Tag: low blood sugar

1001 Hypos –

By: Camilla Roelants


I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just over 19 months ago. With an average of 10 times daily, that’s close to 6000 times I have pricked my fingers to check my BG levels. So far, I have given myself 1743 bolus injections, and 581 basal injections – a total of 2324. I was never a big fan of needles, and I still am not.

Like many other Type 1s, I have heard from others, time and time again, this comment: ” But how do you inject yourself every day? I literally couldn’t”. I smile at the naive remark, but here’s the deal: Yes, you could.

If you had to inject yourself multiple times a day in order to stay alive – no matter how afraid of needles you are – you would, I guarantee you this. It isn’t a matter of choice. Not when your life hangs in the balance. But although I am not a fan of needles, ( and even now, 2500 injections later, I still have to give myself a mini pep-talk beforehand) , for me personally, injections have not been the worst part of having Type 1 Diabetes.

In fact, top of the list for me is hypoglycemia. These past 19 months, I have had on average 2 episodes of hypoglycemia per day. In 19 months, that’s over 1000 hypos. One thousand. One thousand times I have felt at death’s door, my heart racing, my hands shaking, my brain temporarily impaired.

When I was diagnosed, the focus from my medical team was on keeping my blood glucose levels as low as possible. Having been diagnosed in pregnancy, there were huge risks to my baby’s development in running high blood sugars, and I did everything in my power to follow the guidelines and keep my BG levels low – successfully, may I add.

But as a consequence, I had hypos. A lot of hypos. Anytime I expressed my concerns about these numerous hypos, I was told that I had “a high sensitivity to insulin”, and that it would ” sort itself out ” once my baby was born.

The medical team was “not currently concerned”. So I put up with it, my number one priority being my unborn baby’s wellbeing, and assumed that the multiple hypos were just part of the T1 package. Fast forward to 38 weeks gestational, and I had to fast for 12 hours before delivery of my son by C-section.

I was worried about how I would be able to keep my BG levels up, as I was being put on am insulin drip. I expressed my concerns to the medical staff on the labour ward, but I was told my BG levels would be closely monitored, and that I need not be worried.

At 7 a.m the next morning, I began to feel “off”, and did a fingerprick to check my levels. At 3.5 mmol/l (63 mg/dL) it was dropping. I checked again, 5 minutes later, and it was 2.6 mmol/l (46 mg/dL). I immediately pressed the distress button for the midwives. 5 more minutes passed, and no midwife had come.

At this stage, I was in full-blown panic. With hands shaking like leaves, I somehow managed to prick my finger again. 1.1 mmol/l (19 mg/DL). And still dropping. My heart was racing, I was sweating profusely, my entire body was trembling, and I struggled to maintain consciousness.

Finally, the midwife entered the room, and asked me if I was OK. Her voice sounded far, far away, and my vision was blurry from the tears I had not even noticed were streaming down my face in buckets. I found I was unable to speak; my brain refused to cooperate and tell my lips to move.

I gathered all the strength I had, and managed to shake my head, and lift my meter up, ever so slightly. She glanced at it, then turned on her heels and fled from the room in a panic, returning seconds later with an army of midwives.

Two of the nurses were armed with Glucagon pens, which were immediately injected intravenously into each of my thighs. Several minutes later, my BG levels had shot up to 16.5 mmol/l (297). I felt like I had just boxed 3 rounds with Mc Gregor. But my beautiful baby boy was born two hours later, weighing in at nearly 10lb, and although he had slightly low blood glucose levels at birth, he was fine.

Since then I have continued to suffer from hypoglycemia, every day. And every day, with each hypo, I worry about what damage it is causing, especially to my heart and brain. Since I often have heart palpitations when having a hypo, this means that for at least half an hour each day, my heart is in tachycardia.

For at least half an hour each day, my brain is impaired, and my vital organs are starved of glucose. For at least half an hour each day, I feel like I’m dying. Luckily for me, I still have good hypo awareness, and therefore I have never needed medical assistance to treat a hypo – I have never passed out from one, as I have always managed to treat them in time – 1000 times.

I have read up on hypoglycemia a lot in the past 19 months, and it is clear to me that it represents a major risk factor in terms of cardiac events and brain impairment (i.e early onset Alzheimer’s) down the line.

My endocrinologist recently asked me an interesting question. He asked me: “What is it that worries you the most, in terms of your Diabetes?” To which I replied: “Dying young, and not seeing my children grow up”. My biggest fear is that that’s exactly what will happen, if I don’t get a handle on this. And the thought alone terrifies me.


You know you're a type 1 diabetic when

You Know You’re a Type 1 Diabetic When

Having Type 1 Diabetes is challenging yet it becomes part of our everyday routine. To the outside world what a type 1 diabetic deals with may seem unimaginable, but to those in the diabetes community we totally get it and can find humor in our everyday lives.

The Best of ‘You Know You’re a Type 1 Diabetic When’

1. You accidentally cut yourself and wonder if you can get enough blood to test your sugar.

2. Explaining to worried teenagers in the public restroom….”I am taking an insulin shot because I am a type 1 diabetic, I’m not a junkie”.

3. When you look at food and see numbers.

4. When your finger tips look like they need blackhead removal.

5. You have a drawer of candy for emergencies.

You know you're a type 1 diabetic when

7. When you’re scooping out the very last scoop of ice cream from the container and haven’t had time to bolus for it yet and your husband comes into the kitchen and wants some and you look at him innocently and say “oh, I’m sorry I just bolused for that”.

8. When you wake up with a test strip stuck to your face.

9. When someone tells you that cinnamon can fix all your problems.

10. You are up all night correcting or being forced fed when all you want to do is sleep.

11. When someone thinks you’re drunk but you are really just low.

12. When the butter compartment in your fridge is no longer used for butter.

Credit: Childrens Diabetes Foundation

13. When your outfit revolves around if it can hold your pump up or not.

14. One day your fasting can be a perfect 77 and the next day it’s 343.

15. When your handbag is the size of a suitcase to carry all your diabetes stuff around plus your ‘normal’ stuff.

16. When you have to pee like a race horse in a Kentucky derby.

17. When your mom, in front of everyone says, “baby, you are high!”

18. When you get up during the night going low, invade the goodies cupboard and turn into a complete savage then wake in the morning like you’ve been out drinking too much.

19. When you wanna punch someone in the face but turns out you just need a snack.

20. You have headaches and you think your sugar is really high but you realize its just a normal headache.

You know you're a type 1 diabetic when

22. You’re cramming gummy bears in your mouth while prepping dinner.

23. When you automatically know what your pump is telling you without looking because of the sound it’s making.

24. When you chew open the corner of a juice box for a 3 am crash after losing the straw.

25. Your wallet is empty.

26. When your zombie apocalypse plan involves looting a pharmacy, a cooler, and travel to a colder climate.

27. You are excited beyond words to see a sugar-free line of drinks from Monster Energy.

you know you're a type 1 diabetic when

29. When you tell people you have to shoot up to avoid getting high!

30. You’re excited that you’re blood sugar is low because you really have been wanting to eat. [Fill in the blank with your favorite cheat food].

31. When you get excited from receiving your medical supply shipment in the mail.

32. You pull a pump out of your bra at the dinner table.

33. When you are skilled at giving yourself a shot in a moving vehicle.

34. You buy all the holiday candy for your low “stash”.

35. When you’re the only person in the gym with candy and juice boxes.

36. When someone asks you for your phone number but you give them your blood sugar number.

you know you're a type 1 diabetic when

38. When insulin is LIFE.

39. When you blame being in a bad mood on your sugar being high.

40. Your worst and best subject is math.

41. When you have to eat before you go out to eat.

**Comment with your favorite ‘You Know You’re a Type 1 Diabetic When’


you know you're a type 1 diabetic when

thank god I woke up

Thank God I Woke Up

Thank God I Woke Up

By: Katharine Orona

Blog: This is Type 1 Diabetes


When you go to sleep at night you generally expect to wake up in the morning. When you have a chronic illness like Type 1 Diabetes, you try everything you can to make sure you will wake up the next morning.

You do everything right. But sometimes it’s not enough.

I am thankful to have technology that helps me stay alive, but I understand that technology is not perfect and sometimes things can still go wrong. Two weeks ago I went to bed like any other night, but woke up early the next morning with an intense feeling of desperation that I know all too well. My blood sugar was dropping. Fast.

I looked at my phone to check my Dexcom app and it read 74 (which wouldn’t normally give me these symptoms). I knew the reading had to be wrong so I woke my husband up and told him to get me juice FAST. He did, along with my meter so I can see how much juice I might need. My meter read 49. And I can tell I was dropping to a lower number quickly, so I drank a 2nd juice.

The next 15 minutes felt like 15 hours. Heart racing, rapid breathing, physiology kicking in and telling you that you need more sugar now. But I know I must wait. It finally came back up and I woke up a couple of hours later at a completely normal blood sugar of 123.

Then I thought to myself, what if that 49 didn’t wake me up? What would’ve happened to me?

I clearly needed those 30 grams of carbs I drank since my blood sugar didn’t spike later. If I didn’t drink it, what would that morning have looked like for my family? Panic set in. The feelings of what if and the feelings of reality kicking in came over me. But why did my blood sugar drop so low?

Why do these things happen even if you live your life by a calculator and you dose your insulin as best you can and you try so hard? Because. Diabetes.

Diabetes has no rhyme or reason. Sometimes 2 + 2 does not equal 4. And sometimes you wake up before the sun because God decided that today is not that day. Today you will wake up. You will wake up before it’s too late.

Today, you will survive. And two weeks later, I’m still thankful.


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My Guardian Angel –

The other night was one of those times where I needed saving. Some may say it could be timing, coincidence, or luck. But to me, it’s nothing short of a guardian angel.

I go to sleep, but this time my CGM didn’t alert me of a low blood sugar. A simple malfunction or loss of signal perhaps. Any other night I would get alerted, wake up, and care for my blood sugar. But not this night.

On the other side of the house a smoke alarm beeps 3 times. My husband wakes up quickly and goes to figure out where the loud noise is coming from. There’s no fire, no one awake in the house but himself, and it never went off again after he woke up – (Even days later).

He then goes to check on me. Puts his hand on my chest and notices that I’m sweating profusely. He wakes me up and I feel weak and confused. He hands me a handful of M&M’s and as I eat I slowly start to become alert and well.

I thank him for waking me up. I feel distraught on how I can do so good for so long and have just ONE bad night with diabetes. He asks me if I heard the smoke alarm going off and I said no. It didn’t click in then, but the next day I really thought about weird that was.

It doesn’t surprise me though. And it’s not the first time something like this has happened where I feel protected in some way. It’s comforting and reassuring that someone is looking after me. I believe my husband is my assigned guardian angel.

I think having a guardian angel is a way of saying “I know you can’t do this alone and you’ll never have to. An angel is there to protect you.”


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Daily Thoughts Of a Person With Diabetes

Daily Thoughts Of a Person With Diabetes

My day to day life revolves around diabetes. As much as I like to tell myself that it doesn’t control my life, to a certain extent it does. I forget sometimes how often I think about my diabetes, from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep it’s on my mind.

Here are some of my daily thoughts with diabetes:

Just waking up I check my blood sugar, it’s 163. Okay, how much insulin do I need to inject to bring it down slightly and to be able to eat breakfast?

Do I have enough insulin? How long until I run out? Am I due for a refill soon? How much will my insulin cost when I go to pick it up? Will I be able to afford this?

My CGM (continuous glucose monitor) is beeping a low alarm. How low is it? What should I eat or drink? How much should I eat or drink to bring it back up to a safe number?

I want to go out to lunch this afternoon. How many test strips should I bring? Do I have enough insulin in my insulin pump or should I change it prior? What if my blood sugar drops too low or goes high? Do I have enough snacks? Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

I’m eating dinner. How will this meal affect my blood sugar? Did I bolus? Will the insulin I gave myself prior be sufficient enough? What if I miscalculated? Will I need to correct?

Credit: Type 1 Diabetes Memes

I’m out of the house. My blood is low and I’m not feeling well. Do I tell everyone around me? Where can I sit down and take care of my diabetes? Why are people staring at me?

My blood sugar is high. Why is it high? I did everything that I normally do but my blood sugar won’t come down. Why do I feel so sick? Should I test my ketones? Should I go to the ER? Could it be DKA? Why is diabetes so frustrating?

Just put a new insulin pump site on. Is it on correctly? Why is my blood sugar rising? Could the cannula be bent? Should I take it off and put on a new one? I would hate to have to waste a site if it’s fine.

It’s midnight and my blood sugar is low. What should I eat? How long before my sugar rises? I hope it comes up soon because I’m tired. What if it doesn’t rise and I fall back asleep?

I’m working out and my blood sugar is dropping. Should I stop my workout? Should I eat something and continue working out? Should I disable my insulin pump?

My blood sugar trends have been wacky lately. Should I change my basal rates? What if I’m just combating hormones or sickness? Should I bolus more for my meals? What adjustment is needed without going too high or low throughout the day?

Packing for a trip. How much insulin should I bring? How will I keep my insulin refrigerated? How many infusion sites, sensors, lancets, and test strips should I pack?

Diabetes is demanding and it requires constant attention.

Trying to mimic a pancreas is no easy feat. Everyday I make choices for my health, and those choices have a huge impact on my life. Going over my daily thoughts I have just proves how much work I put into my diabetes, and my life everyday.


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A Night In The Life Of a Type 1 Diabetic

I wrote this poem last night at 3 a.m. Seems like almost every night I am up at that time. Truth be told though I am not alone. Multitudes of others share a similar experience when caring for someone with this disease. If you know someone with Type 1 Diabetes and they are managing it so well know that there is a whole lot of hard work behind it.


A Night In The Life of a Type 1 Diabetic

By: Mary Williams

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray to God I catch some Zzz’s.
The first alarm goes off at 12
Time to make sure all is still well

A blood sugar reading of 65.
Time to down juice to keep her alive.
“Wake up sleepy head, it’s that time of night
Wake up so momma can make you alright.”

15 minutes later its time to re-poke
A drop of blood reveals its time for some Coke
Still too low to go to bed.
So we patiently wait to lay our weary heads.

15 minutes go by and the Alarm bell rings
Another drop of blood…141 it sings.
Set the alarm to wake up at 3.
My head hits the pillow and my alarm startles me.

Another drop of blood into the machine.
350 is what it now currently screams!
Freakity Frack!
I want our old lives back.

Time for a shot to bring them back down.
Set the alarm for 6 this time around.
My head hits the pillow its time for a snooze.
The alarm interrupts The Rock giving me booze,

On a nice sandy beach, enjoying a walk.
The alarms jolts me back to type 1 diabetes talk.
Another drop of blood says she needs to wake up.
65 again! This royally sucks.

night in the life of a type 1 diabetic

Time to down juice, we know the routine
I hate this disease, it makes me feel mean.
Another drop of blood is what I request
From small little hands that are trying their best

To be brave when the needles cause so much pain
Fingers riddled with scars is what has been gained
And now its time to start a brand new day,
With one step forward, there’s no other way.

Sleep is for the privileged and caffeine is on ice
A cure for type 1 diabetes sure would be nice.
To be rid of the burden that this disease brings
Would ease this mommy’s mind and end my baby’s suffering.


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The Diabetic Honeymoon Phase

The Diabetic Honeymoon Phase

By: Camilla Roelants


The Diabetic Honeymoon Phase. I often wonder who decided to call it that, and what on earth they were thinking.

The word “honeymoon” evokes in me images of newly-weds, skipping along the beach, hand in hand under a glorious sun, beaming, happy faces, relaxed and care-free, their excitement at starting this new adventure together near palpable.

Not the ugly reality of this particular honeymoon – the dying process of the islet cells of my pancreas, under auto immune attack, slowly but surely losing all ability to produce the insulin I need to live.

Sixteen months into my Type 1 Diabetes honeymoon phase and I feel exhausted from it all.

This time has been fraught with hurdles and worries and struggles. Despite having done everything in my power to gain control, blood glucose levels have been erratic.

The dying beta cells in my pancreas occasionally and unpredictably produce a little bit of insulin, causing chaos where I have already bolused according to my insulin to carb ratio at mealtimes. I suffer frequent, sudden and terrifying episodes of hypoglycemia.

honeymoon phase

I’ll be doing something very mundane – reading, cooking, or even just chatting to someone on the phone. When I suddenly realize that I’m feeling “off”.

I usually can’t put my finger on it immediately – my brain is already starting to become impaired.

I can’t think straight. I stop whatever it is that I’m doing. Mid-sentence, mid-shower, mid anything. I stumble, and mumble ” check levels ” to myself.

At this point, I have eyes only for my meter. I put a test strip in. Prick my finger. I notice my hands are shaking. My five year old is asking me something. It sounds distant, although he’s standing right next to me, tugging at my T-shirt.

“Not now Darling, Mummy needs to check her sugars. I can’t talk right now, sorry.”

honeymoon phase

My meter is counting down -those 5 seconds seem interminable. My son is still talking, but I can’t concentrate.

Before my meter tells me, I know. I know I’m low, because already my heart is racing. I’ve broken out in a sweat, and everything is fuzzy, spinning around me. I’m shaking like a leaf.

I feel like I’m dying, for lack of a better description.

Need. Sugar. Now. A feeling of panic washes over me. I grab what’s at hand. Fizzy soda, fruit juice, sugary tea, or glucose tablets.

Some of those choices might not be the best from a nutritional point of view, but right now I really couldn’t care less. I would do anything to not feel like this, feel like I’m about to fall off a cliff into the abyss if I don’t deploy my parachute fast enough.

The soda, the juice, the tea, the tablets, are my parachutes.

Any one of them will do. As I gulp down my sugary remedy as fast as I possibly can, I grit my teeth. I know the feeling won’t go away for 15 minutes or so, which is how long it will take for the sugar to be absorbed into my bloodstream. I take a few deep breaths, in the hope this might help my heart slow its alarming rate.

I give myself a few seconds, then turn to my son, and say:
“I’m sorry love, I’m having a hypo and so I need to take some glucose, but I’ll be OK again now in a minute and we can have a proper chat then.” I smile at him reassuringly.

I have a terrible urge to drink more, and a hunger beyond compare – as if drinking more or eating half a packet of something might help me shake this god awful feeling quicker. But I know this is untrue. I resist the urge.

I know the 150ml I’ve just drank will bring me back up into a normal blood glucose range. All I can do is wait and hope my 9 month old won’t wake from his nap during the next few minutes. The lows leave me feeling very tired, as if I’ve just done a couple of rounds of boxing.

They are often followed by rebound hyperglycemia, where my blood glucose levels become too elevated. Prolonged episodes of hyperglycemia can cause long term complications, and in the short term can lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

Hyperglycemia will also leave you feeling bone-tired and lethargic. Hypoglycemia – due to the effect on the brain’s ability to function and episodes of tachycardia- can cause cardiac arrest and cognitive impairment down the line.

It seems you just can’t win with this disease.

It is impossible to predict how long this honeymoon will last for, as it varies from one person to another. For some it is a matter of weeks, others a matter of months, or even years. It looks like in my case, it’s the latter.

A honeymoon is supposed to be a joyous, stress-free occasion. But this honeymoon is the exact opposite. It still isn’t over, and already I want a divorce!



 

This Is My Low With Diabetes

This Is My Low With Diabetes

Michelle Meyer


My eyes are heavy and dry and sometimes watery. They’re tired. My breathing is slow. And fast. Heavy and shallow. So tired. My thoughts are jumbled. Scattered. Confused. Angry. Sad. Scared. Tired. Too tired and/or confused to speak.

My body is weak, shaky, hot, sometimes sweaty. Tired. I’m thirsty, hungry.

I’m too tired to get up to get some sugar. I’m too tired to think about what I need to do. My head is too heavy to hold up. My jaw is too tired to chew. I’m too tired to swallow. I need to pee but I’m too tired. My heart is beating so fast.

I’m going to cry. I just want to curl up and get cozy. Fall asleep. I probably won’t ever wake up. I need to move. Stumble to the other room. Stand and stare. What was I doing? Why am I in here?

Oh! Grab my low blood sugar stash. Force myself to eat it while trying to remember how to breathe. No, don’t close your eyes. Chew. Swallow. Again. Get my glucometer and unzip the case.

this is my low with diabetes

Try to pry open the strips container without spilling them all over. Get just one of them into the tiny little opening the right way. Stab my finger and try to milk enough blood out so my glucometer can tell me exactly where I’m at. Try to make sense of the number.

Nevermind. I can look later. I know I’m low.

Try to remember to set the reminder timer to do it all over again in fifteen minutes. Stay awake. Breathe.

Sometimes after a few minutes, I feel safe enough and my next blood sugar check will be okay so that I can rest after starting to die. Sometimes I need to still keep trying to do life while still dealing with the after effects of starting to die.

Sometimes I continue dying for hours and have to just keep fighting to stay awake and breathe and think enough to remember to keep trying to nurse myself back to life even though I’m nauseated and full from eating and drinking.

There have been many times when I couldn’t stay awake or didn’t wake up to begin with and have gone into seizures. Sometimes after getting my blood sugars to a better, safe level, they go too high and then I have to deal with another set of effects/symptoms and another fight to get them to come back down to normal, safe levels.

I do this almost daily. Sometimes multiple times a day.

This is just one tiny part of my life but it’s a really HUGE part!

So many contradictions. So much fighting. So much exhaustion. Constant and consistent thoughts about if, when, where, why, how. Almost daily, I save my own life.

I am exhausted but I am also a fighter. I am strong! I am a type 1 diabetic and this is my low.



 

Diabetes: A Disease That Has Become My Life

Diabetes: A Disease That Has Become My Life

Diabetes: A Disease That Has Become My Life

By: Megan Mckay


Diabetes.

A disease consuming me,
Taking every inch of me,
Destroying any control I had left.

A disease that has become my life,
Making my body ache,
Craving perfection that will never come.

Not eating when you’re hungry,
Eating when the disease tells you to,
Too much insulin,
Not enough food,
A cascade of fatality sets in place.

Do you know what a low feels like?
Where your mind loses control,
Sweating,
Shaking,
Barely surviving as you race to get help,
Consuming anything that’s in sight,
Your only goal,
To save your life.

But,
You eat too much,
It happens more times than you’d believe,
The taste of Ketones in your mouth,
A body getting tired,
Eyes aching,
Mind fogging,
Insulin,
Your body craves it,
So you do as it demands,
You take it,
And oh my,
You just hope it’s enough
(Or maybe you hope it’s not too much),
And they wonder why we don’t have better control.

A constant battle,
From the moment you open your eyes,
Your first concern?
Blood sugar,
Is it too low or too high?
Can I eat breakfast today?
Can I even make it out of bed?
When will it end.

Not many get it,
But I do,
We do,
The battle within your own body,
A fight against yourself to stay alive,
I only hope one day the battle will stop,
The cure will come and the worries will fade,
One day,
I hope you wake up in the morning and do whatever the hell you want do.

~MM


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My 3 AM wake up call

My 3 AM Low Blood Sugar Wake Up Call

It’s around 3 AM and I wake up out of a restless sleep.

I believe it to be my natural instinct kicking in or a guardian angel telling me to wake up and check my blood sugar. I then go to check only to find out that I’m low (40 mg/dl) and headed straight down.

My CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) is setting off alarms with an “URGENT LOW” alert. I can now hear it echoing throughout the house. It takes me a minute to grasp what’s going on as I gather the little energy I have in me. My mind is telling me to jump right up but it takes my body a minute to catch up.

I then head to the kitchen and find a juice box, crackers, and anything I can find. I fumble to open the juice box as I’m frantic and lost. My body is trembling, I then drink the entire juice box in a matter of a few seconds. I then sit down and scarf down everything else I have, and I still feel weak and disorientated.

I look at my CGM meter and it’s not signaling upwards yet. I sit for a moment to let the sugar get absorbed and the adrenaline starts to pull away from me.

That’s when it usually hits me and I realize that this isn’t a dream. No, rather a terrifying nightmare but in the end I’m thankfully able to save myself once again. I’m frightened because I think of the “what ifs”. As I look back down at my meter my blood sugar is beginning to rise.

That’s when the mental and physical numbness starts to diminish. I feel myself again. I feel tired. I feel exhausted. But I’m alive. This is my normal, something that I’m fully acquainted with, and even after years of managing it still leaves me uneasy at times.

My 3 AM wake up call is not a normal rise and shine moment. It’s a fight to stay alive. It’s all too real. And while others may be able to sleep soundly throughout the night, I’ve been called to take on this challenge.

As I lay back down to go to sleep, I know that while this battle with Type 1 Diabetes is never fully won, I also know that I’m not the only one fighting.

Here’s to the warriors of the night.


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