Having diabetes (a condition in which blood sugar regulation is impaired) in college can be like having two full-time jobs – the first is being a student, and the second is managing blood sugars. It can be a tricky and overwhelming balancing act at times, but knowing where to turn for help can help lighten the load.
There are many resources available at UNC for students with diabetes and their supporters, and
#1 – UNC Campus Health Services is a great place to start (find directions to CHS here). With a diabetes team including a doctor, a nutritionist, a pharmacist/Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and the counseling and mental health professionals at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Campus Health offers a range of services to help keep UNC’s students and post-docs with diabetes healthy, happy, and thriving.
#2 – There’s also a full-service Campus Health Pharmacy right on campus in the basement of Campus Health, with a wide range of prescription diabetes supplies, as well as the Healthy Heels Shoppe, stocked with over-the-counter medicines, supplies, and healthy snacks. In addition, if you have the Student Blue, RA/TA, or Post-Doc Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance plans, the copays on your prescriptions will be lower at Campus Health Pharmacy than anywhere else, and you even have the option to charge them to your student account. Don’t worry if you have private insurance though – the pharmacy accepts hundreds of plans from across the country.
Whether you’re an incoming student with diabetes concerned about managing blood sugars away from home, an established student looking to connect with others who know what it’s like to have diabetes, or even if you have a friend or loved one with diabetes in college who you want to support, another excellent resource is #3 – the UNC diabetes advocacy and support group, Heels and Hearts. The group is a chapter of the national College Diabetes Network and meets monthly to talk about tips for general self-care for students with diabetes, learn about new technology available for people with diabetes (PWD), socialize with others who know what “bolus” means, and come together for community service opportunities like the JDRF One Walk in Raleigh in October. Like Heels and Hearts on Facebook!
Looking for more ways to connect?
#4 – Take a look around the broader diabetes community – check out the local Triangle JDRF chapter and the Raleigh Tour de Cure sites for starters, and don’t forget the other campus resources that pertain to diabetes, like Carolina Dining Services, where you can find nutritional info (and carb counts!) for food served on campus and Campus Rec, where you can learn about opportunities to stay active and healthy.
Diabetes can sometimes feel like an isolating condition. However, there are some other excellent online resources, communities, and forums for PWD, including Students with Diabetes, tudiabetes (part of the diabetes hands foundation), typeonenation (part of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or JDRF), DiabetesSisters (a community for women with diabetes), diabetesmine.com, glu (an active online community of people with type 1 diabetes) six until me (an honest blog about life with type 1 diabetes), Your Diabetes May Vary (a blog about life with type 2 diabetes), diaTribe (the latest in research and technology updates!) Diabetes Social Media Advocacy, asweetlife.org, insulindependence (community for active PWD), and the American Diabetes Association.
So, connect, ask for support, and make this year at UNC a year to thrive!