Guest Post: How Things Change by Stacey D.
How Things Change
In a little less than 2 months, it will be 29 years since my diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. That was in 1981 and sounds like ages ago. Actually it is ages ago. When I think back at my childhood and early adulthood of living with diabetes, it amazes me how things have changed. And I don’t even mean just in the treatment of it. I’m talking more specifically about the support and community aspect. I had diabetes. My father had diabetes. My grandfather had type 2. But that was the extent of the diabetes “community” as I knew it. No one else in my school had it, that I knew of. My teachers were told every year that I had it but I’m not even sure if all of my friends knew. I dealt with the my diabetes how I knew best. As I got older, sometimes I didn’t test my BG when I should have or lied when my parents asked what the reading was. I know as bad as that was for my overall diabetes health, it was a tough part of being a young adult that a lot of us went through. And I went through it pretty much alone. I’m in no way saying my family wasn’t there for me but they didn’t know what I was personally going through.
Fast forward to a few years ago. I am married, have a full time job and my endocrinologist wanted me to go on a pump for better control of my glucose levels. For quite some time I told her I wasn’t ready and didn’t want any part of it. Then one day I thought why don’t I at least find out about this insulin pump thing. And in addition to going online to find product specific information, I found some diabetes MySpace groups. There were really so many other young people like myself living with the same things day in and day out. I learned a lot about the pump from them. And decided to go for it. Theoretically speaking, I owe my wonderful pump experience to those online friends I made! I even met some of those online friends who lived in my area in real life and they are now some of my closest friends. After MySpace, came Facebook, the ACT1 young women’s support groups, Twitter and now DSMA. I had no idea how many other people were actually out there, telling their stories and sharing experiences that I could totally relate to. I have made so many friends over the past few years it makes me really thankful. I am honored to be part of such a wonderful group of people who all share the same goal: to educate, advocate and raise awareness about diabetes. And we know how to have fun doing it! When this slideshow came out a few weeks ago, it touched my heart in a way that I cannot even describe. And when the story of poor Eilish whose life was cut short came to light and there were candles in so many profile pictures on Facebook and Twitter, in remembrance of her, it illustrated the comradery of this group of people. We are scattered all around the world. We are young, middle aged and older. We were diagnosed at different periods in our lives. We use different means to manage our diabetes. Our diabetes reacts differently to different factors. We have different occupations. We have different family lives and hobbies. Some of us are public figures. We are all so very different yet together we are invincible. And that is what I love and wish I had in my younger years.
Stacey D., Living with Type 1 diabetes
To read more about Stacey D., Please check out her blog: The Girl With the Portable Pancreas
Follow Stacey on Twitter @staceydivone