What music moves you? What songs resonate with you?
When you are having a difficult day… or week… or year… with type 1 diabetes, or just with life, what do you listen to that helps you get through?
Leading up to the spring of 2017 I was having a rough time. I felt like a failure, like everything I was doing as a T1D mom and in life was not good enough. It turns out that depression tells a person those kinds of lies.
I needed some tunes to get me through the day 3 minutes at a time. The music didn’t fix me, but it helped. My blog partner Alese suggested songs and I began to put together a Spotify playlist.
They had to be songs I felt comfortable listening to with my young children, 5 and 2 at the time. There are some songs that I would have included except for the language or suggestive lyrics. (See #2.) We listen to Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live channel often. Absolutely Mindy, Jack Forman, and Kenny Curtis‘ shows provide plenty of inspiration and kid friendly songs.
Randy Kaplan’s song “Hugs For My Family, High Fives For My Friends,” is about avoiding all contact until the end of the cold and flu season. Since ANY kind of sickness complicates T1D and blood sugar management, this song fits right in!
Like many people with T1D, we talk in a kind of slang sometimes.
In everyday conversation among people with T1D, the term hyperglycemia isn’t used as often as high blood sugar, which in turn is shortened to high. People with type 1 diabetes and their families don’t say hypoglycemia as often as they say low blood sugar, or low. So it isn’t unusal at all for a person with T1D to say to those in the know, “I’m high,” if their blood sugar is above their target range. For those not familiar with the language of T1D, this makes for some shocking eavesdropping.
Much to Alese’s annoyance “Because I Got High” by Afroman didn’t make the official playlist. (See #1.)
For people with T1D, the highs, lows, and everything in between means that there are plenty of songs that take on a hilarious new context. “Lowrider” by War and Jimmy Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” are two of our favorites that did make the cut. Songs that didn’t are listed at the bottom of this blog post.
These are songs personally enjoyed my myself, Alese, and my kids. Some like “Under Pressure,” by David Bowie and Queen, are songs that reflect the mental strain of dealing with the never ending tasks of T1D. Many have a direct T1D connection. “Even If,” by Mercy Me, was written by lead singer Bart Millard about a tough day he and his T1D son had.
Bret Michaels, Poison frontman and solo artist, has lived with T1D since the age of six. Together with his youngest daughter Jorja he wrote “Unbroken.” Michael’s oldest daughter Raine was diagnosed in 2010 with pre-diabetes.
Nick Jonas was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 13. Two years later, on a day he was frustrated with T1D, he wrote “A Little Bit Longer.” It became a hit song for him and his fellow Jonas Brothers. Nick Jonas also co-founded Beyond Type 1 with Juliet de Baubigny, Sarah Lucas, and Sam Talbot.
Since we deal with so many highs and lows and daily life with T1D is a constant balancing act, some songs on my playlist are intended as inside jokes for the diabetes community, like “Love Rollercoaster,” by the Ohio Players, “Tightrope,” by Janelle Monáe, and “Jump Rope,” by Blue October.
Some songs have quirky personal connections. I’ve written before on the blog about how we sing “Calibration” instead of “Celebration” to the tune by Kool and the Gang when we had to calibrate our Dexcom G5. Several songs are for us Sugar Surfers like “Surfing USA,” by The Beach Boys. “I’ve Got No Strings,” by Jess Penner is for Alese and all the other OmniPodders who use the only tubeless insulin pump.
Some are dark humor takes on T1D like “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” by Def Leppard, “Stayin Alive,” by The Bee Gees, and “Eat It,” by “Weird Al” Yankovic for those T1D moms of toddlers. Many are anthems to personal strength like “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor, and “Fight Song,” by Rachel Platten. But they aren’t all uplifting, inspiring power ballads. Some days when I am down I need to listen to music that is right where I am. Surviving. Cue “Breaking Down,” by Florence + The Machine, “The Eye,” by Brandi Carlile, and “Not Alone,” by Ben Taylor.
I am Catholic so there are songs that reflect my Christian beliefs, like “Kyrie,” by Mr. Mister, (also on the list for my Mr. Mister), and “You Say,” by Lauren Daigle.
The songs listed above are just a few from the playlist of (as of now) 72 songs. We use this playlist. My kids ask to listen to it. After two years of keeping it to myself, I want to share it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
For a link to the full playlist, subscribe to Sugar Rush Survivors blog posts HERE.
What songs would you include?
Songs that didn’t make the cut.
These are not included on the playlist, but they make us think of T1D and we love them anyway.
- “Because I Got High” by Afroman
- “Sugar” by Maroon 5