Tag: blood sugar

What Diabetes Really Is: (Spoiler) It's Not a Unicorn Frappuccino

What Diabetes Really Is: (Spoiler) It’s Not a Unicorn Frappuccino

What Diabetes Really Is: (Spoiler) It’s Not a Unicorn Frappuccino

Diabetes…

How do I describe diabetes?

Or what is it like to live with it?

When you look on the internet it’s defined as mostly cookies, cake, BigMac’s, and a Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks. A Unicorn Frappuccino is loaded with sugar, but it WILL NOT cause the onset of Type 1 Diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes– where the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. And Type 2 Diabetes– where the body doesn’t use insulin properly and can sometimes be controlled with diet and exercise. But genetics can also play into Type 2, where it had nothing to do with one’s lifestyle. But I digress…

It’s funny right?

Sometimes I question whether I’m too sensitive about it. Whether it’s not that big of a deal. Right?! You have to laugh to get through life.

I get it. The memes are humorous to those who don’t know anything about it. Ignorance is bliss. But is the disease humorous? Is it really? I mean I wish I could laugh it off.

But I face this monster everyday. And it is a monster. It’s not funny. It’s not a joke.

When I was diagnosed

My mom didn’t know the signs of diabetes. No one in my family had diabetes. I had symptoms similar to the flu: fatigue, thirst, weight loss. Little did I know that my pancreas stopped producing insulin. I was slowly dying and by the grace of god I managed to get diagnosed just in time. I now needed insulin injected into my body for the rest of my life in order to sustain life. It’s easily misdiagnosed and many die because so many people including doctors are misinformed about this disease.

I was 12 years old! No, nothing I ate caused this. My mom cried and blamed herself thinking she caused this. The stigma is that diabetes is self induced. That if you live a healthy, active lifestyle you’ll never get diabetes. THAT’S FALSE. I was diagnosed at 12 with type 1 diabetes and my life changed forever. It wasn’t funny then and it’s not funny now.

I grew up hiding my diabetes.

Kids at school would make fun of me. I didn’t want to be different. “Oh did you get diabetes from eating too much sugar?” “I heard if you eat a balanced diet you can cure it.” I’ve pretty much heard everything you can think of. People have laughed in my face about my own disease. But nobody knows what happens behind closed doors. They think it’s a “food” disease. Well that insulin I need to stay alive, also can potentially kill me. It’s a 24/hr job to stay alive.

Unless you personally experience diabetes and it’s many affects you just won’t get it. I understand that. There’s been many times where I’ve gone unconscious from a low blood sugar, I’ve had a seizure, I’ve been hunched over in pain from DKA (where my body wasn’t receiving enough insulin). I would do anything to cure this disease. To get rid of this monster. To not have this disease inflicted on anyone, not have the fear of losing limbs or damaging organs, and not have the fear of suddenly dying.

This all seems harsh and dramatic.

But unfortunately it is.

Yes, life is tough. But so is diabetes.

I don’t let this disease define me.

But I sure won’t let others define my disease as something it’s not.


share a story


 

I Won't Go Down Without a Fight

I Won’t Go Down Without a Fight

I Won’t Go Down Without a Fight

(I’m 15 years old at the time)

Brittany, what’s your blood sugar?” My mother asks after I get home from school.

Umm… 136.” A number I randomly blurt out without testing what my blood sugar actually was.

I go in my room and glance over at my unused lancets and test strips. I know what’s it’s there for. I know I’m supposed to take care of myself.

But why aren’t I? Why am I fighting against it?

I go to lay down, I’m tired, and I don’t feel right. I fall asleep…

(A half hour or so slips by)

Hi Brittany, My name is John , I’m an EMT and we’re here to help youCan you tell me what your name is?

“...Brittany“, I reply.

“Great Brittany, do you know why we’re here?”

My diabetes?” As I let out a deep saddened sigh.

Yes, your blood sugar was 19.”

We gave you a shot of dextrose. Please drink this juice and eat this sandwich to stabilize your blood sugar.”

Thank you“, I reply as I’m still very dazed and confused as to what’s going on.

My mother hugs me and begs me “please take better care of yourself“.

As tears fall from her face. I see the frantic look in her eyes.

Once I’m back to full consciousness, it sets in. I melt down. I cry, and this isn’t a normal cry. This is painful and it hurts and all the anger releases from within me in full despair.

The feeling of helplessness, guilt, shame because I feel weak… I feel tested… I feel numb… I feel unworthy of all these extra chances I get.

I feel like I’m letting everyone down… I’m letting myself down. I feel like a failure at a disease I never asked for. Something I could have never prevented.

All I can think about when I take my insulin injections is if I don’t take enough I could end up with amputation, loss of eyesight, kidney failure, heart disease and various complications.

I think about how even if I have great control, there is still a risk. It overwhelms me. I went from having a care free childhood to having a fear of dying in my sleep from a low blood sugar or too soon from complications.

This isn’t the typical “teenage reality”. I’m sick and there’s nothing I can do to fix it. No denial, begging, or lashing out will make my situation better.

I’m my own worst enemy and the only person who can save me in the end, is me. It’s the most terrifying and debilitating feeling having this burden riding on my back.

It took awhile but this process has changed me. I came to grips with knowing I only had one choice. Which was to fight. So I did. I let it in. I embraced the unknown. I rose above the darkness that consumed me. I continued to get up everyday to fight the same demons that left me tired from the night before.

I went from crawling to walking to eventually running. I didn’t want diabetes to win. I knew that this wasn’t going to be easy. But I knew what was on the line.

I knew I would fail, which I have. It took much trial and error. But I’ve learned to get back up, brush myself off, and keep going. To not let the fear overcome me and dwindle my spirit. To honor and respect the journey, for it has led me to here.

To not go down without a fight…


share a story


 

What a Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

What A Low Blood Sugar Feels Like

Here I am again.

Where I find myself vulnerable and exposed to the most unsettling and debilitating aspect of diabetes that consumes my mind and body in a short amount of time.

A low blood sugar which was caught unexpectedly and suddenly. A low blood sugar or (hypoglycemia) meaning that my glucose level drops below 70 mg/dL and I now starve for energy.

It’s a feeling I know all too well, and I feel as weak as I did the last time. I can’t run from it but only bear through it, fix it, and come out of it once again.

It has caught me dead in my tracks. I urge to resist this constraint it has over me. “No I’m fine”, I think to myself. “My meter must be inaccurate”.

But I know that I’m not okay.

I’m tired, even more than I usually am (if that’s even possible). All I want to do is lay down and go to sleep. I know that this is my body wanting to shut down.

My mind is the first to trail off, and my body takes a little longer to catch up.

I start to feel confused, dazed, and slightly numb to my surroundings. I start to lose myself in the moment and focus heavily on something random.

It takes a minute or two to take in what’s going on. It’s as if time is standing still… The earth is still revolving… the clock is still ticking… but I’m not all there.

I catch myself, and then gain a sense of adrenaline.

My body uses the rest of the energy it has stored, and I go off of instinctual impulse or what you would call a (fight-or-flight response). I now become frantic, I’m looking for food, I’m sweaty, eyes are blurry, I’m fumbling my words, and somewhat disorientated. I can’t keep my train of thought. All I know is that I need sugar, fast.

I scramble for food and juice. Wrappers and crumbs everywhere. I’m not hungry, but the feeling of mortality creeps in which food is my only savior. I eat whatever I can find and is easily accessible. Five minutes feels like an eternity waiting for my blood sugar to rise.

Once the glucose enters my blood, my body starts to feel tingly. I can start to regain my thoughts, and I feel like the instant sensation of a breath of fresh air.

It’s almost like it was a dream or an out of body experience. I feel in despair over the power this disease has over me. How I am now fully present to the world, but felt so absent minutes before.

The worst part of having a low blood sugar like this is being alone through it.

With having this constant battle with this disease, there’s no perfection. I’m fighting so hard, and as much as I make it look effortless, deep down I’m exhausted.

What’s even crazier is that this chaos has become normal to me. I’ve become less aware of the lows, as my body changes its response to it. Meaning I’m used to self-destructing. I’m constantly seeking normal blood sugars but often falling a little short.

I think the real challenge lies within trying to find control over a uncontrollable disease.

But here I am…

Fighting against all odds.


share a story


 

11 Type 1 Diabetic Misconceptions

11 Type 1 Diabetic Misconceptions

I’ve had Type One Diabetes for quite some time now – 14 years to be exact – and within those amount of years I’ve become fully aware of how misunderstood Type One Diabetes actually is. I’ve heard an endless amount of diabetic misconceptions. It’s hard living in a world where you’re placed in a category with Type Two Diabetes as well. Don’t get me wrong, we all fight a hard battle – but it’s each our own. It’s two completely different diseases in my eyes.

I’m here to set the record straight…

(11) Type 1 Diabetic Misconceptions:

1. “Did you get diabetes from eating sugar or gaining weight?”

Type One occurs when your body attacks the cells in the pancreas that produces insulin. There’s no specific rhyme or reason behind why this happens. It’s possible to occur due to genetics or environmental causes, but there is no significant proof to back these theories. But what I ate or my weight was definitely not the cause. This is on the top of the list of most common diabetic misconceptions.

2.”Should you be eating that?” 

Yes, I can eat that slice of cake! The myth that diabetics can’t have sugar needs to be thrown out the window right now! I can eat sweets in moderation, along with proper insulin management.

3.”Does using needles hurt?”

Of course, they hurt but I don’t have a choice in the matter. I don’t enjoy having to poke myself several times a day. But unfortunately, I have to in order to stay alive.

4.”My Grandma has diabetes”

Okay, stop right there. Yes, there are Type One Diabetics out there that are grandmothers, which I can totally relate to. But when you finish the sentence with “well she has Type Two” – “she manages with pills” – or “she just has to diet”,  let’s not compare.

5.”Shouldn’t you have this figured out by now?”

No, I wish diabetes was that easy. It’s like trying to figure out a Rubik’s cube every day, only for something to change, and have to start all over again. I can never perfect my diabetes. I constantly need to make adjustments, and all I can do is try to manage my diabetes to the best of my ability with proper diet, insulin, and exercise.

6.”Can you have kids?” “Will they get Diabetes?”

Yes, you can have children with diabetes. You’re considered at a higher risk, but with proper control before and during pregnancy, you’re less likely of complications. Statistics show the odds may be greater with your children getting Type One, but on the other hand, there’s plenty of Type One Diabetics (such as myself) where this diagnosis doesn’t run in the family. So who’s to really say?

7.My sugars low – “Does that mean you need insulin?”

Absolutely not! That would be life threatening in this situation. When my sugar is low I need the energy from food to be able to function normally.

8.”What’s your blood sugar?” “Is that good or bad?”

Honestly, I really can’t answer this one. I’m constantly aiming for a perfect blood sugar number. Trying to keep my blood sugar in a good range is like walking a tightrope, hoping not to fall. I live in a different normal of what’s “good or bad” with my blood sugars, compared to non-diabetics. I have to maintain a good control while being able to function every day.

9.”Let me give you some advice.”

Are you a Diabetic? Are you a physician? If not, just please stop! Just because you can talk the talk – doesn’t mean you can walk the walk.

10.”It could be worse.”

Of course, it could be. I’m thankful that I have a disease that can be managed and can still live a long life. But please don’t make light of the struggle that I go through. It’s not the best situation, but I’m making the best out of it.

11.”I heard there’s a cure.”

There is no cure, however, there continues to be research conducted in order to find a cure. Currently, there are future prospects, but all we can do right now is keep fighting and pray for a cure in the near future.

What’s are some diabetic misconceptions that you despise? Please share! ***