TypeofL1fe

Archive for November 2008

I went out with a friend from high school tonight – someone I knew in my pre-diabetes days, who didn’t know yet that I’d been diagnosed.  This presented a small dilemma that I’ve wrestled with for a little bit: In the first few months of being diagnosed, I kind of struggled with how to tell people in my life that I had diabetes. For a while, I ended up hiding it when I could.  It’s not exactly an easy thing to bring up in daily conversation:

“Hey! How was your weekend?!”
“Oh, I just spent the weekend in the hospital – diagnosed with diabetes! What were you up to?”

Hmmm, no.  I realize now that concealing it was not at all conducive to my mental health.  (One might say it was “detri-mental,” ha ha. sorry.)  Anyways, that’s one of the reasons that going to Paris was so liberating for me: I only knew one person prior to the trip, so I just went about my business out in the open, and my new acquaintances could take it or leave it as they wished, and I was more than pleased to field questions.  It was different and refreshing to be up-front and open about it from the get-go instead of figuring out a minimally awkward way of bringing it up.  “Coming out” played a big part in my self-acceptance of this disease.  So I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to adopt this policy in virtually all cases, but especially with those that I’ve known since before I was diagnosed.  I think it’s a whole lot easier and healthier that way.

But I digress (WOW I digress. haha)  The point of this post was supposed to be that while I was talking to my friend about diabetes, he mentioned (as most people seem to) that he should get his blood levels tested.  Depending on the situation, I’ll sometimes offer to test for them right then and there, which was the case tonight.  At this point, most people seem to get nervous for a variety of reasons: they’re afraid it will hurt, or they’re afraid of what the result will be.  I just have to laugh, because in all likelihood, they have nothing to worry about.  And sure enough tonight, the number was a perfect 96 (and this was after a small popcorn at the movies).  Whenever I’ve let my friends test their blood sugar before, I always get a little pang when I see that peachy-keen number on the screen of my blood glucose meter.  And I could never put my finger on what that feeling was, but tonight I realized that it’s jealousy.  Don’t mistake me, I am undoubtedly happy that my friends don’t have worrisome test results.  But it struck me tonight that that number has such a different meaning for me than it does for them.  When I get a number like that, I feel damn proud of the hard work it took to achieve that number.  Because more often than not, that’s what it takes.  But for them, that number is just the way things are, not the way they should be.  They don’t realize all the effort it can take a diabetic to get a lovely little number like that.  Which is a little frustrating. :-\

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So today is World Diabetes Day, and I figured I should probably do something, even though (or especially because) I haven’t written here for weeks… oops.

In a lucky stroke of impeccable timing, I serendipitously happened upon this video on the New York Times Health page.  It’s snippets from a day in the life of a normal 16-year-old girl, recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  It gives a pretty good overview of things, albeit at a very basic level.  The one thing that was weird to me was that she used blood samples from her forearm to test her BG – not her fingertips, which I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone using anything other than their fingertips.  I think I may have come across a booklet or two that mention using one’s palm or forearm, but by and large, the common practice is to use one’s fingertip.

Anyways, it was interesting to see, and kind of touching.  Seeing another young, newly diagnosed diabetic hit home a little bit.

Back to WDD: this year’s theme is “Diabetes in Children and Adolescents,” addressing the growing numbers of youth with diabetes.  Check out the website for more information about the campaign and need-to-know facts about this disease.

Fun Fact: According to the WDD website, November 14 is designated as World Diabetes Day to commemorate the “birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.”  And how very grateful I am for that.  It absolutely dumbfounds me that this discovery took place less than one hundred years ago.  Sometimes I wonder how close to death I really came, because I know that I was not in a good state when I was diagnosed.  And because of the serendipitous (love that word!) nature of the circumstances leading to my diagnosis, I wonder if and/or when something else would have happened to send me to the hospital.  It’s scary to think that I might not be alive today if things hadn’t fallen into place the way they did (although I might rather argue that it was more of a disruption), because as hard as that is to believe, it could have happened.  It speaks a lot to the fact that there remains a lot to be done in the realm of diabetes awareness and education, even (and especially) today.  So do your part, and spread the word.  And if you don’t know much about diabetes, investigate a little!  Satisfy your curiousity.  Even just a little bit of knowledge helps. 🙂