4 Things I've Learned From A Type-1 Diabetic
Start writing a post

4 Things I've Learned From A Type-1 Diabetic

The daily life of a college student with an autoimmune disease.

4 Things I've Learned From A Type-1 Diabetic
Meici Yang

One of my first friends in college was a bubbly woman with long, curly hair and a tie-dye shirt. I wish her bright energy was the first thing people noticed about her---but sadly it was the crutches she bore on the first week of school. My friend had the fortune of falling into a pothole during orientation week and injuring her foot. Most people assumed the white patch on her upper-thigh was related to her injury, but I knew it wasn't---I had seen the glucose monitor on other diabetics before.

Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which occurs when the body mistakes the pancreas as foreign and kills the cells in the organ. Like many autoimmune diseases, it's not always noticeable to the public.

In all the adventures we shared during our first year of college, I learned the hardships that come with having this chronic condition.

1. People are afraid of the word "diabetes"

Matt Chesin

When people hear the word "diabetes", they tend to associate it with type-2 diabetes: a lifestyle disease. I've heard people tell my friend, "oh, but you're so skinny" and "you don't look unhealthy". As if these ignorant statements weren't enough, she told me a school nurse once advised her against drinking juice---when her blood sugar was dangerously low.

2. Manually operating an organ is tedious

My friend's insulin pump.

Meici Yang

Thanks to modern technology, my friend can monitor her glucose levels on her phone and adjust insulin via an electronic device. Though these inventions make managing the disease easier, it doesn't take away the stress of checking glucose levels throughout the day and adjusting insulin every time she eats. As a college student, it's nearly impossible to eat meals at a set-time every day---which for a non-diabetic can cause "hangriness" and fatigue, but for my friend it can result in dangerous glucose levels.

Additionally, monitoring her health doesn't stop for class. While plenty of us have pulled out our phone to read a message during a lecture, my friend has to check her phone to make sure her blood sugar is in a safe range. Luckily, most professors seem to be understanding, but I have seen a few judgmental looks from surrounding peers when her insulin pump beeps.

Because she's had to do this since the age of six, she sometimes forgets that diabetes can be a foreign concept. At the beginning of this semester, she approached one of her professors to inform them that "sometimes she beeps in class". She forgot to mention that the beeping was related to her insulin pump and that she was diabetic. We still laugh about this interaction.

3. Burnout isn’t just for caregivers

Meici Yang

If I could change anything about my friend, it would be to convince her that she's not a burden. Though she tends to hide when she's struggling, I know she feels guilty over the extra needs and costs associated with her condition. When I consider my daily routine of classes, homework, and meetings for student organizations, it's hard to even imagine where I'd find time to regulate my insulin levels. Yet, my friend does this each day while excelling in her college courses.

4. Stress is hard on the body

My friend wearing her continuous glucose monitor.

Meici Yang

When you don't have to think about all the functions your organs do, it's easy to forget the complex chemical reactions that allow us to function normally. My friend is easily the strongest person I know, and I hope her story can shed a light on those who have to work a little harder to stay alive.

For those of us without chronic conditions, I hope we become more aware of how taxing it is on our bodies to process stress---and how lucky we are that our body manages it for us. During these trying times, remember to take care of yourself. Your body will thank you.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.


Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

The Best Bagel Recipes For Every Personality Type, In Case You Need Another Excuse To Eat Carbs

I'll approve of pasta for breakfast any day, but this is more socially acceptable.


I've had times in my life at which I've told myself I need to cut out carbs. Those moments last about a minute or two before I start daydreaming about rice and pasta.

Bagels hold a special place in my heart — for many of my college friends and me, a bagel sandwich was the go-to breakfast after a long night of drinking. Years later, I still love to indulge in the occasional carb-filled breakfast. As much as I love putting in an UberEats order from bed, nothing beats the feeling of pulling some fresh-baked bread or pastries out of the oven.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.


The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.


For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less

Scrolling through Instagram can get stale after a while, especially if you're constantly refreshing in the hopes of finding something new and exciting. Should you be looking to add some inspiration to your timeline in the form of self-love tips, relationship advice, or love secrets, here are 11 relationship coaches you'll LOVE following.

Keep Reading... Show less

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.


When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

If you are a college freshman, or new to college, this is for you. If you are in a new time in life where you don't know where this change is going to take you, where you might not have your community yet, this is for you. Or even if you are stuck in a rut of everyday life where the new normal is quarantine and isolation, this is also for you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

As Illinois Reaches Its Highest Death Toll Since June, I Urge You To Stay Home And Wear Your Mask

69 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in a twenty-four-hour period, the highest amount since June of this year.

Photo by Noah on Unsplash

As we are approaching colder weather, we are also approaching a spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the state of Illinois. On October 21, 2020, Illinois recorded its largest daily COVID-19 death toll since June of this year. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 69 deaths of people who contracted COVID-19 were recorded within a twenty-four-hour period, raising the state's death toll to 9,345 since the start of the pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less

When "Mean Girls" said "In girl world, Halloween is the one time of the year where you can dress up like a total slut and no one can do or say anything about it," they were damn right. Halloween is the perfect excuse to buy that raunchy costume and show your partner that you're that B. Coming from a very single (yes, very single) 20 something-year-old, I have already got my Halloween costume on lock, and now you will too.

Not only are these 10 Halloween costumes dangerously sexy, but you can wear them in the bedroom whenever you want to give your boo a surprise, yes, year-round. Whoever said you can only dress up on Halloween is seriously disturbed.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ariana Grande released her first single called "positions" since "boyfriend" with Social House and it is a BANGER. This song is absolutely incredible and I am SURE you will agree with me once you listen.

I'm a sucker for a single with a video and that's exactly what we got. Ariana's been pretty quiet during the pandemic, and we all assumed she was working on some new music, and we were right.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Rejection Of Black Lives Matter Mural By Phoenix City Council Doesn’t Stop Gizette Knight

The Phoenix City Council rejected a proposal for a Black Lives Matter Mural in downtown Phoenix. But Gizette Knight says this is not the end.

Photo by Josh Olalde on Unsplash

Community organizer Gizette Knight, CEO of Reality Dreams LLC, is not giving up on the Phoenix City Council's rejection of the Black Lives Matter mural.

Keep Reading... Show less

For me, chai isn't just what I drink — it's a core part of who I am. Sure, I'll switch it up every now and then with a cup of English Breakfast, Earl Grey, rose, or Darjeeling, but I always come back to chai.

Nearly every tea lover has one tea they repeatedly drink and go back to, whether it's a daily morning ritual or an afternoon pick-me-up. One of my good friends has almost eight cups of jasmine tea every single day — she drinks more tea than water, actually.

Keep Reading... Show less

In a world where physical contact is a liability, the ease of slipping into despair and isolation has never been so tempting. Perhaps the greatest kindness we can lend to one another is reaching out to the people that meant something to us before everything changed. Here's why you should message your friend today.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments