My name is Bailey Cox, and I am a junior at Clemson University in South Carolina. I am a marketing major with an economics minor, and I am the co-president and founder of Clemson’s current chapter of The Diabetes Link. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age ten and started using the Dexcom CGM at age 15.
Initially, I was hesitant to share my blood sugars with others because I did not want to feel inadequate and lose my independence in controlling my own blood sugars. I agreed to share them with my mom and dad, but we quickly realized that we needed to establish some form of guidelines for notifying me. I constantly experienced spikes after eating meals, and my parents would both ask me if I had taken insulin. If my blood sugar did not come down for a little while, they would ask me again, with a tone of disappointment. This led to my own frustration with my high blood sugar, and I would take more insulin, eventually resulting in a low. Due to scenarios like this, we established guidelines.
Eventually, we came to the agreement that they only needed to notify me about my readings if my blood sugar was high for an extended period and had not been treated, or if it was urgently low. It was conducive for them to see my lows because I was often busy with band practice after school or would not wake up to lows during the night.
When leaving for college, my mother asked me if I wanted the freedom to completely take care of my diabetes independently and remove them from my followers list. I could not imagine my family not helping me, so I asked them to continue following me. We continued to abide by our previous boundaries when I went to college. My mom will often text me if my blood sugar is low and if I do not respond, then she will call me and tell me what my blood sugar is and to get something to eat. If I do not answer her calls, she will call one of my friends that can make sure I am okay. I often sleep through my low blood sugars and this has been a great benefit with being five hours away from them.
When I met my current roommate, I asked her to follow me because she was someone close to me who could help me in the moment. Over the past three years, I have added all three of my roommates, my best friend at home, and still have my mom and dad following me. My friends were not hesitant to follow me, but instead wanted to make sure that I did not have any reservations about it. They each checked that I was positive I wanted them to follow me, and then asked what exactly they need to look out for on the follow app. My friends have their notifications set only for lows, and when they see that the trend arrow has not changed for at least ten minutes, they make sure that I am treating my blood sugars. At times this does become overwhelming for me, but usually if my blood sugar is low and I am awake and actively eating something, my roommates will understand that they do not need to say something. However, when I receive multiple texts at once, or just have each of them approach me within the same timeframe, I do become slightly frustrated and overwhelmed.
One night while I was asleep, my blood sugar had dropped to about 50. I did not wake up to the feeling or my Dexcom alarm, but my roommate Katherine came to wake me up with juice and some fruit snacks. I would not have taken care of my low blood sugar if she had not woken me up. This can happen at any time, so it is nice to have someone there to help me. After a little bit of time, each of them have come to understand my independence in caring for my blood sugar levels and considers my expectations and boundaries prior to alerting me. It is very beneficial to have my friends following me because they can easily alert me in the moment and help me care for my low blood sugars. I have found that it is essential to have people follow my Dexcom, but also to establish boundaries and expectations that help them to respect my own needs and abilities when it comes to my type 1 diabetes.
Editor’s note: Dexcom is a Corporate member of The Diabetes Link.
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