Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.
It’s easy to hide diabetes. A person living with diabetes looks just like any other healthy person at first glance. What others can’t see is the many planned meals, daily blood sugar tests, and stress of trying to stay in control that sits on the shoulders of those with diabetes. Thankfully, there are many tools that have been developed to help make life with diabetes easier. The many insulin pumps, continuous blood glucose sensors, and meters available now do indeed make life much easier for those living with diabetes, but they also make it more visible.
Being an insulin pump user, I am used to buying and wearing clothes that can easily conceal my pump. I know that when people see it they are curious and want to ask, think it isn’t appropriate, or think that I am self-conscious about it. For whatever reason, it has just been easier to hide it to avoid the awkwardness that it can cause. Over the years however, I have become more comfortable wearing my pump more visibly. I don’t know if it is because I am not as thin as I used to be and have fewer places to hide it or if it is because I am more comfortable talking about my diabetes. I would like to think it is the latter of the two. I no longer worry about people asking me about the strange pager looking thing that I am always wearing. Wearing my pump where it can be seen has sort of become a self-declaration of my confidence of life with diabetes.
Diabetes should be talked about, especially with those that you are close to and associate with. What better way to start the conversation than with the funny looking pager thing attached to my hip? By doing this, I myself am forced to learn the ins and outs of the disease so that I can intelligently answer the questions that may come. I feel like a walking invitation to learn more about the realities of diabetes.
Diabetes is not something to be afraid of or ashamed of. It just is what it is, and more people should be aware of it and what it is like to live with a chronic disease. By putting it all out there and wearing my pump proudly I am making a statement to the world. “Hello world, I am living with diabetes and am a better person because of it!”