Molly Johannes was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997 at the age of four. Molly controls her diabetes with a combination of insulin shots, daily exercise, and a healthy diet. She utilizes a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor to remain aware of her blood sugars throughout her busy days at school. Molly is a sophomore English major at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Read full bio

Show Me Your Pump!

A few days ago, I was mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed (a habitual pastime of mine) when a photo reappeared once, twice, and three-plus times. At first, I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it because it was just a smiling girl wearing a bathing suit. Since it’s summer time and all, pictures like that crop up several times a week – nothing unusual.

But I started to wonder who the girl was when I saw that same picture flash on my screen multiple times throughout the day. So I did a little detective work and immediately realized that my Facebook friends who shared the photo all had one thing in common: diabetes. I examined the picture more closely and I saw what looked like an insulin pump clipped onto the girl’s swimsuit. Moreover, it looked like she was walking on some sort of stage. What is this, I thought. A diabetes beauty pageant or something?

I was close enough! Some more investigation revealed that the girl in the picture is Sierra Sandison, a.k.a. the newly crowned Miss Idaho 2014. In the swimsuit portion of the pageant, Sierra walked onstage wearing more than just her bikini. When audience members and judges saw that she was attached to a small device with tubing, they had questions as to what its function was and why she was wearing it. Sierra bravely explained that she has type-one diabetes and that it was her insulin pump. Those with a background in diabetes care and management know how important an insulin pump is. It’s not something that can simply be removed whenever it needs to be hidden, so Sierra decided to showcase it with dignity, not shame or embarrassment, in her competition for the crown.

Sierra’s admirable fearlessness caused an internet sensation. I’m a member of multiple social media websites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Across all three, the hashtag #showmeyourpump was trending on my newsfeeds. When I clicked the hashtag, a plethora of pictures and statuses showed up featuring people with diabetes and their insulin pumps. I was scrolling through so many of them that I’m sure I only saw a sampling of the ones posted, but I could practically feel the pride each person felt when taking those pictures as I viewed them.

Not only does #showmeyourpump bring a greater sense of unity to the diabetes online community, but it spreads diabetes awareness during what I think is a critical time. Despite the many resources available today, there still seems to be a great deal of confusion among the general public when it comes to differences between type one and type two diabetes, let alone how both are treated. Sierra’s simple choice to stride out wearing her pump has generated a buzz that will help clear up some of the questions people have, as well as provide tangibility to an otherwise invisible condition.

Moreover, I think it’s wonderful that the outlet for this is a beauty pageant. Generally, the word I think of when I hear “beauty pageant” is “perfect”. To some, any sort of flaw an individual may have (whether they can help it or not) makes them less beautiful. In my opinion, and I’m sure others would agree, I think any sort of “imperfection” is what makes someone special; therefore, beautiful. So there might be some people out there who see diabetes as a flaw, something that you can’t take pride in. But Sierra, other people with diabetes, and I know that isn’t true. It’s something to embrace, something that we can use to help make the world a better place by continuing to share personal stories to offer support and knowledge to others.  

I’m grateful for Sierra and her story for symbolizing all of these things. And I may not be on the pump yet, but when I am, I can’t wait to post a picture of me wearing it without hesitation or concern that I’ll be judged for it. 

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The Never-Ending Day

I am not the kind of person to pull an all-nighter. You might scoff at that, considering I’m a college student and 21 years old. I’m not saying this means I don’t procrastinate (trust me, I do) or that I don’t have a social life that sometimes makes me stay up later than I’d like (ugh, you want to go out to the bars at what time?!). I’m merely saying that I’m a girl who likes her sleep. Actually, “cherishes” is a more accurate word than “like” in this case. So when I found out I had to wake up at 3:30 A.M. this past Monday, I wasn’t pleased about it. I was downright pissed by the end of the day when I saw the toll it took on my diabetes.

But I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. My boyfriend was shipping off to a month-long army training exercise and needed someone to bring him to the airport for an early morning flight. Truthfully, I wasn’t all that put out when he asked me to do it because it meant I could say goodbye in person.

Plus, we had everything figured out: we would spend the day before hanging out together and get to bed by 9 P.M. to ensure we’d have a decent night of sleep. Sounds simple enough, but it was far too ambitious for a couple of night owls like us. At 8 P.M. we decided it was necessary to make a run to Dairy Queen to get a couple of blizzards that we could down while we finished watching Starship Troopers, a movie we had started to watch together a few days before.

I was a smidgen concerned about the affect ice cream would have on my blood sugar, but I did my homework by checking the amount of carbohydrates in a miniature-sized “strawberry cheesequake” blizzard (47 grams! The smallest size they offer! What the heck do they put in this ice cream?!). I assumed I was reasonably prepared for my snack until I actually received it. A friend who works at Dairy Queen gave my boyfriend and I our treats for free – and doubled the sizes. I stared at the monstrosity before me and began to protest, but our friend insisted. It was (literally) a sweet gesture, but how on earth would I be able to restrain myself from eating the entire cup?

As it turns out, I have far more self-control than I thought I did. I stopped after eating only a third of the delicious treat and put the rest in the freezer. My thoughts drifted away from blood sugars as we watched our movie and passed out sometime between 10 and 11 o’clock.

A few hours later, I woke up with a full bladder that I desperately needed to relieve. Before heading to the bathroom, I glanced at my CGM and was startled to see I had climbed to the upper 200s. After checking this on my meter, I took a small bolus and assumed that my Lantus would kick in at some point and aid in the effort to get back down to a better number. I stumbled back into bed dreading the alarm that was to come a mere hour later.

Expectedly, time sped up from that point. We were awake at 3:30 and on our way to the airport by 4:15. My blood sugar remained stagnant in the 250s. At 5:55, I was making the lonely trip home after bidding farewell to Patrick. I was back at my parents’ house at 7 with a blood sugar floating in the 200s. From 7 A.M. to 10 P.M., time trudged onward slowly as I battled higher blood sugars that stubbornly stuck in the 180-220 range the entire day. Looking back on it, I’m sure I can attribute it to a combination of the stress I felt from the ordeal, the lack of sleep, and my body’s confusion at being forced to function at such an early hour. It’s another lesson learned the hard way about factors other than food, exercise, or illness coming into play concerning my blood sugars. Needless to say, I’m now in recovery mode and relishing my return to a normal night of sleep.

 

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My Transition to an Insulin Pump: Phase 1 Complete

In my blog post last week, I talked about how I’m hoping to transition to an insulin pump this summer. I know it will be a bit of an arduous process, but I’m eager to share each step of it with others in similar situations.

My Transition to an insulin pump- pretty overwhelming!

 

I don’t know how greatly the process deviates among endocrinology practices, but I assume they all follow a similar pattern. You have a regular appointment with your endocrinologist, you express your interest in using a pump, you talk it over with your doctor, and so forth. My endo was really enthusiastic about the idea and wanted me to set up an appointment with my diabetes educator pronto. So four days later, I was back in the office.

The appointment was an hour long and extremely informative. We kicked it off by testing my blood sugar. “I just want to make sure you’re not going to go low when I’m in the middle of explaining everything to you,” my educator explained. “You’d be surprised how many patients will go low, and I can tell because they don’t listen to a word I say!” A quick test told us I was safe at 149 mg/dL.

Initially, the appointment felt a little bit like a job interview. The first question she asked me was why I wanted to go on the pump. Despite being such a loaded question, I think I answered it pretty well. After a brief pause, I answered “I want to go on the pump because I want to improve my A1c. Now more than ever, I’m aware of what I do and don’t need to do when it comes to my diabetes. These days, I’m immersed in the diabetes community and I want to share the same success story that I’ve heard over and over again from other diabetics who are on the pump.”

We were both satisfied with this answer, and the appointment flowed seamlessly from there. She asked me a few more questions, and then launched into a monologue that explained the three kinds of pumps sitting on her desk. Even though I had my heart set on the OmniPod, I was still glad to hear the differences between it, the Medtronic, and the Animas Ping. It reassured me that I was choosing the device that best fit my lifestyle.

And I have to say, it was awesome to finally learn the meaning of terms like square wave bolus and basal rate. These concepts were utterly confusing to me a week ago, but now if someone were to ask me to define them, I feel confident in my ability to do so.

At the appointment’s conclusion, I was given the green light to proceed with the next step: set up an appointment with the nutritionist to get an assessment on my carb counting skills. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any open appointments until the end of July, so it looks like I’m already encountering my first speed bump on this journey. Rather than sulk about it, though, I’m going to enjoy this mini-vacation from the endocrinologist’s office. Because after driving there four times in one week, I need it.

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Transition Time…Again

I feel like word “transition” has defined my existence for the past three or so years.

At first, it was the transition from high school to college. This was marked by several sub-transitions that resulted in my greater independence and sense of responsibility. Next, the reality that I’m finishing college next semester hit and that will most certainly be another major transition in my life. And today, I realized that my next transition will be upon me in a matter of weeks as I am looking to go on an insulin pump for the first time in my life.

I’ve had diabetes for 17 years now. Over the course of that time, the technology has radically changed. As time went on and medical devices grew in number and capability, I remained staunchly in my past. I was reluctant to subject myself to the physical and mental changes associated with using these new diabetes tools – just ask my parents, they’ll tell you that I’m stubborn as a mule when it comes to this stuff. I didn’t care about the newer, sleeker, or faster models of this or that coming out at a rapid pace. I figured if what I was currently using was still in working order, then I would be, too.

But then I went on the CGM for a week-long trial period. It took some coaxing from my parents and endocrinologist, and I only gave in to appease them. And I was shocked by the outcome. The CGM completely rocked my world because I gained exposure to something I might be missing in my diabetes management. Slowly but surely, I began opening up to the idea of introducing myself to more technology.

This came to a screeching halt, though, when my mom went on the OmniPod pump. She started using it a couple weeks before a family vacation in Maine, so the timing of everything wasn’t great. She wasn’t used to it yet, so it was no wonder that she had a couple of breakdowns on our otherwise-relaxing beach getaway. Her struggles frightened me, and I asked myself, is the pump worth it? Diabetes itself takes enough of an emotional toll on me. If I didn’t need the pump, then I wouldn’t get it.

Mom’s pump experience happened a couple years ago, and she stuck with it despite her initial problems. Recently, I asked her if it really did make a difference in her A1c, and she wholeheartedly said yes, it did. Then, I couldn’t help but think about all the other people with diabetes I know: The number has increased dramatically between my affiliations with the College Diabetes Network and ASweetLife. The majority of those people use some sort of pump, and all of them seem to be doing well, if not flourishing.

With all these factors in mind, I told myself, maybe it IS worth it. I could be missing out on something that might make diabetes care significantly easier for me. You never know until you try, right? With this attitude, I went to see my endocrinologist this morning for a regular appointment. She couldn’t have been more supportive of my decision and the ball is now rolling. I will be seeing someone on the last day of June to talk about my options.

I’m excited and nervous about this change. It’s not something I take lightly; in fact, just the other day I told my mom (half-jokingly, half-seriously) that “my body is a sacred temple, I want to treat it right!” I’m hoping that the pump can help me continue to treat myself in the best possible way.

I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with anyone who reads ASweetLife. Stay tuned over the next few weeks and I’ll write updates about how the transition is going. And if you or anyone else you know has words of wisdom to share with me, I’d love to hear anything you have to say. 

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CGM Hiatus

After using a CGM for two straight years, I wondered what it would be like to take an extended break from one. I never really committed to the idea, until I had no choice. 

I’ve been CGM-free for almost two months now. I found out back in April that sensors for the Dexcom Seven are no longer available. Immediately, I thought this meant I could get a pretty new CGM (I’ve been eyeing a pink Dexcom G4 for some time now) but alas, it was not so simple. My family’s current insurance coverage won’t cover the cost of a new CGM, and it seems a bit silly to shell out copious amount of money for a device that I’ve gone without for the majority of my life.

Unfortunately, the few extra sensors I had left expired just as I learned of this news. Around my birthday, my supply was no more and I was disconnected.

At first, it was sort of liberating. It felt nice to have a break from the incessant buzzing of the machine. I didn’t have to worry about calibrating it each time I tested my blood sugar or about making sure it was fully charged. Best of all, I didn’t have to deal with it making mistakes, like telling me my blood sugar is 78 and falling rapidly when in reality it was steady at 142.

But a few weeks later, a strong sense of paranoia began to settle in, particularly at nighttime. Before, I was always comforted by the fact that my CGM would wake me up when it (correctly) sensed a low blood sugar. Of course, prior to owning a CGM I never had any major problem waking up automatically when I was low. But the CGM had fostered a sense of security that I got a little too comfortable with, and when I didn’t have it anymore, it made me anxious. So some nights before I go to sleep, I set an alarm on my phone to wake me up around 2 or 3 so I can test to make sure I’m doing okay. More often than not, this alarm isn’t even necessary and just winds up interrupting a peaceful night of sleep.

And I can’t stop dwelling on trend arrows. I find myself thinking about what my blood sugar is doing after meals; subsequently, I get nervous about whether or not my blood sugar is falling or rising rapidly. I miss having a general idea concerning what my body is doing at particular times of the day.

For now, I don’t have a choice but to continue on without my CGM. At least my time without it has made me check my blood sugar more consistently and frequently – a definite improvement. And it’s not like my diabetes management is impossible without it. So I’ll carry on, make use of the resources I do have, and be grateful for progress (and no regression).

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Would You Like Some Glucose Tablets with Your Popcorn and Soda?

I know I’ve talked about going low at my job at the movie theater before, but a couple nights ago I had a reminder of just how terribly inconvenient it can be.

My task for the evening was to go around to each cinema and ask customers if they would be willing to donate to charities that are partnered with my movie theater. It’s always nerve-wracking to speak to an auditorium full of customers anticipating a film rather than my little donation spiel, but at least the theaters are relatively dark when I make my speech. That takes a little bit of the pressure off and I can say my 30 second script with less of a quaver in my voice. Once my talk is over, I go up and down the stairs in the theater and collect any change that customers want to donate. Sounds simple enough, right? It usually is – but bear in mind that there are 15 theaters that I have to get to in a matter of an hour or so. In each individual cinema, I have a decently lengthy flight of stairs to go up and down. I’m not sure how to calculate it accurately, but I am certain of the fact that I get a fair amount of exercise when this is my responsibility.

It isn’t any wonder that halfway through the set of movies I started to feel a little off. I didn’t want to have to miss the showing of Maleficent – it just came out this weekend, and I knew there would be 150+ customers in the theater. I could get a lot of donation money that would benefit worthwhile charities. However, I also knew it would look really bad if I passed out in the middle of my speech. So I decided I should at least test my blood sugar to see if I was as low as I felt, and then I could take it from there.

It was a smart call – I was 63. For the next fifteen minutes, I found myself sitting in the water room next to cases of water and sacks of popcorn seed, waiting for my glucose tablets to kick in. I felt awful, sitting there being useless while I heard my co-workers running around and selling concessions to customers on this particularly busy Saturday night. I was aware that I was doing the best possible thing for my health in that moment, but it also really pissed me off that it happened at an inconvenient time.

But this instance again proved to me that I work with a wonderful and understanding group of people. When I re-joined everyone behind the stand, they asked me if I was doing okay and if I needed any help. Conversation from there transitioned to questions they had for me about diabetes in general, and I found myself happy to clear up confusion and help them get the facts straight. And I even had a very stimulating talk with two co-workers, Ryan and Brianna, about prospects for a cure for diabetes. I was moved by the fact that they seemed so interested in my well-being and that they genuinely wanted to learn more about diabetes itself.

It was a frustrating night at work, for sure, seeing as I had close calls with two more low blood sugars. But thanks to an endless of supply of Hi-C Fruit Punch and support from my friends, I was able to head home around 11 o’clock and go to bed with a decent blood sugar.

And much to my relief, I avoided displaying the usual awkwardness that comes with hypoglycemic symptoms in front of customers – no dizzy spells, shaking, or sweats in front of them. And I only asked if they wanted normal candies like Raisinets or Swedish Fish with their popcorns and sodas, not glucose tablets.

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May-hem

I’ve been slacking off on my blogging lately, but it’s all due to how busy the month of May has been for me. Here’s a quick recap of what’s been going on in my life:

  • May 1-2: Final Exams
  • May 3: 21st Birthday
  • May 5: Last day of finals
  • May 6: Home for the summer, my boyfriend’s birthday
  • May 8: Job Interview
  • May 10: Babysitting
  • May 11: Mother’s Day
  • May 12-16: Diabetes Blog Week, ending on my dad’s birthday
  • May 20-23: College Diabetes Network Retreat
  • May 24: Attended a friend’s wedding
  • May 28: Started a new job

It’s wild to reflect on all these events that took place over the course of a single month. It’s sort of a wonder how diabetes management was thrown into the mix and none of these occasions turned out to be a total disaster. Perhaps a reason why is the experience I had on the College Diabetes Network retreat that I attended last week.

CDN Retreat

On Tuesday, May 20th, 22 people came together in Bridgton, Maine because of one thing they all had in common: type one diabetes. 18 were student leaders of CDN chapters at various colleges around the country, 3 were part of the team that makes CDN possible, and 1 was there to film the entire experience. It sounds a bit like a reality show (#therealworldCDN, anyone?), only with fewer train wrecks and far more intelligent conversations. I spent three hours driving to the location, and even when I got to the lake house, I still had no idea what to expect when I walked through that door.

I certainly didn’t think I would bond with this group of people so quickly. You might think we hit it off right away because of our shared diabetes, but that was not the only contributing factor (really, it was only prevalent at mealtimes when we would sit down and listen to a chorus of pumps and CGMs going off). On the contrary, I think the other traits we shared outshone diabetes. In the middle of our first group discussion, I could see we each possessed certain levels of passion, motivation, commitment, leadership, and innovation that drew us closer together. It was refreshing to be around other students who shared my dedication to the CDN and its goals. And the chatter didn’t end with CDN – in our free time, we went on kayaking adventures and stayed up late watching movies, talking and getting to know each other the whole time.

72 hours later, I found it difficult to say goodbye to my newfound friends. However, I’m glad I had the chance to meet them and I’d like to thank them for reminding me (in a subtle but powerful manner) that I need to remind myself of the stronger qualities comprising my identity. I’m starting to embrace my take-charge attitude and I’m applying it now more than ever to my diabetes. It may sound trite, but the CDN retreat had a dual purpose for me. It introduced me to numerous ideas and resources that I know I will apply to my own CDN chapter and it also showed me how diabetes management really is doable despite the mayhem ruling my life. So for that, I want to say thank you to everyone who was at the retreat for making it a truly wonderful experience that helped me in more than one way. You guys are rock stars. 

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Diabetes Blog Week – Day 5: Diabetes Life Hacks

Ever since I was diagnosed with diabetes, I have tried my best to find tips and tricks that make my management of it easier. It’s taken quite a bit of effort over the years, but I’ve come up with a few tried-and-true methods that I think could be beneficial to any person with diabetes.

My first life hack involves carb calculations. It’s definitely one of the harder parts of diabetes, especially where restaurants and fast food come into play. After one too many times of “eyeballing” my food order and guessing how many carbohydrates it contains, and then suffering from a low or high blood sugar hours after the meal, I threw my hands up in the air out of frustration. I asked myself, is there any way I can look up nutritional information to nix the guessing game?

Turns out, there is! In this day and age, it’s easy to turn to the internet and ask the almighty Google about restaurant foods and carb content. Nine times out of ten, you can search for whichever restaurant you plan on going to and navigate the restaurant’s website for nutritional information. Places like Panera bread and Dunkin Donuts have nutrition calculators that provide access to calorie, fat, and protein content in addition to carbohydrates. Although this method requires some planning ahead by selecting a meal before going out, it proves to be very effective.

What if you took a spontaneous trip out and don’t have time to browse around online? If you have a smart phone, there are numerous apps available for free that can give you accurate information regarding fast food. Personally, I use the Lose It app, which functions as a weight-loss and calorie counting guide. In a pinch, it will tell you the nutritional information of brand name and restaurant foods. It is fairly inclusive and features a long list of both, making it a useful tool when trying to find out the information you need as quickly as possible.

Okay, so maybe you don’t have the carb counting troubles that I sometimes do. Maybe you’re seeking a life hack that has to do with how to correct low blood sugars. I know that I get sick of chalky glucose tablets sometimes, but what other alternatives are there? Recently, a friend with diabetes told me that she uses starburst candies to remedy a low. They are just as fast as glucose tablets, but much more palatable. Also, four starbursts contain 16 grams of carbohydrates – just like glucose. The same can generally be said for juice boxes, which I rediscovered as a nifty and portable low blood sugar fix.

I’m hoping that some of these life hacks are helpful to some of my fellow people with diabetes. I can’t wait to read about any ideas you have to share with me. After all, I’m totally a fan of anything that makes diabetes easier to take care of on a daily basis.

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Diabetes Blog Week – Day 4: Mantras and More

Today’s topic deals with what helps us get through difficult diabetes days. We all go through our slumps, but what lifts us out of them?

I recover my positivity and focus when I adapt my mother’s attitude. Recently, she told me about one of her personal mantras regarding how to be prepared for every situation. She makes sure that she has anything she could possibly need with her at all times, and reminds herself that these tools will help her stay on track. I constantly remind myself of this, and it definitely comes in handy in situations like the one I was in last night.

It was my second shift back at the movie theater for the summer. Thursday nights aren’t usually busy when school is still in session, so it was a slow shift that was made more complex when I found out I had to train a new girl in box office. I didn’t mind training her, because I like teaching people new skills at work. But when I started to feel a little shaky partway through our training, I began to feel sort of panicky. I didn’t want to whip out all of my diabetes supplies and freak out the girl, but I also knew it was important to get a reading on my blood sugar. I paused for a moment, and told myself to relax. I knew that I was armed with glucose tablets and snacks, as well as my test kit with plenty of strips and a fully charged battery. If my blood sugar was low, I was equipped with the materials I needed to address the situation.

As I went to get my supplies, I quickly explained to the girl that I have diabetes. “I just didn’t want to scare you, you know, when I draw blood to test my blood sugar,” I said nervously. (Isn’t it funny that even though I’ve had diabetes for 16+ years, I still feel awkward about having that initial diabetes conversation with someone I’m meeting for the first time?) I avoided eye contact with her and got busy with testing just so I wouldn’t see if she made a weird face or something. After a couple seconds, she said, “Oh, my dad has diabetes, too. I’m used to this kind of thing.”

I felt a small wave of relief – of course, I felt badly about her father having diabetes, but it was a small comfort that she understood the situation. We chatted for a moment about diabetes, then moved on to other topics. The brief moment of concern and tension dissolved into the air, especially after my meter told me I was 76. I wound up taking two glucose tabs just to prevent a plummeting blood sugar, and all was well.

So maybe last night is an example of not only one of my mom’s mantras, but one of mine: be open and honest with yourself (and others!) at all times as far as diabetes is concerned. This policy guarantees that my health and my feelings are taken care of in addition to me feeling more positive about sharing my diabetes with those around me. Diabetes may try its hardest to bring me down, but I’m confident in my ability to remind myself to stay optimistic and continue to fight back against it.

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Diabetes Blog Week – Day 3: What Brings Me Down

Today’s prompt gives me the chance to explore what brings me down about my diabetes. I took a great deal of time to reflect on what makes diabetes an emotional issue for me and my loved ones, and how we cope. I think I can boil it down to the physical aspect of diabetes.

What do I mean by this? I’m referring to diabetes when its effects are most visible. For the most part, diabetes is unseen. People are often surprised when they learn that I do have type one diabetes because I don’t look sick. They don’t realize that diabetes does not make itself known until the extremes of it occur. I’m talking about the horrible highs and the lousy lows, the accompanying shakes, sweats, and mood swings. When these symptoms pop up, I am all too aware of how it impacts not only me, but those around me.

For example, my parents and brother have seen how infuriating and draining a low can be when it’s taking too long to come back up. When my mom or I experience a bad low, I know that my dad and my brother feel helpless because they can’t really help us. We have to rely on glucose tablets or juice to fix the problem. Meanwhile, they watch as we deal with feelings of disorientation and annoyance as a result of the low.

My boyfriend goes through the same thing. There were a few times throughout the semester when I woke up with a low blood sugar in the middle of the night. Even though it may have happened at 2 A.M., my first instinct still was to text my boyfriend so he could talk me through it. Of course, most of the time he would sleep through the text message, which made him feel even worse in the morning when he woke up and read about my poor night of sleep.

High blood sugars can also affect the emotionality of diabetes for me and my loved ones. Sometimes, I find myself blaming my snappy attitude on a high blood sugar. I become irrational and it makes it difficult for people to deal with me when I get like this. I know it isn’t fair, but it’s my emotional reaction to a high blood sugar. It causes tension when it happens, and it increases those feelings of helplessness that my loved ones feel because they know my insulin is the only thing that can truly remedy a bad blood sugar.

Even though the physical effects of diabetes are major emotional hurdles, I find that my loved ones and I help each other cope by talking through them. In the past, I’ve talked about how important it is to me to have a support system, and I’m lucky enough to have one that is strong and within reach when I need to discuss my diabetes. People say communication is key regarding many arenas in life, and I believe that diabetes is one of them.

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