Hi. I’m 18 and I’m going to be starting college next September. I’ve also been a Type 1 diabetic since I was four. (Still waiting for that damned “cure”.) Are there any diabetics here who are in college or had diabetes is college? How did that effect your sugars, management, etc? I’m taking Lantus at night and Humalog/Novalog at meals. Oh, and does anyone have a pump? How do you like it? Does it give you better control?
Does anyone ever get tired of specials on diabetes where people bemoan the fact that they are diabetic? I mean, is it really so hard? I’d never wish diabetes on anyone, but it’s possible to live with and live happily and well.
Couple of years back, I attended a seminar on Insulin Patches. These patches were the same technology they used to etch microchips, except that they used it to etch micro needles on the patch. Seemed very effective from the trial runs. I donno, if these patches are in the market yet.
One of my friends has an insulin pump and her sister does also. I know they both like them, but they’re a little bit more active than I am and they haven’t had diabetes as long as I have. I’m a little bit stuck in my ways. (An old woman at 18. Argh!) I’m not really worried about cost since we’ve got great insurance. Oh, to be a member of WEAC.
Regarding the insulin patches, I saw that on a special on TLC or DiscoveryHealth or one of those channels, and they reminded a bit of nicotine patches. What did look cool was the fake pancreases. Kinda like a baboon heart, no?
Freshman year: The mess hall food was heavily into carbs, ++ the drinking scene, + skipping meals + pulling all nighters and eating lots of pizza. All normal freshman stuff, that led my new friends to put on the freshman 15. Guess what that life-style change did to my sugars? I almost tripled my average insulin intake. That’s an average, but not an exaggeration. “Going buck wild” is the term in your mind and you’d be right.
I knew my kidneys and eyes were not long for the world if I kept that up. Soooo, by soph. Year I had balanced my diet and regulated my drinking and most importantly : stepped up my exercise program. That more than anything else made the difference, and my sugars came back under control.
The only other tips: make sure the folks you live with know what to do if you go into insulin shock – it will probably happen as you adjust to the new lifestyle. Make it clear that you need that 1 last juice, (or coke or whatever) for EMERGENCIES and if they take it, it needs to be replaced ASAP.
You are right – it really doesn’t need to interfere at all as long as you use common sense or have more sense than I did.
No one I know who has the pump dislikes it — I personally am just too set in my ways and am happy enuf with my control that I don’t need it right now.
I’m also a Type 1 diabetic. I don’t use a pump, as I’m able to get by with just two injections per day using a combination of Humalog and NPH insulin. I haven’t switched to Lantus yet because that would require four shots per day.
Despite having diabetes, college actually went just fine for me. Since I had had diabetes for years prior to my enrollment, I was aptly prepared for most of the situations I would face. I was also fortunate enough not to have had any illnesses or complications from the disease. I got through it with nothing more than a couple of “hypos” that I was able to treat on my own without completely humiliating myself.
An insulin pump might be something you should look into as it can add a lot of flexibility to the diabetes regiment. I’ve communicated with people on other message boards who are using pumps and they’re very pleased with them (more flexibility with meals, exercise, and sleep patterns/lower A1c’s).
Other words of advice:
[ul][li]Schedule your workload so you’re comfortable with the pace. Managing diabetes can get pretty difficult at times, and some diabetics’ blood sugar readings soar in response to stress. You may need to reduce your workload to a level that you feel comfortable with, and if that means you won’t graduate on time it’s really no big deal. It’s certainly not worth any risk to your health.[/li]
[li]Don’t be surprised when someone asks an incredibly ignorant diabetes question. “Isn’t that caused by eating too much sugar?” It happens a lot, even among educated people.[/li]
[li]Make use of the student health services facility. They may not be as competent in treating your condition as your diabetologist/endocrinologist, but you can’t beat the price.[/li]
[li]Be careful with alcohol. I realize that binge drinking is the norm on most campuses, but it can have serious consequences if you’re diabetic. When a diabetic person drinks, the alcohol can promote the uptake of glucose into liver glycogen, causing a drop in blood sugar. Since symptoms for hypoglycemia and drunkenness are very similar, if you happen to become hypoglycemic your friends might assume you’re just drunk.[/li]
[li] Wear your I.D., and be sure to tell your friends/classmates that you’re diabetic.[/li][/ul]
You probably have a head start on your classmates in terms of thinking about balancing diet, sleep, exercise, stress, etc.
My friends with pumps love them and have anecdotally recommended them as especially helpful for residential college students because they regulate so much better and don’t add as many blood sugar level disasters to freshman year as some people experience as they figure out how to live successfully away from home.
I found college to be very hard on my diabetes. But that was mainly because I was working full-time while going to school full-time. I would think if I hadn’t been working so much I might have added years to my life. College schedules are very flexible, and you should have plenty of leeway to get your meals and shots straight.
One thing that pissed me off were the professors who would go after me for bringing food into class. They can’t do that if you have a medical need to have the food, unless there is a health department reason for doing so. And in my case, this was true - food was not prohibited by the University, but was left up to the professor’s personal choice. As it happened, I had a physics lecture one semester from noon to 1:00, and so I would always bring my sack lunch in to eat, so I wouldn’t die.
Well, Professor Assmidget told me one time I couldn’t bring my food in, as it violated his rules. He insisted I throw it in the trash before he would continue lecturing. When I told him I was diabetic and needed to eat then, he laughed and said he’d “heard that excuse before”.
I think most people here who know my extreme super-bitch temper can guess what happened next. It’s kind of uncomfortable to see your professor read a formal written statement of apology to you the next class session, composed by the Dean…
The pump is, well, a pump, about the size of a pager, that clips to your belt. It has a vial of insulin attached via plastic tube to a needle you stick in your stomach and leave there for (days?) a while, anyway, and it can either release insulin into your system on a timer, or by manual control. The idea is that you’re not carrying anything external, and if you’re about to have a second piece of pizza, you just give yourself a little boost.
Given that I take karate three times a week, the pump is not for me. Ouch.
LOL Oh my god! Professor Assmidget! That is so going into my name list for teachers I don’t like. Anyway, that one phrase has made my entire, wisdom tooth filled day worthwhile.
I’ve had experiences with that whole “yeah, you’re diabetic because you’re lazy and fat.” Well, thank you, my weight is within a healthy range. My family happens to be more of the cylindrical than hourglass form and the women tend toward the sorts of cup sizes that don’t match 5’2" heights. We’re built like oxes, dammit, because that’s what we work like.
Ethilrist, my friend who has a pump is crazy athletic. She plays basketball, runs cross country, and can probably whoop any other boy in my class. She can just disconnect her pump while she’s playing basketball and hooks it back up again for half time.
Bwah, I love my insurance. I’m covered on my mom’s until I’m twenty-five, provided I’m still enrolled in school. Since I’m planning on going into education and will probably be employed by the time I’m twenty-five, I’ll have the same awesome insurance. Well, education or theatre, but that’s a different story . . .
I’m actually looking forward to college now. Before I was all paranoid about going into massive hypoglycemic shock and having everyone run around me like crazed turkeys. I think it’s because I haven’t ever known a diabetic who went through college. The whole binge-drinking thing, too, that’s not for me. I happen to like remembering what I did the night before. Your guys’ advice has helped a lot. All things that I knew, but I had this fear there was an impossibility factor involved in it.
Type II Diabetic checking in here. I don’t have much to add to what the others have said, but I do know from personal experience that getting the balanced diet thing right is paramount. Oh, and letting the others in your dorm/corridor/suite/staircase/whatever know exactly what to do in case of emergency is vital, it’ll save you being taken to hospital with no one knowing what the heck is wrong with you.
Also, if you have’t got one already get (and wear at all times) a SOS/Medicaid bracelet. They’re invaluable.