24 Hours In The Life Of A Student With Diabetes

Today I gave myself seven needles of insulin: three in my stomach, two in my hips, one in my thigh and one in my arm.

By needles, I specifically mean syringes with needle tips of about 8mm long and insulin pen tips of about 5mm long.

The sharp tips that repeatedly pierce my skin, day after day, are tiny and have become to feel like bee stings. Despite their size, they can be nasty–leaving me with ugly bruises and welts.

I also pricked my finger five times today. Tomorrow my blood sugar levels and insulin dosages will be completely different, but the task will remain the same.

Having type-one diabetes entails 24/7 responsibility. Those who suffer from the disease can’t take a vacation from it, no matter how amazing or awful their day is going.

Today Emma Chadwick, a business management and entrepreneurship student at Algonquin College, awoke to immediately test her sugar level. At around 5:30 a.m. she injected herself with 12 units of insulin to accommodate for eating a bowl of Mini Wheats. Her diabetes is something that is always in her thoughts.

“The most negative thing about having diabetes is you feel trapped in your own body,” says Chadwick. “It’s almost as if you got dealt a terrible hand and instead of folding, you have to play with it.”

Diagnosed five years ago at the age of 14, she now has a relationship with her disease that varies from day to day.

“Some days I manage it perfectly and have no issues,” says Chadwick, “and others it’s a struggle just to make myself check my sugars before I eat.”

Luc Lanteigne, a biomedical biology student at Laurentian University, admires how his diabetes usually makes his days more routine.

“It takes a lot of time out of your day,” says Lanteigne, “but it usually makes you more organized for other things too.”

Today, Lanteigne hasn’t checked his sugar since he woke up. His sugar level was low, so he ate breakfast right away. After his mid-day break, he plans to attend his last class of the day and then eat dinner afterwards. He is then planning to go to the gym, give himself insulin for the carbohydrates in a protein shake and inject himself with 50 units of Levermir, which is a long acting insulin, before going to bed.

Chadwick, much like Lateigne and myself, acknowledges how diabetes plays a large role in our daily lives.

“Today I think of diabetes as a part of me, but not something that defines me,” says Chadwick. “It’s much like having blue eyes. It’s part of my identity, but not all of me.”

The disease entails amazing days and awful ones but subsequently contributes to who I am, every single day. Even though it can be a real pain in the ass, you have to make the best of it.