Coming out of the closet: my first meet up with other Type 1 diabetics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bbblogo-final

 

 

This post got the Best of the ‘Betes Blog award for my story about a D-meetup in October 2013. Thank you!

 

 

Image

Connected in Motion‘s trampoline dodgeball tournament this past weekend. Here we are, team Tight & Bright! We lost, but we can be seen a mile away in our neon attire. That’s a win in my books. 

It’s funny how quickly I went from a confident, bubbly personality to an insecure little schoolgirl.

The night before my first type one outing, I felt like it was the first day of school.

Thoughts went as follows: Will they like me? What time should I get up so I have ample time to prepare? Will they like me? I hope I don’t seem like a newbie diabetic. What’s wrong with being a newbie diabetic? Will they like me? Is everyone going to be on pumps? What if I get a low? Will they like me? Maybe I shouldn’t do this….

You get the point. But once I got in and introduced myself, that feeling went away in about 90 seconds.

Cue applause for Connected In Motion-an amazing group of T1D’s and for the first time, I was surrounded by people who got it. Got what it meant to deal with diabetes day in and day out.

The most beautiful part of all of this? None of it had to be said.

It was a very big step for me. Last year I remember being in hysterics crying to my close friends and family, begging them to keep my secret.

I remember that dreaded moment when I realized I had to tell my pace leader at run club that I had diabetes. I motioned her to come close to me, separating us from the group.

“Listen, you can’t tell ANYONE but I have type 1 diabetes. Please don’t say a word. But I just thought you should know in case something happens.”

To this day a lot of people still don’t know I have diabetes. 

I think part of the reason I was and still am at times apprehensive about talking about it is because I feel that the majority of the population really don’t know what it is. Diabetes is made fun of. It’s associated with overweight and unhealthy people who don’t take care of themselves.

Every time I had to tell someone I would say very sternly…

“This has NOTHING to do with how much sugar I consumed. I did nothing to provoke this. I was living a very healthy lifestyle.  No I cannot be cured by a detox cleanse or boiling seeds from the highest treetops in Costa Rica. I’m sorry to hear your great uncle Bob has diabetes. He still eats cake? That’s nice. No I can’t just pop a pill be fine. This is an autoimmune disease! It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my fault… do you hear me? This wasn’t my fault.”

In fact it wasn’t until recently that I stopped asking my endocrinologist each and every visit if there was anything I could have done to have prevented type 1 diabetes.

She has been wonderful about it, being supportive and with a calming voice reassuring me each time. I knew the answer wouldn’t change, but I needed to hear it from a medical professional. Multiple times.

It has been a long, dark and incredibly challenging journey this past year. Spending half a day amongst people with the same disease has helped me in ways I’m sure I don’t even know. I don’t feel alone anymore.

I will delve into this topic in more detail in later posts but my main message is this: If you are dealing with diabetes, break through the insecurity and go find a support group. You don’t know what you’re missing until you experience what it’s like to be supported by strangers and hopefully new friends.

Thank you Connected in Motion. Saturday’s experience is one I’ll never forget. Now here is a shot of two amazing legs from team Tight & Bright.

Image

Putting one foot in front of the other,

Jessica