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What It's Like Waking Up With Type 1 Diabetes

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I woke up today an hour before my alarm. I debated just turning it off, skipping my classes, and going back to sleep. I had trouble falling asleep last night, and I felt drained, as if the world had already taken enough out of me. It is starting to feel like depression is consuming me again, and I wanted to be able to exist inside my head for a little bit longer.

But I have to be weary of mornings like this. If I wake up prior to my alarm going off or feeling like I want to sleep for four more hours, it is usually a clue I have either a low or a high blood sugar.

Because I didn’t want my levels to get too high or too low, I had to force myself out of bed to prick my finger, and then I waited… The number looking back at me indicated I should consume some glucose before I started to feel even lower. I walked to my kitchen and drank some juice. And then I waited… again.

Days like this are rare, but they are nonetheless frustrating occurrences. I have to wait for the glucose to flood my bloodstream before I can check my levels again, before I can start to feel in control of my body again. Then once I feel comfortable with my reading, I can continue about my day.

I start to get ready just like everyone else. But unlike everyone else, I have to check my levels again before eating breakfast. I have to count the amount of carbohydrates I’ll be consuming. I have to start my day doing math, simple math but still math, to calculate the correct dose of insulin to inject myself with.

I have to figure out how many carbohydrates are in the lunch I’m packing for myself. I have to make sure I have fast-acting carbohydrates along with complex carbohydrates on hand to help bring up and help maintain my blood-glucose levels. I have to make sure I have enough lancets and test strips on hand, that I have back up batteries and enough insulin for the day.

I don’t get a day off. I don’t get the pleasure of waking up before my alarm only to sigh and roll over until it actually goes off. I have to wake up every day and start from the beginning.

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Stock photo by Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

Originally published: November 14, 2016
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