This is the 8th annual Diabetes Blog Week, and my first. Until now my topics have always come from my distracted mind or from conversations with friends that spark ideas. I’m intrigued by the idea of writing on topics that I may not have thought of, or putting a different spin on things I think about every day. We’ll see how it all works out! Want to see what other bloggers are saying about today's topic? Find their links here.
Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random. What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens? Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?
I tend to be somewhat anal retentive and a little obsessive compulsive about planning, so being prepared for every situation is something I focus on. So instead I’m going to talk about the good things that have come about because of my Type 1 diagnosis. These are all unexpected outcomes for me and great developments. I’m not done, but I certainly wonder what’s yet to come.
The first and most obvious thing T1 brought into my life was this blog and the desire to tell my story. When I was first diagnosed I didn’t want anyone to know and worked pretty hard to hide being diabetic. Over the last 3 years I’ve gone from not telling people to screaming it publicly on the internet. That’s a healthy change – I’m still keeping it pretty quiet at work, but I feel a change coming there too.
Why? Because I’m finding my voice, a voice I didn’t realize I didn’t have. Part of this is undoubtedly due to my advancing age, I’m sure. I worry a lot less about what people think, and when it comes to T1 I worry less about it with every passing day. With that, being honest about my disease and its realities becomes more important. It makes telling my story important, and is helping bring me more out of the shy shell I’ve lived in since I was a kid. OK, so it took me over 40 years. But at least it’s happening!
The last unexpected positive takes me in a different direction, and is as personal as it gets for me. When I was diagnosed I wasn’t just freaked out, I was scared about how my parents would react. I actually tried to figure out how I could avoid telling them altogether, which I realize now would have been completely impossible. Initially, we didn’t talk about diabetes much; I live a state away, we see each other maybe 4 or 5 times a year, and it wasn’t consuming as much time and effort at the start as it does now. But as time has passed, things have progressed. I need more insulin as my body has pretty much completely stopped producing any, I’ve added a CGM and started a blog, and all of those contribute to much more discussion. That’s true with everyone, with both of my parents, my sister and my friends. But it is most noticeable and significant in how conversations have changed with my dad. He asks more questions now than he did originally, and we talk a lot more about how I manage T1 and what I do and don’t struggle with. We talk about my health and his health and have conversations we never had before. And of all the unexpected positives that could have come out of being diagnosed with a lousy chronic disease none of us ever wanted to know about, that’s one heck of an amazing gift. Thanks, Dad. I love you.