I just had a fabulous evening. My dear friend Kim, who I met at DTreat this summer, came to Birmingham to visit me! As an aside, I must explain DTreat before I continue. DTreat is a diabetes camp for Type 1 diabetics aged 18-25. We all gather together for a very special weekend filled with tears, validation, laughs and most importantly making connections with people who truly understand your struggle with this disease.
|Kim and I, full of pizza, rockin' the beetus|
Kim was one of my beloved roommates who turned into a beetus buddy for life. She made me laugh, on average, every 30 seconds and she was the one who really kickstarted me on the path to owning my diabetes. After my diagnosis I felt as if diabetes wasn’t really a part of me. That is wasn’t my own, and if it wasn’t my own I could distance myself from it and not let it hurt me. This way of thinking didn’t help, as when push came to shove I wasn’t strong enough to stick up for myself, take ownership of my own disease and put myself first. Kim showed me how to own my diabetes through her example. I remember her saying “Look Catherine, we’ve got diabetes and that makes us more awesome than anybody else!!!!”
So this evening was a bitter, cold evening but inside the warm, cozy kitchen of the Mellow Mushroom Kim and I were reminiscing and charging up our diabetes batteries. It brought me a great sense of calm to see her pump match with mine, have her check her blood sugar with me and have her back me up as we played the “diabetes card” to get our pizza to the table faster. By the way, it didn’t work at all! Erin, Kim’s sister came with and she was a blast to meet. She isn't diabetic but she’s still pretty cool anyways.
I thought I should explain the photo. My iPhone kept taking pictures with orbs in them due to a spec of dust on the lens. Kim and I thought it would be funny to post the orb picture anyways and say that "the orbs of diabetes had chosen us!" Yup, we're just that awesome.
We all pounded back our own loaded 10 inch pizzas and talked diabetes the whole evening. After having a severe low in the morning that ruined my day I was happy to devour an entire pizza even if it meant being a bit higher when I went to bed. I loved being able to just look at Kim and go “You get it!” My pump even had an occlusion in the middle of an extended bolus but I felt pretty comfortable at my diabetes friendly table. I didn’t need to take a shot as I was able to get home and change my site before all hell broke lose. By the way I’m holding steady at 147mg/dl as I write. After all that pizza I am ridiculously happy with that.
It’s so important to have a beetus buddy, or two or twenty! To have someone who knows what a high and low feels like and doesn’t judge you. That relief from having someone there can really help propel you forward and motivate you to keep hanging in there with diabetes. I think that’s why the Diabetic Online Community is so important as well. The more connections we have the more ways we can share about treating lows, dating, inserting sites, dealing with stupid people’s comments and a million other things. I love having online beetus buddies but I also like having my real life ones as well. So if you’re lacking some real life beetus buddies go volunteer at JDRF or the ADA or start a group at meetup.com!
We are never alone in this struggle. The difficulties that you experience are experienced my many other diabetics all over the world. As my favorite Canadian TV show host Red Green says “Remember, I’m pulling for ya, we’re all in this together”
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