Navigating Life With HS and Type 1 Diabetes (Part 1)
Last updated: October 2022
If you’re reading this article right now, then you or someone you know already knows this to be true: HS can be debilitating and incredibly hard to manage. At least it has been for me. From paying attention to what I eat to managing my stress to understanding my overall health and habits, it’s a lot to keep up with.
And we haven’t even gotten to trying to stay on top of the pain with cysts, bandaging them properly, keeping wound areas clean, and all that that entails.
Living with type 1 diabetes
While it involves a different type of care, type 1 diabetes (which I jokingly like to call the Petty Pancreas Committee because humor is my way of coping with things) works similarly. No, I’m not dressing wounds or anything in my current diabetic journey, but like with HS, my diabetes is also affected by what I eat, my stress, my overall health, etc..
In a nutshell, type 1 diabetes, for anyone who may not know, is a chronic condition where the pancreas produces either too little insulin or none at all. And this makes it difficult for your body to break down the foods you eat. That’s a super generic definition, but that’s the simplest way I’ve had it explained to me.
There are also different variations of diabetes. I’ve mentioned that I have Type 1 diabetes, which for me, basically means that I was diagnosed at a young age (around 18) and it’s also genetic in my family, with my mom and grandmother both having lived with diabetes for most of their lives.
College was when both diseases got out of hand
But with that brief Diabetes 101 lesson out of the way, HS and diabetes are two chronic diseases that definitely have their highs and their lows. And in college, both of these diseases got out of hand for me.
I started getting boils at 15 but I didn’t get them too often. And I was diagnosed with diabetes a month before leaving for college. Saying that I had no idea what I was doing would almost be an understatement.
I went to a single diabetes education class with my grandmother to learn about how to take insulin. They gave me a sliding scale to dose my insulin with and that was about it. I went off to college with the insulin I brought with me (about three months’ worth), diabetes supplies and gauze pads and tape for my HS boils that were starting to get worse.
I was dosing my insulin wrong for years
I wouldn’t learn this until many years later, but I was essentially dosing my insulin the wrong way for about a decade. No joke. I was diagnosed with diabetes in the summer of 2012 and I didn’t start seeing consistently healthy blood sugar readings until maybe a few months ago. I’m not necessarily proud or ashamed of that, but that just happens to be my reality.
But in college, my blood sugars were at their highest points and that lead to complications. I was on medication for my kidneys and I was losing a bunch of weight all while eating unhealthy food and not exercising. I felt tired and fatigued all the time and I had to pee non-stop. I was always thirsty and my body was constantly dehydrated. I couldn’t focus in class for months.
College was a really rough time where HS and poorly managed diabetes were concerned.
Check back for Part 2 of this series!
When you need to vent about HS, who do you turn to first?