Coming out of the closet: my first meet up with other Type 1 diabetics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This post got the Best of the ‘Betes Blog award for my story about a D-meetup in October 2013. Thank you!

 

 

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Connected in Motion‘s trampoline dodgeball tournament this past weekend. Here we are, team Tight & Bright! We lost, but we can be seen a mile away in our neon attire. That’s a win in my books. 

It’s funny how quickly I went from a confident, bubbly personality to an insecure little schoolgirl.

The night before my first type one outing, I felt like it was the first day of school.

Thoughts went as follows: Will they like me? What time should I get up so I have ample time to prepare? Will they like me? I hope I don’t seem like a newbie diabetic. What’s wrong with being a newbie diabetic? Will they like me? Is everyone going to be on pumps? What if I get a low? Will they like me? Maybe I shouldn’t do this….

You get the point. But once I got in and introduced myself, that feeling went away in about 90 seconds.

Cue applause for Connected In Motion-an amazing group of T1D’s and for the first time, I was surrounded by people who got it. Got what it meant to deal with diabetes day in and day out.

The most beautiful part of all of this? None of it had to be said.

It was a very big step for me. Last year I remember being in hysterics crying to my close friends and family, begging them to keep my secret.

I remember that dreaded moment when I realized I had to tell my pace leader at run club that I had diabetes. I motioned her to come close to me, separating us from the group.

“Listen, you can’t tell ANYONE but I have type 1 diabetes. Please don’t say a word. But I just thought you should know in case something happens.”

To this day a lot of people still don’t know I have diabetes. 

I think part of the reason I was and still am at times apprehensive about talking about it is because I feel that the majority of the population really don’t know what it is. Diabetes is made fun of. It’s associated with overweight and unhealthy people who don’t take care of themselves.

Every time I had to tell someone I would say very sternly…

“This has NOTHING to do with how much sugar I consumed. I did nothing to provoke this. I was living a very healthy lifestyle.  No I cannot be cured by a detox cleanse or boiling seeds from the highest treetops in Costa Rica. I’m sorry to hear your great uncle Bob has diabetes. He still eats cake? That’s nice. No I can’t just pop a pill be fine. This is an autoimmune disease! It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my fault… do you hear me? This wasn’t my fault.”

In fact it wasn’t until recently that I stopped asking my endocrinologist each and every visit if there was anything I could have done to have prevented type 1 diabetes.

She has been wonderful about it, being supportive and with a calming voice reassuring me each time. I knew the answer wouldn’t change, but I needed to hear it from a medical professional. Multiple times.

It has been a long, dark and incredibly challenging journey this past year. Spending half a day amongst people with the same disease has helped me in ways I’m sure I don’t even know. I don’t feel alone anymore.

I will delve into this topic in more detail in later posts but my main message is this: If you are dealing with diabetes, break through the insecurity and go find a support group. You don’t know what you’re missing until you experience what it’s like to be supported by strangers and hopefully new friends.

Thank you Connected in Motion. Saturday’s experience is one I’ll never forget. Now here is a shot of two amazing legs from team Tight & Bright.

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Putting one foot in front of the other,

Jessica

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13 Comments

  1. I have a couple things to say…..
    When you introduced yourself to me I had no idea you were the one I was talking to on twitter (because I didn’t know what you looked like). Secondly, why didn’t you say something?
    I wondered a few times who you were because I knew you were there somewhere but for all intents and purposes I suck when getting introduced to people. It wasn’t until later that night that I was all, “was that girl I met earlier Jess? Did she say her name because I totally didn’t hear it”

    Next time eh? don’t be a stranger!

    Reply

    1. Hi Scully 🙂

      Thanks for commenting! I thought I said my name to you, but can’t remember 100 per cent. I also was probably overwhelmed by all the people I was meeting when I first got in. Next time we will have a proper introduction! I really appreciate you commenting. Hope to see you soon.

      Reply

  2. Jessica!
    It was so amazing having you out. It was loads of fun playing your team, your outfits were hilarious 🙂
    Can’t wait to catch up and get to know you a bit better at future events 🙂

    Reply

    1. Hi Amy,
      I hope I conveyed in my post how much Saturday meant to me. I’ll definitely be at future events and trying to help out CIM whenever I can. Looking forward to getting to know you better too 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

      Reply

  3. I am so glad you came and we got to meet each other. And I so know what you meant about the first day of school butterflies. I got that before my first event too but now that I know a few people I absolutely LOVE hanging out with my CIM friends. You were a great member on team tight and bright and you are now stuck with me!!! Thanks for sharing your blog with everyone 🙂

    Reply

    1. Hi Riona. You are stuck with me too. You will forever be part of my first d-meetup memories. Glad to hear I wasn’t the only one nervous before meeting so many strangers. Will see you at the next event 😀

      Reply

  4. Hey Jessica!

    Your post just made organizing the dodgeball event for CIM so much more worth it, and is just another reminder of why we do it. I’m so sorry I didn’t get a chance to formally meet you on Saturday! I was buzzing around the whole day still sort of organizing things and didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone.But I am so glad you “came out of the closet” haha. CIM really is an amazing group and I’m so so so happy you are now a part of it! Hopefully I will get to see you soon at another event. Thanks for writing this post, it was great 🙂

    Reply

  5. Hi Stephanie, a formal introduction is in order at the next CIM event 🙂 Thank you for organizing! I can assure you all that work makes a huge difference for people like me. See you at the next event 😀 Thank you for reading my blog

    Reply

  6. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it
    from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog jump out.
    Please let me know where you got your design. With thanks

    Reply

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