No, you didn’t read that wrong. There are actually things I really like about having Type1 Diabetes.
Here goes, not in any specific ranking order:
- I always have snacks on me. And that makes me quite popular when I’m working. I am a documentary film-maker by profession, and the crew always knows that I’ll have granola bars, candies, dried and fresh fruit, and other treats on me. They love that.
- I have a more than compelling reason to go to the gym and take care of myself. Let’s face it, a lot of times we feel guilty about taking time for ourselves. Sometimes, when I’ve been really busy and am aching to go run outside or head to the gym for even half an hour, I get into a “I can’t do that. I need to do this. Or I need to do that” frame of mind. But I have Type 1 Diabetes, and while exercise isn’t going to cure me, it will make me feel better about myself, and help me manage my stress levels (and my blood sugar). So yeah, I’m going to the gym. See you later. (Okay, I’m working on this…. I’m not always the best at that whole self-care thing.)
- I’ve gotten much better at math. I’m an artist, not a science person. I excelled in high school in anything that didn’t involve numbers. Yet here I am, counting carbs and (prior to my pump) calculating my insulin to carb ratios, my correction boluses and net carbs per meal like a pro. Take that, Grade 12 math teacher!!!
- I get to wear cool stickers. There are so many stickers out there to keep your dexcom or Omnipod in place! Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t there an odd delight in being a grown-up and getting to buy stickers that have funny emojis on them, or tropical flowers, or pretty mini donut drawings, or puppies and unicorns and then stick them over your Dexcom or pump and rationalize that a) you’re keeping your pump secure and b) it makes you smile and your husband smile, and your friends laugh, so why not do it?
- I always know if I’m getting sick. If my blood sugar is rising, I’m probably getting sick. But not always. Who are we kidding? Diabetes is unpredictable!!
- I’m always early at the airport. AND (bonus) I get to skip the x-ray machine at the airport and get a pat-down instead, because of all that great wearable technology like the Dexcom CGM and Omnipod. Okay, I don’t really like that part…..
- Sometimes I need to eat chocolate or have a cookie. Um, I don’t really like this part either.. It means i’m low. And if I’m full from dinner and still crashing, the last thing I feel like is a glass of juice, or a fruit, or a sweet, or anything.
- My spinning instructor knows more about me than I really want them to. That’s because I always feel the need to explain why I have my phone with me (so I can see my blood sugar on the Dexcom App), why they may see me kicking back glucose tablets mid-class, and why I may get up and leave in the middle of class. Um, I actually don’t love this part. I’m touched when we’re cranking our way up an imaginary hill, and they give me a shout out, not because my form is perfect but more of a “hey, K, you doing okay over there?” Yes. This is nice. But I like to spin under the radar.
- I am adept at technology. Yes, it’s true. Bluetooth connections? Ha! I can do that. Downloading info from my pump or Dexcom? I do it ALL THE TIME. Calculate my upcoming HbA1C based on supplied data, with a standard deviation of .2? I understand that (see note about to my Grade 12 math teacher). Obsessed with charts and graphs? YES! And do I love that? Um, not so much.
- A doctor friend of mine when I was first diagnosed, put it this way: “Everyone gets something. Now you know what you’ve got.” But what if you can get through life without getting anything? Not possible, he answered. So yes, I have diabetes. Does it define me? Only when I think about it, which is always. Does it bother me? Sometimes! Does it stop me? No.