MTV’s diabetes “TRUE LIFE” accurate?

On Wednesday night MTV had a new episode of their long-lived “True Life” series. Tonight’s topic – “I Have Diabetes”. I tuned in.

As I watched the three people that they followed – Kristen, Jen, and Matt – all 19 years old, I was in tears. Not because anything on there surprised me (I mean I do have the same disease) but because sometimes living with a chronic illness you try to forget the hard times so that you can get up the next day and try all over again. I commend all three of them for allowing cameras into their life so that people in this country could see what it actually looks like to have type-1 or type-2 diabetes.

Kristen  – Type-1 diabetes – had to move in with her parents because of her expensive medical bills and was working 2 full-time jobs, staying up for 40 straight hours to pay them off. She finds out that her A1c is lower (she has better diabetes control) and reports back to her mom. Kristen feels like she can’t do anything right. Her A1c is lower but her Mom gives her no credit.



Jen – Type-2 diabetes – got diabetes when she was pregnant. She ate too much fast food so the doctors put her on 2-3 insulin injections. She struggles with having to self-administer them. She was warned if her blood sugars didn’t get under control her baby would’ve died or had serious complications.  Her baby was taken right away to ICU after the birth because of the mother having diabetes they needed to make sure all was right with the baby. Jen says what a difficult time the pregnancy has been and that she’s determined to take care of her diabetes now. Her follow-up from show is that she’s been admitted to the hospital five times with extremely high blood sugars.

Matt – Type-1 diabetes – drinking 4-5 times/week – wants to be a 19-year old party guy – “I get annoyed when people tell me what I should be doing. Would I prefer to have a thrilling life instead of letting diabetes control everything?” He says his choice is to drastically change his social life to improve his diabetes…and he’s not willing to do that now . He wants the “college experience” and won’t let diabetes get in his way.



Some people may watch this show and make judgements on these three individuals for not being the “perfect diabetics”. My hope is that after watching this episode we all can see how difficult living with diabetes, or any chronic illness, is and that it’s a constant struggle.

Matt says, “Would I rather have my life be better? Or my diabetes?”  My prayer  is that I can find a way to incorporate the two.

Let me know your thoughts on the episode.

Here’s the link to watch it online…..

One thought on “MTV’s diabetes “TRUE LIFE” accurate?

  1. Great post! I thought it was a great effort, that despite its flaws and frustrating points a couple times, it did hit home. Felt myself relating to all three, and really just wanting to reach out and hug them through the TV screen. To let them know there’s a whole community of support online. Actually, two of the three have since found the Diabetes Online Community via blogs, twitter, or facebook – so that’s AWESOME! Thanks for writing this.

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