I joined a tennis league. For the second time this summer. I saw a familiar face and I was less than thrilled. I have met this person a few times before, and they also have diabetes and we have very different views on what that means. They once told me they had never been low. They have had T1D for a few years, so I was very confused. I asked more questions and this person considers a low only something that causes you to lose consciousness, not something that you treat with sugar. Okay. We view diabetes differently. At the end of the night, I couldn’t concentrate and I was having trouble focusing on the ball. I knew I was low. The other day I couldn’t find juice boxes at a small grocery store, so I bought cans of pink lemonade. As I walked away from the courts chugging, this person walked over and said, “are you allowed to have that?” I quickly, without-all-of-my-brain-capacity answered, “yes. I’m low.” I should have responded with “we’re all allowed to eat whatever we want if we’re not allergic to it.” But I was so mad. And so shocked. I only drink things like this when I’m low. And not that it matters. But that is my choice.
How can we expect the general public to understand and respect our lives with diabetes if we don’t respect each other? Diabetes is complicated enough without degrading other people with diabetes. We must remember that we are all different. We all choose to take care of our diabetes differently, and that’s okay. Please, let’s get in the habit of saying “I take care of my diabetes ______ way, but I can’t speak for other people with diabetes.” I know it’s a long sentence and I know getting in that habit will take a while, but I think we can build up our WHOLE community by treating our advocacy/conversation efforts this way.
I met my friend at the bar in between our houses. I had my Dexcom in my arm that night and the bartender said, (but I didn’t hear) “you have the pod?” It’s a busy and loud Irish bar. Later as I was getting another drink from a different bartender, he asked if he could ask what was on my arm. I told him it was a continuous glucose monitor and he yelled over to the first bartender to come check it out. Turns out, she’s had diabetes for years, has a Minimed pump and hates the Minimed CGM. “I wore that thing one night and it kept me awake all night telling me I was high and I wasn’t!” We talked about diabetes for a few minutes until another customer needed a drink. Bars are where I’ve had some of what I think are my scariest lows. When I look back on them later I can see how I wasn’t in real danger and there were in fact safe choices and sugar surrounding me. But between the lack of sugar and the increase in alcohol, obvious choices aren’t always so obvious. It was like a wave of relief washed over me in that instant. Not that I need to be taken care of. But if I say “my blood sugar is crashing. I need sprite now,” they won’t disregard my drink request in favor of someone buying alcohol. It’s the little things in life that make the difference between on edge and relaxing. I’m glad a local bar can give me that difference.
I’m still terribly shy and nervous and fail at working a room.
I know that squealing when I see old friends again makes me smile like crazy.
I know that meeting old friends for the first time will never get old.
I know that words are my power when it comes to this community. But trying to describe it never feels right.
I was at a party a few weeks ago where someone mentioned they weren’t going to eat any more cookies because getting diabetes would be the worst thing in the world. I informed them of the inaccuracy of their statement without disclosing that I have type 1 diabetes. The people at the party who know I have diabetes were not in the room. I wasn’t in a fighting mood or a “talk tactfully and succinctly to get my point across” mood, so I left the room.
As I was repeating this story to a friend this week, I realized that what sticks out in my mind as a major diabetes moment and what sticks out in my friends’ minds can be quite different.
There was a festival in town one weekend and I finally felt like I had made friends and they wanted me to join them. Who am I to say no to doing things with friends. Everywhere I looked there was delicious food. What was I going to have. Not if. What. I/we made my/our decision. I told my friends this was not a decision we could back out on because our choice had so much sugar (more than anything else there), that I would go low if I pre-bolused and then decided on something else. I think I guesstimated that it was something like 80 or 90 or possibly even 100g of carbs. I programmed my insulin pump and let the sound of delivery be music to my ears next to the kids laughing around us. We reached the front of the line and it was sold out. “You can go to our store tomorrow” they said. I had to immediately figure out what to do. This is the moment my friend realized how panicky life with diabetes can get. I mean, I was sad and disappointed and nervous about going low, but I bought multiple other things to get to the carb count. I’m sure I also had airheads with me. But it was a super hot day so if I got super low or went low super fast, this would’ve been a day I would have just wanted to stop and sit. No matter where I was. I don’t remember going low that day (doesn’t mean I didn’t), and I don’t remember going high (doesn’t mean I didn’t). I remember so many other wonderful things. Now I know that diabetes panic is part of someone else’s memory from that day.
I don’t think of this as a panic moment. I don’t think I appeared panicked. I know this friend has been around for more panicky moments. Did I hide those? If I did, why? I think I’d be safer if friends know when I actually panic and when I don’t. I believe it would keep me safer in an emergency. But, I really like this story. I like that a quick change of plans made this okay. I like that to me it’s funny and to them it wasn’t. I love the different views of how we dealt with it. I like that a simple story taught them more and more about diabetes. No one is going to learn it all in a day. Every experience teaches those around us, even if the lesson isn’t what we intend.
The very first inspiration for Diabetes Blog Week was to help connect our blogging community, and that continues to be the most important reason it’s held every year. So let’s help foster and continue those connections as we wrap up another Dblog Week. Share a link to a new blog you’ve found or a new friend you’ve made. Or pick a random blog off of the Participant’s List, check it out and share it with us. Let’s take some time today to make new friends.
From the beginning, Diabetes Blog Week has been about building the community. There are heart-warming, gut-wrenching, soul-sharing & belly laughing posts out there. Every single post deserves to be read, but I’m just one person and can’t read them all in one week. Here are the ones I’ve read and have stuck out and I think you should read too. (In order of when I read them.)
(I’m sorry I’m SO late for today, but the weather has been beautiful and I’ve been outside all day. This also means I haven’t been able to catch up at all, so here are six days worth of blogs I think are worth reading.)
If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blogpost that you have ever written? Is it diabetes related or just life related? If you are a new blogger and don’t have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog? (Thank you Laddie of Test Guess and Go for suggesting this topic.)
Maybe this is cheating. But maybe this is the easiest way for me to tell you all that I feel. There are so many parts of me, just like there are lots of pieces to you. I’m separating this post into three types of motivation. Diabetes. Blog. Life. I’ve gone through my Pinterest thoughtful board and found quotes that motivate me to be the best I can be in those three areas. These motivations keep me going. They help me stay true to me. They help me write here (and decide what to write). They help me be okay with all that diabetes throws at me and keep me working hard every day to make my diabetes life as easy as possible.
We are all motivated by different thoughts, people, words and ideas. Check here for other bloggers’ motivations.
Taking a cue from Adam Brown’s recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day! Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever. Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way. (Thank you, Katy of Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes for this topic.)
I like to think that I have the self control to always eat what will make my diabetes easier to manage/stabilize. However, I am not that kind of person. I don’t buy ice cream to keep in the house because I have no self-control, therefore ice cream stands are my favorite. Since I have no self-control, I work really hard to keep healthier foods around. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not. Here’s a “day.” (I’ve been sick this week so this is a combination of days, which might look like a real day on a healthy day.)
Here are a few other tid-bits you might find important/interesting.This is NOT a typical day for me, just examples of how I like to eat. I try to eat a well-rounded, balanced diet. I can get pretty bored with foods, so I vary from day to day. If you have questions about any of the foods I’ve mentioned, don’t hesitate to ask. If you have questions about how these food affect my blood sugars, then I can’t really answer your questions. I do try to pay attention, but I don’t keep enough logs or data to know exactly how any food affects me. This is what works for me, and I hope that you have things that work for you. I think that cookbooks and Pinterest are the greatest things in the world to keep variety in my diet.
Here is what other people are eating!