Meeting Other Diabetics

April 29th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I am super excited to be a part of the Diabetic Youth Foundation’s Bay Area Walk FUNraiser this weekend.  I am excited not only because I feel good helping such a fantastic organization doing amazing work year-round, but I’m also excited because I get to meet more people just like me who are living with diabetes.

I haven’t always felt that way.

I promise.

I remember going to my first ADA walk with my mom shortly after I was diagnosed.  It wasn’t exciting at all.  I was still trying to figure out what was going on with my own diabetes; I don’t think I spoke with any other person at the event.

I stopped attending a lot of the diabetes-oriented events after that, and after a few “support group” meetings that were nothing but bitter complaint sessions in smelly hospital meeting rooms.

No fun.  At all.

I do know I met another type one when I was in high school; she was pretty normal and she was the first person who told me about wearing an insulin pump.  She also actually liked her doctor—a new idea for me.  We never really socialized since she was older than me, but it somehow made something better for me to know she was out there at my school.

(The only other person I knew with type one went to my grade school and she was very shy and no fun so I never really knew what to do with her.  I knew her before I was diagnosed myself so all I really remember was her sad face when someone had a birthday at school and brought cupcakes to class.)

It wasn’t until I (for some odd reason, considering how I felt about others I had met) signed up to work at the DYF’s Bearskin Meadow Camp that I really had to interact with other type ones—interact with them as PEOPLE, AND as fellow type ones.

I think it was the PEOPLE part that has made all the difference for me.

If you have had the same experience meeting other diabetics that are “just like you” in only one area, but completely not like you in the rest of their non-diabetic lives, then you’re just like I was for the first 10 years I lived with the disease.

Since I have come to learn that everyone living with (at least type one, I can’t speak for type twos on this) diabetes is, in fact, EXACTLY LIKE ME.  Not one of us cares to be defined by the disease.  Each one of us has dreams and hopes and plans that really don’t have one iota to do with what our blood glucose levels decide to be at any given moment.  Not one of us cares to be slowed down by diabetes, and each of us have pretty full lives ASIDE from what we do to care for our bodies.

It’s important to get to know others with diabetes, if only to reinforce for yourself that others out there are just like you and doing what they choose to do, diabetes or not.

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