Susan B. Sloane, BS, RPh, CDE, has been a registered pharmacist for more than 20 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for more than 15 years. Her two sons were diagnosed with diabetes, and since then, she has been dedicated to promoting wellness and optimal outcomes as a patient advocate, information expert, educator, and corporate partner.

As a mother who has raised two sons with diabetes, I am aware of the challenges that diabetes creates in our daily life. I am grateful, however, that diabetes has made our family take a long, hard look at our lifestyle and made us recognize what healthy living looked like.

Sheri Colberg-Ochs, a type 1 diabetic and PhD in exercise physiology, is a wonderful example of how living with diabetes can be just another way to encourage you to have a healthy lifestyle. "I truly believe that diabetes has been a positive, shaping force in my life when it comes to exercise and physical activity in general," Sheri writes. "While many people view the current recommendation to exercise regularly for better diabetes control as apunishment, I fully embrace it and use it as an excuse to put my workouts first."

As I tell my patients, diabetes forces you into living healthier than you ever dreamed possible. Some people, unfortunately, use the fact that they don't have diabetes a a "free pass" to consume whatever they like, whether it is part of a healthy diet or not. Others believe that exercise is not mandatory unless you have a problem with your health.

I believe some people are lulled into a false sense of security with these beliefs, and that patients with diabetes who live a healthy lifestyle can actually live longer than their counterparts who do not employ healthy habits.

Happiness is a choice, so choose to be happy. Be grateful for everything you have, and look to friends and family for support and encouragement. You can even help others to have positive outlooks whether they have diabetes or not. Maybe you know someone with other chronic health issues such as asthma or high blood pressure, and you can help them see the brighter side of things.

I see my boys as role models for myself and how I should live every day. Diabetes teaches patience and discipline. Do I sometimes lose patience? Absolutely! But with support from each other, we can stay on track!