This is What Type 1 Diabetes Looks Like


This is what type 1 diabetes looks like. Pretty normal, right?

Well, what you can’t see right now is someone recovering from a severe low blood sugar. The now dried sweat that, moments ago, drenched a shirt and made puddles on the floor.

And you definitely can’t see the room spinning, as the body grows weaker and weaker, almost to the point of collapse as this person frenetically rummages the shelves for something sweet before his blood glucose drops so low it might literally hit the ground.

He’s home alone, and in his panicked, cognition-disabled mind he thinks, maybe this is the one that gets me … Of course, there was OJ in the fridge. 20 minutes pass and he comes to, albeit physically exhausted on par with recovering from running a marathon with the flu. But he’s fine.

He’s been here before and he’ll be here again … But that’s just it. He WILL be here again.

And again and again and again.

This is his life, the hand he’s been dealt. Not a lifestyle choice he’d made, or a bad dietary decision. What will tomorrow bring? A daylong, crippling high sugar that robs him of joy and mental clarity, that brings him to his proverbial knees as his blood becomes molasses and replaces hunger with nausea? Does he have enough insulin? Can he afford to keep using test strips to stabilize his numbers? What if he runs out of supplies??

He does his best to control what’s to come, but the truth is, there’s no knowing.

This disease is an autonomous executioner who will sprinkle a momentary reprieve, only to retract it and come back double-downed. So he clamps down, bites the bullet, and keeps moving forward. All he can hope is that, the same life that provided these circumstances will also provide two other things:


and resources.

Here’s to hoping.

Check out Brett Ryan Stewart’s music and writing on his website. Read Life with Type 1—A Photo Essay by Anne Marie Moran.

WRITTEN BY Brett Ryan Stewart , POSTED 01/11/17, UPDATED 10/05/22

Brett Ryan Stewart is a musician, recording engineer and producer at his Nashville-based studio, The Sound Shelter. His work has been utilized by numerous television networks and companies including OWN, Fox Television, A&E, Heineken and Microsoft. He lives with his wife, two cats and an insulin pump.