Junior Andi Carr, a 16-years-old Meridian student, told about her life as a Type 1 juvenile diabetic.
Carr’s disorder is related to her pancreas which is not working and her genetics (both of her parents have diabetes genes). It causes a lot of problems and difficulties.
“When I was a young kid, I didn’t gain any weight,” Carr said.
Indeed, she has to take some medicine to regulate her glucose level. She has pads of insulin that she changes every three days. She also has to check her glucose level twice a day and every two weeks, she gets another type of insulin pad.
Diabetes can affect one’s life in both the short and long term.
“When you have diabetes, you got a lot of allergies. So I’m allergic to lactose and eggs,” Carr said. “I have neuropathy in my fingers. I can’t feel them properly and it’s pretty painful.”
Carr has to stay safe and make sure that her glucose level is not too high or too low. Some activities, such as sports, consume a lot of energy when a diabetic would participate in them.
“If I work out too much, if I do my gigs like singing and saxophone too much, […] it can be dangerous,” Carr said.
Her high fiber-and-protein diet has to be controlled.
“I have to have well-balanced meals,” Carr said. “For breakfast, I eat two pieces of toasts and a protein bar with it and lunch is a lot of fruits for fibers.”
Diabetics have a weaker immune system, and often have to cure their recurring health problems.
“I pretty much spend most of my childhood in the hospital and have 10 plus surgeries from diabetes,” Carr said.
If their sugar levels aren’t stable, it impacts their mood, mental comprehension, and overall safety.
“My CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) is not the best. Sometimes it rises wrong and I have to correct it immediately,” Carr said.
When Carr’s glucose level is too low in her blood, she is in a “drunk” state. It’s a sign of hypoglycemia, related to the release of adrenaline by the body -stress hormone-. When this happens, she has to eat carbs, usually high-protein food, to alleviate it.
“I start giggling, I start tumbling a little bit if it’s really bad,” Carr said.
If her blood sugar level is too high, her head hurts and her body tries to get rid of its waste, so she has to go to the bathroom often. She can be cranky and rude. In this situation, she has to get insulin and hydrate herself.
“When you’re high, you act like your hangover, because when people have a hangover, their blood glucose is high,” Carr said.
She can also be hospitalized because of DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis). It occurs when the body starts breaking down fat at a rate that is much too fast. The liver processes the fat into a fuel which causes the blood to become acidic. It already happened three times in her life, one close to fatal.
Nevertheless, this disorder has a couple of advantages.
“I got better at math as a child […] because I have to learn the ratio by the age of four,” Carr said.
At a young age, Carr spoke at events and parades about her life as a juvenile diabetic. She now expresses herself with her disorder.
“It’s okay to have diabetes,” said Carr, “There’s going to be hard days, but it’s gonna get better with time.”