A Reckless Summer


By: Katherine Marple

As teenagers, most of us did some reckless and irresponsible things. It’s part of growing up, right? But if you’re a teenager with type 1 diabetes, acting reckless becomes a bit more tricky. I had a reckless summer of my own ten years ago, right after high school graduation, when I traveled down south to spend a month with my mom. I hadn’t lived with her since the age of 16, so I wanted to get to know her and my younger brother again. Unfortunately, I also used that time to take a break from my diabetes regimen. It had been only four years since my diagnosis, and I wanted to feel that even though I had a disease, I was still a normal teenager who was capable of an adventure.

I gave myself a free pass to do what I thought of at the time as living, instead of just surviving, for one whole month, consequences be damned. I remember blindly injecting my basal insulin, eating only vegetables so that I could skip injecting bolus insulin, and consistently skipping my glucose checks. I lost about 20 pounds that I couldn’t really spare. I recall drinking lots of alcohol when Southern boys sneaked me into pool halls and bars, vomiting on the side of the road, and waking with night sweats that I now relate to incipient ketoacidosis. I remember being extremely tired and feeling sick daily, but pushing myself to have just a little more fun and experience just a little more “adventure.” I felt a tentative sense of freedom as I shrugged my shoulders at the missed glucose checks, considering myself invincible as teenagers often do.

By the last week of my stay down south, however, I was anxious to get home just to feel some semblance of normal again. The one month of chaos had already taken its toll on my body, and I was tired and weak. In my attempt to run from the hold that diabetes had on me, I had caused my A1C to rise by two percentage points. I had put my life on the line by living with such abandon. As an adult, I realize that living perfectly carefree and living perfectly carefully both have negatives and positives. There needs to be a balance between the two extremes. You can tip the scale a little one way or the other to fit your goals and emotional needs, but both aspects need to be present. If I’d known then what I know now, of course I would have never behaved the way that I did. But I suppose it was a necessary part of growing up.



Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer
The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.