A Day in a Life of a Diabetic Student


Ashlyn Baker is leaning against a tree at Licht Park. She loves going to the park and exploring nature.

Mackenzie Bisdorf, Flash Staff Reporter

Ashlyn Baker was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at thirteen years old. Her life, as a fifteen-year-old sophomore at Fraser High school, is not always easy. In Ashlyn’s day to day life, her health is a huge responsibility that needs constant attending to.

Ashlyn Baker’s pancreas has stopped producing insulin. Insulin helps the body break down carbohydrates in order to receive the necessary amounts of glucose from the food. When Ashlyn eats foods containing carbohydrates, her glucose levels rise. Doses of insulin are given to her through shots to the stomach, leg, or arm. The insulin helps her glucose levels reach a healthy range. If Ashlyn’s blood sugar decreases too much, she must ingest more carbohydrates to once again reach healthy glucose levels.

Every morning Baker must eat breakfast. If she is going to be ingesting carbs, she must also inject insulin into her body.

“Ashlyn does get insulin three times a day, if not four times a day, for each meal,” Ashlyn’s mom, Jaime Baker said.

Before eating her breakfast, Ashlyn begins with checking her blood sugar. If her sugar levels are too high, she calculates for a correction of insulin. This correction is added to her insulin dosage for that morning’s carbs.

“We use a formula that her doctor has given us. He’s determined what Ashlyn’s carb to insulin ratio should be right now. So, in the morning, we know that for every seven grams of carbs, Ashlyn gets one unit of insulin,” Jaime Baker said.

Jaime Baker is a huge support system for Ashlyn. She unconditionally cares for Ashlyn and is always watching out for her. When Ashlyn was first diagnosed with diabetes, Jaime did everything she could to learn about the condition. She’s still reading books and learning about new ways to care for Ashlyn.

“It’s different living with diabetes than it is living without because it’s a lot of responsibility you have to take on,” Jaime said.

Jamie always tries to make this responsibility easier for her daughter, so she’s always checking on Ashlyn’s blood sugar. This is an easier process due to Ashlyn’s CGM. A CGM is a continuous glucose monitor.

“It’s like a needle that’s hooked into my back. It checks my blood sugar every five to six minutes,” Ashlyn said.

The blood sugar is then posted onto both Ashlyn and Jamie’s phone. Jamie checks it often throughout the day and texts Ashlyn in the event that she’s low and needs a snack.

Jaime’s biggest worry with Ashlyn is when it comes to her being able to care for herself. Ashlyn recently went on a field trip to Grand Rapids with her art class. This was the first time since being diagnosed that Ashlyn was going to be so far away from her family. Jaime was worried about this distance but was also confident that Ashlyn was responsible enough to take this huge step. Ashlyn tries not to let her diabetes get in the way of things she wants to do like this field trip, but she also gets nervous about how her diabetes might affect her. The distance of an upcoming field trip to Chicago makes her too nervous to attend.

“If something goes wrong,” Ashlyn said, “nobody would be there.”

During lunch, Ashlyn tries not to make a big deal out of her situation. She tries to dose as discreetly as possible. Her lunch is made every day by her mom. After making the lunch, Ashlyn’s mom will place a sticky note in her bag listing the amount of carbs her lunch contains and how much insulin Ashlyn should dose.

“I normally put my backpack up by my side so that it blocks another way for people to view me. Then, I’ll open up my bag, and I’ll test. I try to do it quick, so the moment the number pops up, I just throw it in my bag. I’ll dose in my leg so it’s lower and people won’t notice it as much,” Ashlyn said.

Drawing attention to herself is not something Ashlyn makes a point to do. If your curious about her condition, she’ll answer all your questions, but due to her more reserved personality she doesn’t usually bring her diabetes up in conversation.

Many people in school have shown interest in Ashlyn’s diabetes. People ask questions or make comments on her condition. Some comments that Ashlyn get are discouraging and make her feel awkward. People who are genuinely interested; however, are greeted by Ashlyn openly.

“Different people react different ways when I take a shot, even if I tell them. Some are intrigued and interested, or some are like, ‘Oh my god. I can’t watch.’ That makes me feel kind of weird. So, I end up going to the bathroom to do it,” Ashlyn said.

Ashlyn doesn’t have a choice on whether or not she wants to inject herself with a needle. It’s an everyday thing in her life. People don’t always realize this and make unjust comments.

“Sometimes I’m scared to tell people I have diabetes,” she said, “because sometimes it’s just a joke that people spit out of their mouths. You don’t make jokes about other diseases like cancer. But when it’s a joke about diabetes it’s just pushed to the side.”

In some circumstances, people treat Ashlyn differently because of her diabetes. Some people won’t offer her food because they assuming she won’t eat it due to her condition. Some teachers will also treat her differently. Some “baby” her and single her out during class by asking her if she’s able to do something such as go outside. Those kinds of things make her feel aberrant and different. She doesn’t want to be singled out or treated differently. Ashlyn has attempted to make clear that she is capable of taking care of herself and knowing when she needs something.

One thing that Ashlyn does not let her diabetes stop her from doing is volleyball. Volleyball is one of Ashlyn’s greatest passions. She is on the Fraser Junior Varsity volleyball team. Throughout the year she also plays on a club team. Before a practice Ashlyn will typically check her CGM on her phone. If she is low, she will eat a snack.

Ashlyn’s freshman volleyball coach Ms. King has been a greatly supportive and appreciated person in Ashlyn’s life.

“I keep around snacks with me all the time. I have granola bars or fruit snacks. If [Ashlyn] ever goes low when we’re in the middle of a game, or she is not near her stuff, then I can give her something,” King said.

This kindness if much appreciated by Jaime and keeps her mind at a little more ease during the day.

Before bed, at nine o’clock, Ashlyn always takes a shot of Lantis. Lantis helps stabilize her blood sugar throughout the night. Ashlyn said this shot hurts the most, so she sometimes doesn’t like taking it. Her nights also consists of her mom waking her up to give her something to eat or drink. Jaimie is alerted when in the middle of the night when Ashlyn is low. To spike her back up, Jaimie will wake her and give her cookies and milk. Sometimes this happens more than once throughout the night.