Young actress Brec Bassinger talks about her childhood with type 1 diabetes in a revealing interview.
Living with diabetes is a lot more complicated than people who don’t live with the disease probably understand. That goes double when you’re diagnosed with type 1 when you’re just a kid. Just ask 20-year-old actress Brec Bassinger, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 8 when she was in 3rd grade.
Learning the ropes
“I can remember my time in the hospital when I was diagnosed, but I cannot, even the slightest bit, remember a life without diabetes,” she says.
Bassinger says she knew it was serious because her mom was more emotional than usual, but she didn’t really realize it was a “forever thing.”
She recalls, “One time my dad and I were out running errands and I had forgotten my insulin at home. We stopped and got tacos. When I got home and checked my blood sugar about an hour later it was 123. I ran over to my best friend’s house and told her I thought my diabetes was gone…” Normal blood sugar should be below 140 two hours after eating, allowing Bassinger to believe the disease had simply gone away.
A support system
Unfortunately, there is no cure for diabetes, though various technologies and general awareness make managing the disease very possible.
Growing up, Bassinger says she got a lot of help and support from her family and her school. “My family was so supportive,” she says. “It was a big deal, but we didn’t treat it like a big deal. I was still Brec.” At school, there was one other student with diabetes so Bassinger and the other student got into a rhythm. “I left class 15 minutes before lunch each day to go to the nurse, check my blood sugar, give a shot, then would join my class for lunch.”
That isn’t to say living with diabetes is always easy or that it doesn’t come with a set of unique challenges — ranging in seriousness from inconvenient to deadly.
Bassinger says the most frustrating lifestyle change is dealing with low blood sugar levels.
“Having the attitude of ‘diabetes can’t stop me’ was great until I ran into low blood sugars,” she explains. When a person with diabetes has low blood sugar levels, they must immediately stop and eat something to elevate it, such as glucose tablets, candy, or juice. “If a low came on during a test, I would just want to finish the test,” she says, continuing, “I still struggle with that today. I get angry and frustrated when my blood sugar goes low. I am learning to be more compassionate to myself.”