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What Keeps Me Up at Night

I never thought I would be 23 years old and my number one stress would be affording insulin. I never thought I would have to think about changing my pump site every three days or pricking my finger to make sure my blood sugar is in range. I never thought about how many carbs I was eating or if my blood sugar would spike as a result. I lived 22 years of my life not thinking twice about my body not functioning right, and now, it is a worry that crosses my mind every night before I go to sleep.

You never think about having to work a full-time job 24/7, 365 days a year until you are living with a chronic disease. Diabetes has to be considered with everything you do and the amount of thought that goes into living with diabetes is mind-blowing! The overpricing and up charging of insulin is something that I had no clue about until my life depended on this medication to survive. One vial of insulin averages around $300 in the absence of health insurance. To put this into perspective, one vial of insulin lasts me around 2 weeks which means I would be spending $600 a month on insulin alone to survive. When you add in the costs of pump supplies, Dexcom supplies, or test strips, if you are not on a continuous glucose monitor, you are well over $1,000 a month if you do not have insurance.

Many diabetics ration their insulin or live with higher blood sugar because they are not fortunate to have a job that provides them with insurance, they need to cover the cost of living. Some diabetics are stuck working jobs they absolutely hate just to keep the insurance they need to live. As a diabetic, you have to make strategic moves and one mistake could cost you much more than the average person. It is unfortunate that we are paying a luxurious amount for a medication that is a necessity. Advocating that insulin should be for all is something that the diabetic community does so well and if awareness and advocacy can be spread by those who are not living with diabetes, the word and message will only become that much more powerful.

Living with Type 1 Diabetes forces you to become stronger and braver than you ever thought you could be. You become a functioning organ, a fighter of an invisible disease, and a walking testament of what it is like to live at the mercy of overpricing and up charging of essential medication. Even the best days are difficult, and you never get to clock out or call in sick. You are faced with countless decisions every day and somehow, you continue to make it out on top and wake up the next morning to do it all over again.

There is a lot that keeps me up at night, and diabetes will always be the number one thing, but it is not all negative thoughts. I am grateful to be stronger and more appreciative of the little things. I don’t take things for granted, especially the good blood sugar days. It is a life-changing diagnosis, but I choose to acknowledge the negative and try to live in the positive because that’s when your story can have the most impact. My diabetes does not define me. I define my diabetes.  I choose to let this diagnosis be a vessel for positivity and encouragement for everyone fighting this chronic disease every day.

Janae Gray
Type 1 Diabetes, diabetes advocate

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