bottles, syringes, blood pressure pills, vitamins, and glucagon. Then there’s the food stuff – bottles of juice, glucose tabs, organic foods, or cake gel.
As a woman, it’s easy(ish) for me to tote this stuff around because I have the benefit of a purse. My diabetes supplies are nested in my vast purse selection for easy access. My insulin pump, though worn on my body every day, is most often tucked into a pocket, clipped to my waistband, or hidden in my bra.
And yes, my fridge at home is filled with insulin bottles and fruit juice for low blood sugar reactions. But it’s not terribly intrusive. And even if it was, it’s what I need to manage my disease.
8. Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?
Turns out that blogging is a big hobby of mine, conveniently enough. Aside from stuff at Six Until Me, I’m an active bookworm and a bit of a health and fitness nut. I am at the gym a lot. It’s tough keeping up with my handsome fiance, but I do my best. Often, the treadmill is at a break-neck incline. It may be time for me to purchase a new pair of sneakers.
I’m a loyal Boston sports fan – between the Red Sox, Larry Bird, and the Bruins, I’d be happy wandering from sporting event to sporting event in Boston for the rest of my life. I am not athletically inclined, but I like playing tennis and attempting to juggle.
I write a lot. I freelance for several publications and I enjoy every moment of the opportunity. I like learning different computer programs, like Photoshop and Flash, and I’ve enjoyed becoming a crackerjack html coder.
And I laugh. I love spending time with my fiancé, going out to dinner, a film, or just exploring. I hang out with my friends a lot, and I spend as much time with my family as I can.
9. I read in many of your posts about you trying to work out, or be on a work out schedule. Working out and staying in shape is so important to anyone living with any disease or disability. Do you have any tips for getting active or staying “on course”?
Hmmm … tricky question. I spend a lot of time focusing on my health and fitness goals because they are important to me for several reasons. First and foremost, good health is pivotal to me. The health of my body is of the utmost importance. This goes hand-in-hand with diabetes because so much of my disease management involves exercise and healthy eating. And aside from these health goals, I also want to be physically fit for aesthetic reasons. My wedding is right around the corner and a white dress isn’t the most forgiving of attire. 😉
I am able to stay on course because I’m not making this a “diet” or a “workout plan.” This is my lifestyle. It’s not about hitting a goal number or pants size, but more making healthy eating and regular exercise a part of what I do every day. Sure, there are days when I skip going to the gym. Or when seemingly inhale a whole cheesecake. But I enjoy those moments, and then I move past them.
10. Do you have any tips or advice for anyone else wanting to live life to the fullest while “not looking sick”?
This is your life. It’s the only one you have. Regardless of the hand you’ve been dealt, you need to make the most of it. Find happiness in what you’re doing. Focus on the good in your life. And for crying out loud, make sure you laugh a little bit!