Believe it or don’t, but just like Karen’s blog header says, life with diabetes isn’t all bad. Seriously. The D-Blog Week topic for the day involves focusing on good things diabetes has brought us. I don’t like to give D a whole ton of credit, but I do like to look at the brighter side. So let’s get into it, shall we?
Because of type 1 diabetes, I have:
– Met SO MANY truly amazing people, including: The girls from my Cottontail Cabin at Camp Diamont, Montana’s summer camp for kids with diabetes that I attended from 8 to 14 years old! My several friends from Camp Diamont who came back as junior and senior counselors with me: Y’all are such superstars and I’m glad to still know you and have you in my life (thank you Facebook and LinkedIn!). My dear friend E, my first friend with type 2 diabetes who was a real love and whom I miss so much.
– Joined my life with a partner who loves me for who I am–D included. She knows all that my life is, and accepts me with it. There’s no hiding it, even though I didn’t take very good care of myself the first 15 years we were together.
– Become an assertive advocate for myself, family members, friends, random strangers with regard to medical care providers. (Insurance companies are another matter–getting something in the mail from insurance gives me a panic attack before I even open it.) BUT with medical care, I’m your go-to person. I can stay calm, ask questions based on research, say things like “What does the most current literature say about that?” “What kind of results can be expected?” and “How can I make _____work in my life?” And if I’m not satisfied with the answers I hear, I feel empowered to break up with the Dr. Crappys and find another provider. It might not be easy, but I’ll find one who will treat me with current, peer-reviewed knowledge and expertise and respect about successfully managing type 1 diabetes.
– Learned how to take care of myself, and to problem-solve for whatever crisis comes my way. Being prepared is one thing, and dealing with whatever comes along is another. Cooked your one bottle of insulin in a car in 90 degree heat? Been there. Lost insurance coverage? Yep, done that too. Left the house without insulin pump, whether for hours or days? Word. BGs go high immediately after exercise at certain times of day, but go way low during exercise at other times? Still figuring that out, but I *will* prevail (if you’ve dealt with this issue too, please comment or email!) D has made me self-reliant, confident, knowledgeable, and creative.
– Found that I have a passion and talent for promoting public health in ways that don’t demand a lot from individuals: Policies and systems that help make healthy behaviors easy for communities and populations to choose. Because the environment and culture influences so many of my decisions regarding diabetes management, from food and exercise to medical and life insurance coverage and beyond, I understand. It would be a lot easier if our environments supported us in managing our diabetes, rather than demanding we be strong and independent and go against the grain to make the best choices for our health. It just shouldn’t be this hard, and I like to work to change that.
– Found the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), hundreds of folks with D, parents of children with D, and loved ones of kids and adults with D. Can I just say that finding the DOC was truly a lifesaver for me? That’s the truth. I don’t think I would ever have been able to start to change so many of my own behaviors without having the security blanket and the supportive push into the positive pool of the DOC. Everyone who blogs, or tweets, or is on Facebook, with D, is sharing their piece of the entire global d-mosaic with us, and making all of our lives better. Together. Some days I wish I could just read blogs and tweet all the time…but honestly, I’d rather meet everyone at, say, a d-prom IRL.
-Knowledge that I can do this, it is possible and I won’t be struck out of the game. Thirty years in, I’m still here. That’s a good thing.