I, a T1D, live in a small town out in the middle of nowhere. I am the only T1D in my community. As you can guess, I have no local support groups for my condition for miles. Yesterday morning I almost went into a diabetic coma. I was scared for my life (that would the third consecutive time I had to go to the hospital this year). I didn’t tell my friends, my teachers, or my coaches what happened because I knew that none of them would understand the severity of the situation. I almost died! And no one knows (besides my parents). I feel so alone, I wish I had a diabetic friend I could talk to. But I am all alone in this small town that I live in. I have no support for miles, I am tired of my life condition being ignored or brushed aside.
Hi @shelbiewadlington and welcome to the forum. You’ll find plenty of companionship here, and can send private messages to people if you want to connect out of sight of others - just click on the person’s screen name and an option will pop up.
Although you are the only one in your area with diabetes - at least that you know of - that doesn’t mean you can’t share info with others. I have friends I’ve known for years ago don’t know about my diabetes, and others I’ve told after knowing them only a little while. Some people take an interest in my pump or my CGM (I’m open about wearing them) and it’s a conversation starter. Since you’ve already had a few medical emergencies I would encourage you to tell trusted friends, and perhaps someone you with work, because sometimes others notice signs of things before we do. In the old days before CGMs I worked at an office with a fellow person with diabetes. I saw him nodding off as I passed by his door, and tapped on it - nobody wants their boss to walk by and see them sleeping, after all! He said “Thank you - that’s one of my signs.”
Diabetes is nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t have to buy a billboard and notify the entire town, but it’s helpful and important to get people in your corner. If they don’t understand diabetes this is a chance to educate them, at least about signs to look for and how to help you out if you need it. It beats having them worry about you as you’re being rushed off in an ambulance.
I know that’s a different thing from understanding what it’s like to live with diabetes day by day, but it’s something. And don’t be surprised if some people respond that their _____ has it too.
Growing up I was often the only diabetic, person of color, and various other adjectives in my class or group. I’ve just learned to deal with the way things are and learn how to fit in. Being the only person with diabetes may not be something you care for, but opening up to others of your choosing may be helpful.
hi @shelbiewadlington, and Welcome! @wadawabbit Dorie already posted good stuff I will add: in 41 years dealing with diabetes, I have only personally know 3 T1’s and maybe have seen 1 in the wild at an airport, another at work, and I live just outside of New York City.
Type 1 is not know for being “rare” but there really aren’t that many of us.
@joe "in the wild - I love it ! I tried googling what percentage of diabetics are Type 1 and the most recent figure I found was about 5%, from 2018. If you ask me (which you didn’t but please humor me), that makes us rare jewels.
Dorie @wadawabbit, statistics interest me. Of the 30 million people in this country labeled “diabetic”, about:
- 10% to 11% actually have “autoimmune diabetes”, caused by one’s body’s immune system thinking Beta cells are the enemy and killing them off - also been called, in different eras since a distinction was first made in 1978, Juvenile, A Type, TypeOne.
- 1% to 1.5% have “genetic diabetes” caused by a miss-formed gene - also called Mono-genetic, MODY.
- 88% +/- “lifestyle diabetes”. In 1978 the ADA identified this as “obese adult diabetes” but since then it has become aware that there may be as many of five categories of “lifestyle” diabetes. Familiar names: Adult, B Type, Type 2.
It is interesting that in recent years, as awareness and diagnosing has improved, that 42% of those diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes are between the ages of 31 and 60; about 20% between the ages of 18 and 30. Those diagnosed as kids, like you, are [now] in the minority. It appears that diabetes education and awareness is now reaching the medical field.
Like you, there was no one else that I knew who had diabetes, and I never told anyone at school that I had diabetes - I lived in a suburb and went into the big city to high school. Then going to college and off to work, I didn’t let on that I had diabetes - yes, I know that when at college I had eaten waaaayyy too much and skipped insulin and got sick - probably because my glucose was high, I was in acidosis and close to “diabetic Coma”.
[I distinguish between diabetic coma as being hypErglycemia - high BS/BG/BGL leading to acidosis or DKA, and hypOglycemia or “insulin shock or insulin reaction” where BG is extremely low; 50 mg/dl or lower.]
Hyperglycemia takes a while to cause harm - a few hours to a few days and although you are aware of it occurring to you it is not sudden. Passing out from low blood glucose can be VERY sudden, happen without warning and can be scary and dangerous. It has happened to me. Don’t be foolish the way I was.
I urge you to carry something with you that says you have diabetes and have in bold print that if you are found acting strange, foolish, weird that you MUST be fed sugar or something sweet like fruit juice, regular soda, candy, etc. Also tell a couple of your good friends who you trust, at least one teacher and if you are an athlete, a coach. I would be willing to bet that a team coach is the most likely person in your school who understands diabetes, insulin reaction, and knows what to do.
Please, for your own well-being, and maybe a little peace of mind. Do continue to post and ask questions - message me anytime.
If I might add to @Dennis’s points, if you are in school/college, notify student health - or if you work and they have a nurse’s office (my old company did) let them know. I personally don’t keep a glucagon kit with me - I can manage my lows with juices and snacks before reaching that point - but it could be a good idea for you to do so, and to have student health or the company nurse keep one on hand with your name on it, just in case.