As a person with type 1 diabetes, I find it very hard to actually “hide” my diabetes. I also don’t understand exactly why anyone would try to hide it. Type 1 diabetes is a big part of my life and it has just become another factor and a big part of the real “me.”
I have met a great number of people because of diabetes. I have also volunteered to advocate for diabetes, created my team Calla’s Crusaders to raise money and show support for JDRF, and have become a big part of my community because I have type 1 diabetes.
Talking about my life with diabetes makes me feel important and makes me feel like I am an expert in dealing with diabetes. It also makes others understand exactly how difficult it is to deal with the ups and downs I deal with on a daily basis.
Recently, I went to my endocrinologist. I had had a bad week of high blood sugars, so he wanted me to write down all my numbers to see if there were any sort of patterns. I started my log, but forgot to finish it before going to the doctor. While sitting in the waiting room, I continued to add my blood sugars in. An older lady beside me said, “That looks awfully familiar,” speaking of my meter. She had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about two months ago and began to ask me questions. “What’s your diet like? What do you eat for breakfast? Why do you have such a big meter? How much insulin do you take? How many times a day do you give yourself shots?” These are all very normal questions to me, so I was happy to explain and continue the conversation.
I explained to her that I no longer take shots. “I am on the Omnipod insulin pump, which constantly gives me insulin, and my meter wirelessly works with my pump.” I pulled up my sleeve to show her my Pod on my arm. She was very intrigued. She immediately understood how different her type 2 diabetes was from my type 1.
I think it is important to be an advocate for type 1 diabetes and show off all my medical devices that research has helped to develop for those living with diabetes. Devices, such as the Omnipod insulin pump and my continuous glucose monitor (CGM), have helped me significantly improve my control over my diabetes. Diabetes is something I cannot always control, but I try my best to live life as normally as I can. I also try to help others understand the special care we must take to ensure our health on a day-to-day basis.