Age: 25 Year Diagnosed: 2001 Location: Orange, Ca
“When I was in freshman in college, I didn't tell any of my professors about my diabetes. I remember going in to take a midterm with a blood sugar over 400 mg/dL. I felt miserable and my anxiety about the exam was amplified by the high blood sugar. As soon as the exam was in my hands, I started crying- right there in my seat in the silent classroom. I cried for the first 90 minutes of my 120 minute exam, and didn't write a single thing down in my booklet. By the time I pulled myself together, I was able to answer 1 essay question before it was time to turn in the exam. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't even confront my professor to tell him what was going on. When I got back to my dorm after the exam, I sent him an email, explaining that I had type 1 diabetes and my blood sugar had been very high, and apologizing for crying during his entire exam. He was very empathetic and encouraged me to communicate with other professors BEFORE situations like that happened again, but was unable to allow a retake of the exam. I still managed to pass the class, but I have never again kept my diabetes a secret from a professor, nor allowed myself to take an exam with a high blood sugar.
I once had a CDE compare living with type 1 diabetes to living with a newborn- some days you have to drop whatever you are doing to address the crying infant, no matter how inconvenient the timing may be. Once I heard her put this into perspective, I was able to cut myself a little more slack. We deal with so much on a daily basis, trying to thrive as humans on top of acting as a vital organ. Some days are wonderful, but also some days are absolutely exhausting. Sometimes it feels like so much of my brain energy is going toward keeping myself functioning that it's a miracle I'm able to do anything else on top of it. The best thing I've done for myself to help combat this exhaustion is to get involved in the type 1 community. There is nothing more comforting after a long night of battling a roller coaster of high and low blood sugars than to share your story with other type 1s who chime in with ‘me too’ and ‘hang in there girlfriend, you've got this’.”