The Upside of Living With Diabetes

Ginger Vieira Health Guide
  • A few years ago, I had the opportunity to eat lunch with five first graders—all of whom have Type 1 Diabetes. I think one of the adorable, most incredible things I’ve ever seen is a table of human beings that most people consider to be care-free children who are carefully calculating how much insulin they need to take with the cafeteria lasagna they’re about to eat in order to endure the post-lunch recess without dropping low.


    At one point, I asked them what their favorite part of having diabetes was. When I’ve asked teenagers or adults with diabetes this same question, the answer is often about the relationships made with others who are diabetic, or the positive perspective on life they’ve gained. I was curious what a first grader might say because the concepts of perspective and valuable relationships aren’t typical concepts a first grader would understand.

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    And so I asked…


    “I like eating Starbursts and Skittles when my blood sugar is low,” said one of the kids.


    Most of the kids nodded in agreement with this. Actually, I even nodded, too. This was basically the number one and most concise answer. A few of the kids were really not in a place where they could think about the positives of diabetes, yet, and a few others had simply not thought about it before, so they couldn’t decide on an answer yet.


    A few weeks ago, I was visiting my best friend in Boston. She had noticed I’d woken up around 7 a.m. and asked if I was okay. I told her my blood sugar was just low, grabbed a juice box and crawled back into bed. When we both woke up again hours later, she said she hadn’t slept well. I, however, told her I slept fantastically because every time I get hypoglycemia in the middle of the night or early morning, I p*** out like a log after treating it. The best sleep I ever have is post-hypoglycemia….


    “Aww, darn…I wish I had diabetes,” she teased.

    “Yeah,” I laughed, “You’re missing out on the greatest sleep of your life!”


    Of course, I don’t seek out low blood sugars for the sake of incredible sleep, but it is, without a doubt, what I think about when I have to get out of bed in the middle of the night for a low blood sugar. Well, first, I think, “ugh, I’m so tired, this is kind of annoying…” and then I think, “ohhhh, but the sleep I’m about to get! Excellent!”


    It’s all very silly. It’s all very simple. Candy, deep sleep…whatever your favorite thing might be, it’s something worth noting and certainly worth appreciating.

Published On: April 23, 2007