The Ups and Downs to Being T1 Diabetic
This post, as the title states, is about the ups and downs while being a T1 Diabetic. Lately, I’ve been feeling very in control of my diabetes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have high and low glucose every so often. In fact, I tend to get a low glucose at least once per day. Usually it is nothing scary, just a 3.5 or 2.9, and normally I’ll feel it, check my glucose and have a snack.
Then there are the times that I don’t feel it, or the times when I under treat a low blood sugar, like this morning.
I woke up, scanned my sensor to find out I had been low (LO, low) all throughout the night. So I got up, went to the kitchen, took out my juice box, drank it and went on with my morning routine. Normally, this would have been fine, it’s happened more than once. Although, today was different. As I was washing my hair, I got a wave of dizziness and felt as if I was going to be sick. Stepped out of the hot shower and then I couldn’t see anything. I stumbled around the bathroom trying to find the toilet (I felt like I was going to throw-up). Luckily, my fiance heard me stumbling around and ran in to see if I was okay. Spoiler: I was not okay. I passed out.
A minute later, my fiance came back in with a juice box and dex tabs. I had come back to consciousness as he walked in the door, ate the Dex tabs and drank the juice box. Mentally, I felt a lot better, but physically, I felt really sick. After finishing my shower I felt even better. I finished up my morning routine, even walked the dog, like normal. Once I was sitting in the car as my fiance drove I thought: Wow, that was scary, and that could have been a lot worse! I looked over at my fiance, and said Thank you. Seriously, thank you. If he wasn’t there it could have gone 2 ways: 1. Passed out until the earlier juice box kicked in, or 2. Passed out and never woke back up. I like to think the juice box would have kicked in, but not everyone is always so lucky.
What “Normal” People Think
When people hear “I have type 1 diabetes” they normally think, oh, I guess this girl ate too much sugar as a kid. Which we all know has no correlation to T1D. Most people also think, okay, they have some disease that is treatable. Which, in a way is true. I can treat insulin resistance with synthetic insulin, but it doesn’t mean that is all I have to do. Most days, I don’t think about my diabetes. I mean, I am constantly reminded that I have T1D because I check my glucose, take my insulin, count carbs, etc., but I don’t really think about how different my life is now.
Being Different as a T1 Diabetic
I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of 8, which means I’ve had diabetes for over 70% of my life. I don’t remember what it was like to eat whatever I wanted and to not have to take insulin or worry about going to bed at night.
That’s the aspect most “normal” people don’t understand. The living in worry. T1 diabetic worry when their glucose is too high or when it is too low. We worry about catching a cold or the flu, because it messes up or glucose even more. We worry about exercising, because we may go low while out for a run or a hike. T1 diabetics need to stay three steps ahead. We pack insulin, glucose monitors, snacks, juice boxes and water. Our friends bring clutches to restaurants, we bring handbags. We are reminded everyday how different we are. Most days I ignore the differences. Hiding my disappointment when I have to bring a stuffed purse to a wedding or party, when everyone else uses their tiny purses as accessories. I remember deciding to leave my wallet at home so that my blood tester would fit in my tiny purse. I was so frustrated because I wanted my purse to match my shoes, but after emptying my wallet (credit card, interact, medicare, drivers license, change…), my purse still wouldn’t close.
Now, I look past what everyone else is wearing. Maybe it’s because I’m not 18 anymore or maybe I just realized that in reality being different is better. Who wants to be the same as everyone else? I buy a beautiful handbag instead of a tiny clutch. There’s no point in dwelling on what you can’t have or can’t do. I am a T1 diabetic. I have supplies that I need in my purse, not to be dramatic, but sometimes those supplies are what keeps me alive.
T1 diabetics worry about things, because, well, there are things in the life of a T1 diabetic that need to be worried about. It’s better to be cautious then careless, especially when you have this disease.
Here are a few things I will never stop doing:
1. Check your glucose before bed – have a snack if needed
2. If you were lower than 4.0, check again in 15 minutes
3. Always have snacks with you – a granola bar, juice box, candies, anything that will bring your sugar up!
4. Try to be as accurate as possible when taking insulin (count carbs if you can, there are some great apps for this)
5. Always check your glucose before doing any activities, during activity and after.
6. The first thing you do in the morning: check your glucose
I am not a medical professional and should not be taken as such. I am only speaking from personal experience. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have regarding your diabetes.
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