When People Say They ‘Just Can’t Imagine’ Life With Type 1 Diabetes


People tell me all the time that they “just can’t imagine…”

They can’t imagine counting carbs and keeping track of every meal or snack. They can’t imagine going to school twice a day for a sugar check and an injection. They can’t imagine doing injections four to five times a day. They can’t imagine waking up each night to check sugar levels. They can’t imagine all the packing and checking and extras we needed for our trip to the snow.

Type 1 diabetes

Honestly, I couldn’t imagine it either, when we received the diagnosis that our son has Type 1 diabetes. Now it is our “new normal.” We learned to assimilate. It turned into our routine. He is grasping pieces of his care on his own. We have a tremendous support system. So much of it has become what we do naturally.

We count carbs at each meal. We know the carb counts of his favorite foods by heart. We know sugar-free is often a misnomer. We vet babysitters and covet date nights. We work together as a family to do what’s best for us — because what works for you might not work for us. We take others’ advice with a grain of salt. We join support groups if we need to, and we leave when they don’t fit. When we started this journey, a fellow parent of a now-adult daughter with Type 1 told us that diabetes would alter our lives, but it didn’t have to end them. We are so glad to have had those words. They’re true every day.

I don’t have to wonder what his life would look like without Type 1 diabetes at this point. That’s not his story. It’s not ours, either. It doesn’t mean Type 1 is his life, though. Our lives don’t revolve around the disease or its management. We make it fit in with what we’re already doing. Sure, there are hurdles and adjustments, but by and large, it’s not our only thought day by day. We think about him: about the child he is, the young man he is growing up to be, and the future he has.

I remember the evening in the hospital parking lot, wrapped in my husband’s arms, when I just couldn’t imagine. Quiet tears trickled down my face. They got faster; sobs became audible. I couldn’t imagine. We couldn’t imagine. But we didn’t have to. We dried our eyes, held hands, and walked back down that hall. We learned all we could in a short time, and came home, where we don’t imagine. We don’t have to. We live. We love. We laugh. We eat pizza, brownies and pancakes. We continue to learn. We continue to advocate.

Living any life other than this? I just can’t imagine…

Follow this journey at The Gray Matters.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing you thought on the day of your or a loved one’s diagnosis that you later completely changed your mind about? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


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