Browsing Tag

type-1 diabetes


Fuck Being “Polite”

Once, before I had an insulin pump so I must have been about 13 or 14 years old, I was eating at a diner with my dad, brother, and sister. My brother and I both live with Type-1 Diabetes, so we tested our blood sugars together. However, he was on an insulin pump at the time and I was not yet, so I had to draw up insulin into a syringe from a vial (this was pre-pens, too!) and I did so right at the table.

While I was flicking the syringe to get rid of the air bubbles I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a little kid pointing at me. He asked his parent: “What is she doing?” I was done extricating the air bubbles at this point and made no hesitation in proceeding to take my injection in my arm, leaning against the table to pinch up the skin. I saw the child’s parent watching me with this look of horror on her face.

She quickly turned to her child and said in a hushed, but not enough to prevent me from hearing her, tone: “You see what she did just there? I never want you to do that.” Clearly, she assumed I was doing recreational drugs or something equally egregious. It kind of boggles my mind, thinking about it today. I was clearly a young teenager, sitting with my own parent and younger siblings, what in the world possessed her to think I would be doing such a thing not just openly in a public space, but under the watchful eye of my father? Really‽

I wish I had had the guts, at that age, to turn around and correct her. But I didn’t—instead, I was extremely embarrassed. I remember always being embarrassed of having to do things in public, whether it was testing my blood sugar or taking shots. Having my brother along made it easier, because I was used to him doing it (he’s lived with this disease much longer than I have) but it didn’t make the staring or the insensitive comments more bearable. I remember getting mad at my dad, once, in a restaurant for telling the waitress to double-check that our soda was diet because his kids were diabetic. I remember such comments eliciting strange looks, judgmental glares, raised eyebrows. It got bad enough that I would go to the bathroom to take my shots, or—even scarier—not take them at all.

Last week, after a meeting with my Diabetes Educator, we decided to put me back on MDIs for the next month since my insulin pump has been malfunctioning. I felt the same feelings of shame creeping back in, and even avoided taking a shot in public at a late lunch with my boyfriend last weekend.

In an ideal world, no person living with Diabetes should have to feel this way, ever. Which is why I’m extremely perturbed by the Miss Manners post in which the advice columnist tells the PWD writing to her that he should absolutely go to the restroom to perform the simple blood glucose checks and insulin injections that are medically necessary for him to do, and often need to be done right away, so as not to “disturb” the people around him. Is this really what she considers to be polite?

Whether it be on a plane, bus, train, or at a restaurant—I’m past the point of being “polite” and excusing myself to hide from the world the fact that I have to do these things in order to stay healthy. It’s shameful, it’s not fair to me or anyone else and perpetuates the idea that the things I need to do to stay alive are somehow BAD.

No. Fuck that. I won’t have it. Those stigmas against lancets and syringes will never be eradicated if it’s not made to be seen as normal. Going forward, I’m not going to hide from anyone anymore. I took an injection right at my desk at work yesterday. So take that, Miss “Manners.” Deal with it.


Only Immortal for a Limited Time

When we are young
Wandering the face of the earth
Wondering what our dreams might be worth
Learning that we’re only immortal
For a limited time.

-Dreamline by Rush

It was 4 days before my 12th birthday. I had asked for two sandwiches with my lunch instead of one only a week or so prior. I remember coming back from dance class that night and feeling tired. I remember how heavy my body felt as I got out of the car and went to head inside and upstairs to my bedroom. I remember my mom grabbing my arm and guiding me to the kitchen instead.

I remember her telling my brother to get his meter.

The realization of what she wanted to do hit me like a freight train. “No… No!” I struggled but she managed to check my blood glucose. The numbers counted down… I was over 300 mg/dL. I started crying.

In the car ride to the hospital, my mother tried to reassure me that everything would be okay. I stared out the window, my arms crossed, thinking. Thinking that my body is broken. Thinking that I will die young. Thinking that Diabetes will kill me.

I felt my mortality that day. I’ve lived every day feeling it since. It certainly gives you perspective.

This year marks 14 years with Type-1 Diabetes for me. I’ve struggled a lot with this disease. There have been highs and lows, both literally and figuratively. I’ve dealt with a lot. The struggle has made me stronger, wiser, and more understanding. I’m proud of who I am and how I have been shaped.

World Diabetes Day


Diabetes Meme

Saw this on Allison’s site a while ago and never filled it out. I figured that today, since I’m home sick and bored, would be a good day to do so. I apologize for the fact that I have no idea what the original source is.

What type of diabetes do you have:
Type-1, which used to be called “Juvenille-Onset Diabetes” but I think that term is depreciated now.

When were you diagnosed:
October 9, 1999. It was 4 days before my 12th birthday! (Thanks for that early birthday present, mother nature.)

What’s your current blood sugar:
I literally just pulled out my glucose meter to check this. It’s 270 mg/dL, probably because I’m sick.

What kind of meter do you use:
OneTouch UltraLink, it’s the one that “communicates” with my insulin pump. (“Communicates” meaning it sends my readings to the pump so I don’t have to type them in, and that’s it.)

How many times a day do you test your blood sugar:
I average twice a day, but I know I should be doing it more like 5 or 6 times. I’m really lazy when it comes to testing but I’m trying to get better at it.

What’s a “high” number for you:
Anything over 200 mg/dL I consider “high” and I correct to 120 mg/dL.

What do you consider “low”:
Anything under 70 mg/dL. Under 80 is when I start getting symptoms, but under 70 is when they start becoming really apparent.

What’s your favorite low blood sugar reaction treater:
I love fruit punch glucose tablets, and I keep a roll of them on me at all times. Sometimes, for a really low blood sugar or if it’s before bed, I also eat a spoonful of peanut butter.

Describe your dream endo:
Female, a fellow type-1 diabetic, well-educated, familiar with the latest technologies available, and easy-going/friendly.

What’s your biggest diabetes achievement:
Living, of course!

What’s your biggest diabetes-related fear:
Having complications related to my eyesight—my field of work is graphic design so I depend heavily on my eyes to do my job.

Who’s on your support team:
My mom, my brother (a fellow type-1 diabetic himself), my boyfriend (he still needs to learn more, but he’s been great so far), and hopefully whoever my new endocrinologist ends up being (I have yet to find one in SF yet).

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime:
I highly doubt it, but I’m trying to be optimistic for future generations.

What is a “cure” to you:
To quote Allison: “A complete biological reversal of Diabetes.” I will also add, in the case of pancreas transplants, that my ideal cure would not include pills to prevent my body from rejecting a new organ.

The most annoying thing people say to you about your diabetes is:
I often get asked if my pump is a beeper, which seems silly to me. Though once I got asked if it was a new, unreleased iPod (which made me laugh). But I’d have to say that the most annoying thing to me is the misconceptions people have about Diabetics and how most of those misconceptions are related to Type-2. People like Dr. Oz going on Oprah and using a type-1 Diabetic with severe complications (due to the fact that she didn’t take care of herself) to scare type-2 Diabetics into eating better and exerciseing while also attempting to convince them that Diabetes is reversible (trust me when I say it’s not) DOES NOT help these misconceptions.

What is the most common misconception about diabetes:
This list could go on and on and on, but here are my least favorite:
1) Diabetes is reversible
2) Type-1 Diabetes is the “bad kind.”
3) It’s caused by eating too much sugar.

If you could say one thing to your pancreas, what would it be:
Why’d you have to go and let my cells beat each other up? That’s not cool.