GUEST BLOG POST: Matt Slaney
Here we are again! Time for another episode of Sickboy... with that comes a brand spanking new blog post. This weeks Blog post comes from our dear friend Matt Slaney. He's got Type 1 Diabetes. Let's talk about it...
It’s 7:48 pm right now on a Thursday night and I’m straight up pissed off, actually no- I just opened an orange juice, so I’m only moderately annoyed because I’m getting this nice little hit of guilt-free sugar. About 15 minutes ago, I was walking into the gym, and as I sat my backpack down on the bench of the locker room, I was getting this slight shortness of breath, so I pull out my glucose meter from my backpack to check my blood sugar. 2.5 mmol. Fuck. This level of blood sugar is too low to do a workout with. I was at 5.6 mmol about 20 minutes earlier, which tells me that I took too much insulin with the meal I just had. A tuna salad wrap with cheese and a diet coke and a granola bar- that’s like 40ish grams of carbohydrate, right? I thought it was, but clearly I was a bit off this time.
So I checked my backpack for other sugar. Nothing. Damn it! I know better than this! Ah well, I’ll just drive home and get some sugar in my system to bring my levels back to normal before I pass out and go into a coma.
Which leads me to where I am now, currently avoiding a workout because I had to eat sugar. This is the my eternal dance with the bitch lover that we know as Type 1 Diabetes, aka Diabetes Mellitus, aka the Betes, aka diabeetus. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas to be destroyed, preventing the body from being able to produce enough insulin to adequately regulate blood glucose levels (shoutout to Canadian Frederick Banting for figuring that out). Insulin converts sugars from food into energy. So people with T1D need to inject themselves with a needle, or through insulin pump (I still use needles). The amount of insulin you take, is proportional to how many carbs you’re about to consume- so if you take too much insulin, you’re going to get low blood sugar. No insulin or not enough results in high blood sugar.
As you’ll learn in the podcast, I was just diagnosed with T1D a year and a half ago (when I was 24 and came back from a two week vacation in Argentina looking like a malnourished insomniac. When i first found out that I had Type 1 Diabetes, I heard that I was going to have to take needles to my stomach, think about every piece of food I was about to eat, and change my overall lifestyle. All of this sounded terrible, and none of it really was. It was like going to the gym and realizing when you get there that you’re not going to be able to work out. Is that annoying? Yes. Does it ruin your life? No. Well, at least it hasn’t ruined mine.
I have a disease that is manageable. Blood sugar high? Take a needle (that can barely be felt), Blood sugar low? Eat 15 grams of carbs (drink half of a juicebox, eat an orange, essentially, give yourself a treat). It should be noted, that I think I’ve had it a lot better than most people with T1D. My insulin production stopped when I was 24. For (what I hope ends up being) about a quarter of my life I was able to eat whatever, whenever I wanted, drink whatever type of alcohol I chose. A lot of people are diagnosed with T1D as children (that’s why it’s also referred to as Juvenile Diabetes), and I’m sure I wouldn’t have dealt as well if I had this during my formative and more rebellious years.
At 24, I was lucky enough to have a doctor tell me that I needed to eat healthier, go to the gym more, stay hydrated...So do things that everyone should be doing anyway. Plus Type 1 Diabetes allowed me to be on the Sickboy podcast (so thanks for the disease, universe)! It could be way worse and way less manageable-Type 1 Diabetes IS like life. You have your highs and you have your lows- you deal with both and try to make sure you have more good habits than bad.
For more information on all types of Diabetes from actual qualified professionals -check out this link! https://www.diabetes.ca/about-diabetes/types-of-diabetes
Be sweet, everyone (see what I did there)?
Download or Stream Matt's episode on the Sickboy Website, or go to the iTunes Store by clicking here!