Nobody else really gets diabetics like diabetics. It’s this odd community filled with people from all walks of life with all different perspectives. But we understand each other. We understand the suckiness of having this chronic, silent disease. Who else can understand waking up in the middle of the night sweaty, disorientated, and clutching at the only thing you know will help, carbs (preferably sweet)? Who else can relate to the daily balancing act that is food, insulin, activity, and your own whacked out body? Who else can understand when blood sugar goes up, resists all effort to coax it down, then crashes, leaving you physically exhausted without having actually done anything? No matter how we handle our disease, no matter what method we prefer, we all understand those moments. We can relate, encourage, laugh, cry, and live life together because we understand. And how awesome is it when your medical team understands as well?
Because I live in Colorado, I am blessed to be able to receive my care from one of the leading juvenile diabetes centers in the country, the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes. Now this is not a promotional pitch, but I have loved my time there because of the amazing people I have come into contact with. The majority of them are diabetics themselves who have extensive medical training along with their personal experiences. How helpful and encouraging is it to be able to talk with someone about the nuts and bolts of diabetes and know you are getting more than the textbook recommendation, because, let’s be honest, how many of us are actually textbook? You are getting advice from a place of deep knowledge coupled with the practicality of actual, first-hand experience. How many other chronic disease sufferers all allowed this privilege? How many oncologists have had cancer? Or doctors who actually suffer from other silent chronic diseases similar to diabetes? And it’s not just the doctors at Barbara Davis, it’s the nurses, techs, PAs, receptionists, actually it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t either have a diabetic loved one or isn’t diabetic themselves. They understand. They are apart of the beautifully diverse, dysfunctional, loving, crazy family that is type one diabetics. And they know what’s up. They understand the struggles of starting something new, or figuring out that crazy trend, or even the need to sometimes just take a break. Lord knows we’ve all needed one at one point.
Another diabetes blogger I’ve been following recently published a post about what diabetics would be like if we discovered a cure. I love this quote from her…
You wouldn’t have those feelings, those feelings we know ‘normal’ people don’t get. Our eyes wouldn’t get cloudy at night, our heads wouldn’t pound, our fingers would sting. We could proclaim that ‘back in the day we had diabetes’ but we won that battle. Our cells phones are the only things that are beeping in our pockets, and if we’re acting drunk it’s not because of a low blood sugar, it is because we are drunk.
What a wonderful idea! But in the meantime, in the mucky mess that is the present. Filled with beeping pumps, trending CGMs, and tired, poked fingers, know you are not alone. You’ve got a crazy bunch of beautifully flawed people walking this wobbly tightrope with you. We get angry and frustrated too, but we keep going, because we have to, because we can look around and be encouraged by all the other people are ‘keeping going’ as well. Look around, lift up your head and be encouraged.