Friday, July 20, 2012

The social side of diabetes. Part 1.

There is a lot that can be said for living with type one diabetes and how it can change people's perspective of you. As a kid I was kind of an odd one out for many reasons, but especially because of my needles. I remember distinctly getting yelled at by a "popular" girl in grade 5 because I "grossed" another popular  girl out so much that she wanted to "puke".

But, there was nothing I could do about it. I had to check my blood at lunch time. At that time I didn't take insulin at school, but I still needed to care for myself.

Fast forward almost 20 years. I was on a date with a guy that I had a lot in common with, and I thought it was going relatively well for a dinner date. After a glass of wine, we decided to order supper so naturally I checked my blood to see what kind of carb load I could take. When I checked my blood, I caught a glimpse of what could only be described as how his face must look if he just narrowly misses getting hit by a mack truck. I put everything away, corrected and carried on hoping to not be questioned about it. I told him I had type one diabetes and he looked horrified. We ate supper and after supper informed me he couldn't date someone with diabetes. I said "that's fine, I can't date a jerk either." We parted ways and that was it.

I also have people who see me, as a plus sized woman and assume I "did this to myself". Even after a quick education, I can't help but feel judged and belittled sometimes.

Some friends at Diabetes Camp

And then...and then there are the people who just get it. My fabulous boyfriend is patient, recognizes my needs and listens intently when I give him instructions on how to deal with me, what I am doing with my pump and more. I have friends who know that diabetes doesn't define who I am and it's just something I happen to do while we are out together, much like them desperately needing to check texts or emails. My family, close friends and my love know the disease, or at least know me and trust me to know that I am doing it right.

If I just had my love, my friends and my family I would be in a pretty great position in life. But then I get the cherry on my sundae (only and extra 5g cho!) ...the diabetes community. What the diabetes community does for each other is astounding. From lending a tester, or extra insulin to being there if you are experiencing a high at 4 am and just can't figure out why: the diabetes community always has my back. I have met dear friends at diabetes camp that are in a league of their own. We have grown up with the advances in medical research, the awkward phase of teenage years, dating, sex, love, relationships, family, and the ever going roller coaster of adding diabetes to every equation.

About three months ago I decided to take my self-care head on. My doctor seemed uninterested in fixing the social side of diabetes and really nobody else but the diabetes community could even attempt to understand it. At this point in time I discovered the diabetes social media advocates on twitter, I discovered a wonderful world of diabetes blogs (or dblogs) and I started to open up online about my life with diabetes. The support and connection I have felt is overwhelming and I truly think it is helping me achieve better results in my self-care.

So consider this a hat tip to all of the dbloggers, social media advocates, members of Facebook groups and anyone who discusses diabetes with me.

Without you I would be in a harder spot.


  1. I have to admit that, until recently, I didn't know about you in the diabetes online community. But you make a great point -- that even though some of us are talking, there are a lot more of us listening. I have a Facebook page that publishes links to my dblog (and little more), but when I see people "like" it - people whose names I don't recognize (and some from outside of North America!) - I know that my words are reaching out farther than I had ever thought. It's reassuring to get comments and to know people are reading, but it's equally nice to know that people are reading and taking something good away from it...silently.

    1. Oh, I wasn't posting openly about it. I had been struggling with hiding or being overt about it. Discovering the online community has helped me make my decision. Like I said before, I think people with diabetes are the best support and advice givers for other pwds, I couldn't turn down the opportunity!