With changes, diabetes doesn't hold back Wilmington coffee shop … – 1150AM/101.7FM WDEL

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Updated: December 26, 2022 @ 12:22 pm
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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — When Leigh Ann Tona grew tired of running a food truck, she sold it and bought a coffee shop.

She has diabetes, and that only adds to the day-to-day grind.
“It’s not like I can just stop having diabetes,” she said.
Ms. Tona is one of more than 97,800 adults in Delaware who know they have diabetes, according to the state report, “The Impact of Diabetes in Delaware,” released in 2021. Diabetes has increased in the state over the last two decades — 8% of adults reported living with diabetes in 2003, and the number increased to 13% in 2021.
Ms. Tona found out she had diabetes when she was 7. She has lived with it for 25 years and cannot really remember life without the added responsibility of managing her blood sugar.
While she always keeps her routine, she said the worst part of living with diabetes is the burnout from performing the same regimens every day.
“Think about it: You have to clean your house, you have to do all these dishes, then you have to walk your dog, and that’s on top of work — there’s already a lot of burnout with people’s regular routines,” Ms. Tona said. “But then, on top of that, you have to add in this thing that you have to do.
“Otherwise, you’ll die.”
Each morning, the owner of Sleeping Bird Coffee on Miller Road in Wilmington tests her blood sugar when she awakens. She wears a continuous glucose monitor, which assists with checking her levels throughout the day.
If her blood sugar is high or low at any point, the monitor will communicate to her insulin pump, which will give an alert via a beep. If Ms. Tona’s blood sugar is high, she has to give herself insulin. If it is low, she has to eat something.
Further, she has to calibrate her glucose monitor and insulin pump twice a day — once in the morning and once at night. She said that, since she got the monitor in 2017, it has made her quality of life “way better” because she can go about her daily activities or sleep at night without missing whether her blood sugar is high or low.
Such equipment can be expensive, she said, depending on a person’s insurance. Ms. Tona said she was covered for most of the cost of the monitor and pump, which can be as high as a couple thousand dollars.
There also are supplies for the devices, like tubing, that have to be purchased monthly or quarterly and can add up to $1,000 a year, without insurance.
As far as the cost of insulin, Ms. Tona used to pay as much as $250 a bottle a few years ago and use one or one-and-a-half per month. She said she recently discovered better insurance, which covers that price in full.
However, during a recent bachelorette party weekend in New York, she was forced to pay out of pocket again, when she opened what she thought was a new box of insulin, only to find out there was no bottle inside.
She ran to the nearest CVS but could not use her insurance since she had recently filled her prescription. The ordeal cost her $109 and a guilty conscience since her group was delayed.
“I held everybody up. Even though it’s not really my fault, it’s my fault because I have diabetes,” Ms. Tona said.
Times like that are when diabetes feels like a slight hindrance, she said. But, even though there are some small things here and there, Ms. Tona does not believe diabetes holds her back.
“If my blood sugar is running high or low, I might not be able to, like, eat a cookie, go for a run or something like that,” she said. “But I’d say, big picture, I’m, kind of, just like everyone else.”

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