Asha was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 5 years old. Throughout her childhood, diabetes was simply a way of life because her father had type 1 most of his life as well. She didn’t mind being a little different than her friends and never had a problem explaining type 1 diabetes to anyone who had questions. In fact, diabetes never created an obstacle in Asha’s life until she was old enough to understand that her weight and body size were not completely under her own control. As a dancer, actress and a fitness instructor by the time she was 17, Asha lived for movement and her body’s ability to feel good in its own skin. After reading many articles and books that gave a daunting account of weight gain associated with insulin resistance and diabetes, Asha felt the first stirring of resentment towards a disease she felt was dooming her to an inability to have the physical strength and shape that she knew she deserved and could achieve. And so she started to omit insulin occasionally when it was “necessary” to get things done. 

The obsession with maintaining a healthy size and weight while coping with multiple autoimmune disorders (hypothyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome, as well as type 1 diabetes) became a full-time job for Asha during high school and college. The lack of support for type 1 diabetics was also disheartening as most of the information discussed in the media dealt with type 2 diabetes. Asha began to omit insulin for the purpose of weight control. She also started to rely on the numbing effect of ommission to drown out the daily anxieties that people with chronic illness often battle against. She felt it was a cruel joke to have such a passion for dance and performing and to have to constantly “take it easy” due to her low blood sugars, or worry that she would have one when she was on stage. Skipping her insulin shots, or taking less than required to cover a meal, became second nature to her, and for years she struggled with the cycles of omitting insulin, binging, restricting and swearing never to do it again. 

Asha wrestled, off and on, with symptoms of diabulimia beginning in her sophomore year of high school, but it began to truly take over her life in her freshman year of college. By then, it dramatically affected every single choice she made in her life, her relationships and her daily routines. The effort to keep her eating disorder a secret became all-encompassing. It wasn’t until she met the love of her life and was married that she began to consider the idea of seeking treatment for her eating disorder. For years, Asha continued to tell herself that she would stop her dangerous secretive behaviors once she was at her perfect weight. The problem with that, of course, is that there’s no such thing as a perfect weight or a perfect body — and, therefore, no end in sight. Asha soon realized she had no idea how to live without her eating disorder. And she knew she could never be the wife and life partner to her wonderful husband or truly follow her dreams of performing until she let go of her destructive behaviors. 

Asha took her first step towards living fully in her life again when she had an initial assessment made at the Park Nicollet Melrose Center in 2009. She was strongly encouraged to check into the inpatient treatment program that very day due to the severity and danger of her out-of-control diabetes. And with that, she surrendered. She went through a year of treatment, starting with two weeks of inpatient care and then moving to weekly outpatient appointments, and finally monthly. Along with the wonderful support she received from the staff at the Melrose Center, she realized how supportive her family and friends could be once she finally shared her difficulties with them. Her life began to churn once again with passion, discovery and joy. 

Asha’s life today is new and very different after finally coming to terms with her disorder. She is no longer imprisoned by the numbers on the scale or the fear of food. After receiving treatment, she returned to teaching yoga, a passion she had enjoyed years ago before her diabulimia took top priority. She performs often in theaters in the Minneapolis area, and delights in exploring and cooking new recipes and foods. She lives very happily with her beloved husband who has been her grounding source of support and continues to give her the courage to fight the odds associated with her type 1 diabetes, her recovery, and reminds her of so many reasons to never give up. 

Asha is a member of both The ADA Woman and Diabetes Subcommittee, as well as Diabetes Advocates. She has worked first-hand with families, patients, educators and medical professionals across the United States. Asha strives to educate others about her experiences and offer hope and support to others who may be struggling. She has spoken at the Park Nicollet Melrose Center, at JDRF, at Diabetes Sisters, on the Family Panel at NEDA and at numerous other organizations. Asha can be found online on Diabetes Health, Glu, dLife, DiabetesMine and many other diabetes related websites. Her passion for connecting people to the help they deserve continues to grow as she continues to establish relationships with eating disorder treatment facilities across the country. 

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