November 14th is World Diabetes Day. It also marks the birthday of Dr. Banting, the man who co-discovered insulin, enabling those with diabetes to no longer die from their condition.
For this year, I asked my Facebook friends to ask me anything they wanted to know about Diabetes and I’d answer them here. So let’s jump into it!
Allen and I had actually been married for almost 2 years before I was diagnosed. So while I can’t directly relate to Kendall on this one, I do know what it is like to develop new relationships post-diagnosis.
One month after I was diagnosed, I changed jobs. I’ve always been very up-front about being diabetic and what that means for the people who work closely with me. In my experience, it hasn’t hindered any friendships – my coworkers have generally been curious and many have been massively supportive for the past four years. Of course, none of these relationships has been romantic in nature, but I think that ultimately, there are many good people out there that want to understand and be supportive, and as long as you approach every question with a good, honest, informative answer, then people will be open and receptive of who you are.
A non-diabetic person should be around 80-120 mg/dL – and many type 2 diabetics should try to stay close to this range as well. Ultimately, this is a conversation that should be had between you and your doctor. I personally have my range set from 80-180 mg/dL.
Allen has been SO helpful through my journey. He does all of my Dexcom CGM insertions, mostly because I typically want it inserted in places that aren’t easy to do by myself. He also occasionally helps insert infusion sets in hard-to-reach areas.
Otherwise, Allen is very much hands-off in regards to my care. He’ll wake me up at night if he hears my Dexcom alarming, and if I say “I’m low” he’ll immediately jump out of bed and get me a juice (and then ask what my number is when he gets back). We also use Dexcom share (so I can see my numbers on my Apple Watch) but Allen has one alarm set on that one: He’ll be notified if I go below 40 mg/dL. That way if I’m not with him, he can message me and see if I’m okay, and if I don’t reply then he knows to start calling everyone I’m with (or 911 if I’m alone). It’s a system that works for us but it may not be right for everyone.
Nope, but there are some I prefer to avoid. Orange juice is the main one. It’s one of my favorite things, but I just can’t ever time the insulin right for it and end up miserable. I usually avoid cake and cookies as well if I can help it. I also will always choose diet pop over regular – I’d rather save the carbs for food instead. I probably should avoid more things, like Chinese food and pizza, but they are just too yummy.
Yes, insulin companies offer coupon programs and discount cards – however, these are usually unavailable to the people who truly need them and they do not address the true problem– sky-high prices for consumers.
There are a lot of groups on Facebook where people can pay it forward and directly send supplies to someone in need. I actually benefitted from a pay it forward group early on in pumping when my insurance was changing for the year and I was having issues getting supplies because of having to get prescriptions and authorizations. However due to the fact that selling or trading prescription medication is illegal (and if the items were purchased by insurance dollars then it is also fraud at that point) many people shy away from this. (Test strips fall into a gray area because they can be bought OTC)
You don’t see the repeat lows through the night. Waking up 4, 5, 6 times in one night because your blood sugar won’t come up (or go down). Trying not to overcorrect, trying to figure out what you did wrong/right/different, trying to just get some freaking sleep.
You don’t see the body image issues. The weight gain as punishment for doing your pancreas’ job, the bruising and scars from poke after poke after poke, the struggle to find clothes you can wear your pump with (dresses with pockets are SO hard to come by).
You don’t see the hundreds of times I make a diabetes-related decision every single day. I haven’t been to my desk in a while so I missed breakfast, did I already give insulin for it? I hope I didn’t. I’ve been running around like crazy, being way more active than I usually am so my blood sugar will probably start dropping soon. I want to have the cupcakes my coworker brought in but I don’t even have enough insulin in my pump to cover it, I will have to pass for today.
You don’t see the shame and emotional toll of having a seriously misunderstood and often joked about chronic condition that will likely kill you. You don’t see every time a diabetes myth is perpetuated, or misinformation is spread, or a joke is made in poor taste but people who aren’t directly affected by it don’t care because.. why would they? Human nature – if it doesn’t directly affect you, then do you really care? Not typically.
If you read through all of this, know that I appreciate you. Any advocating I can do is a step in the right direction. Diagnosis rates are still on the rise. If I can only ask one thing, that is for everyone to know the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes. It can happen to anyone at any time – it happened to me.