Brec Bassinger, star of CW’s “Stargirl,” reveals how her diabetes diagnosis was a blessing in disguise.
When Brec Bassinger received her diabetes diagnosis at eight years old, she did not take it as bad news. “It’s weird to call a diabetes diagnosis a blessing, but to me, the way it unfolded very much felt like a blessing,” Bassinger says.
Bassinger, an actor best known for her leading roles in “Stargirl” and “Bella and the Bulldogs,” discovered she had diabetes during a holiday with her mother and grandmother. “I was wetting the bed, which I hadn’t done since I was much younger,” she says. “After spending three days together in small quarters, my mother knew something was up. She Googled the symptoms and the first thing that popped up was diabetes.”
Bassinger was taken to the Cook Children’s Hospital where she received her diagnosis, and where she remembers the entire medical team being incredibly supportive. “Everyone, from the beginning stages to the full diagnosis, made it as much of a positive experience as it could be,” Bassinger recalls. “Having all these people supporting you felt almost like blessing in disguise because if they hadn’t noticed it, then who knows how long it would have taken.”
Misconceptions & challenges
There are still many misconceptions about diabetes, including what causes the condition. “People always think we ate a lot of sugar as a kid,” Bassinger says. “I get asked all the time, ‘did you just eat a lot of sweets when you were younger?’ And I tell them, no, they don’t know what caused my diabetes, but it had nothing to do with my diet. Even nowadays, people like to tell me ‘you can’t eat that.’ And I say, yes, I can. I just have to take my insulin.”
From an early age, Bassinger was encouraged to learn as much about diabetes as possible and retain some autonomy over her treatments. “I had another friend who was diabetic who was younger than me,” Bassinger remembers. “His parents were very hands on. They didn’t let him give his own shots and didn’t let him go to friends’ houses. My parents, as much as they were hands on, they still let me be independent, and I’m so grateful for that.”
Today, Bassinger has demanding days on set where she has to be ready to perform for long stretches of the day, and she’s found simple ways to manage her energy levels. “I always try to keep Sour Patch Kids or juice in my purse with me,” she says. Bassinger also has a Dexcom, which tracks her CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) throughout the day, giving her reliable readings of her glucose levels. “I was always against having things attached to my body because, as much as I’m very open about having diabetes, I don’t identify it as my thing. It’s a part of me, but it is not me. But my Dexcom has been the best decision of my life.”
Be kind to yourself
While understanding her condition and getting as much information as possible has always been a priority for Bassinger, she also cautions against overwhelming yourself with information to the point that it creates anxiety. “I’m addicted to my Apple Watch because it makes my Dexcom so easy,” she says, “but recently I haven’t been wearing it as much because sometimes it can feel like information overload. I feel like my diabetes management is as much about taking good care of my diabetes as possible, but it’s also about not overdoing it and mentally being healthy.”
Mental health has been a key part of Bassinger’s journey with diabetes, and one that is an ongoing project. “I’ve had diabetes for 15 years, and I still have bad days where it’s low, high, low, high, low, high,” she says. “Our bodies are hormonal and human, so we can only expect that from our blood sugars as well. If you have a not great day of blood sugars, let it go. Tomorrow is a new day.”