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The DX Diabetes Dish: Robyn Cox

Dolphin trainer & diabetes activist on living with T1

The DX regularly features The DX Diabetes Dish, a profile about life and life with diabetes. We’re dishing with Robyn Cox, a supervisor of animal training who works with beluga whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins at SeaWorld San Antonio. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 13 and says she’s “never let diabetes stop me from doing something I’ve wanted to do,” including following her dream of becoming a professional dolphin trainer. Cox is currently on maternity leave after having her second baby boy. She is looking forward to getting back to her animals at work and continuing to inspire others to not let diabetes get in the way of their dreams.

What is your state of mind about diabetes today?

I am excited to see the progress that has been made since I was diagnosed, and looking forward to seeing the progress coming in the near future. I am much more involved with my diabetes now and find myself impressed with all the people working to make it easier for people like me.

What three words would you use to describe who are?

Mother, wife, diabetes advocate.

How does diabetes change – or not change – who you are?

In an odd way, I think my diabetes has made me healthier. I think I am much more in tune with my body because of my diabetes.

What inspires you to do what you do?

The animals.

What do you appreciate most in your friends?

I know my friends would do anything for me or my family. That gives me great comfort.

What would you pack for your favorite vacation?

A swimsuit and some sunscreen.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?

Fruit, vegetables, hummus, sugar-free chocolate pudding, and Diet Coke,1 among a bunch of other random stuff.

What is your favorite way to relieve stress?

A massage.

What is your idea of happiness?

My family enjoying a beautiful day outside together with our friends and dogs.

What do you most dislike?

Personally I hate being late or rushed. When it comes to diabetes, I dislike the fact that not all people get great care regardless of whether or not they want it.

What’s your favorite diabetes management tip?

Stay on top of your health because no one else knows your health like you do. Life is too short regardless of diabetes. It doesn’t have to take over your life unless you let it. The insulin pump also helps me. The pumps have come a long way and, for me, they make living with diabetes so much easier.

What words do you try to live by?

Life is short, live it every day.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I live pretty modestly, but I guess my haircuts.

On what occasion do you lie?

I’ve probably lied to a few doctors in my past regarding how I took care of myself. Luckily, I don’t have to do that anymore. I own my health and, if I make mistakes, I try to own up to them.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

I wish all my extended family lived nearby.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My mom, my brother. My mom because she showed me what being a great mom looked like. My brother because after being diagnosed with and succumbing to cancer at age 29, he managed to accomplish so much. He never asked, “Why me?” He thought, “Why not me?” This gives me strength in the hard times and reminds me life is short.

What would you choose for your last meal?

Probably something cooked by my husband and an amazing dessert.

What are you looking forward to right now?

My three-week-old sleeping through the night!

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about diabetes in history?

It’s fascinating to me how much progress has been made. So many people died from this disease before ever being diagnosed. Now there is the potential to live a long life as long as you’re willing to take yourself there.

All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the interviewee and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

1Diet Coke is a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company.

© 2013 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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