Do you hide your diabetes?
For many years after my diagnosis in 1945, I did not know another diabetic. I mentioned my disease to a couple of friends when I was a teen, but they looked so puzzled. They did not know what I was talking about, and I doubted they even believed me. So I hid my diabetes for many years, but I did try telling a few teachers in high school and college. They did not seem to understand, and maybe they did not believe me. When I was a college sophomore I had a very bad hypo while taking my first calculus test. When I approached the teacher and explained that my vision was blurred, and I could not read the test paper, he would not help me in any way. That was the only test I ever failed. There seemed to be almost no knowledge about diabetes in my early years.
I dated and told my girlfriends. It did not seem to make a difference to them that I was a diabetic. That was probably because they did not know enough about it to be concerned. The first person I knew who really was concerned was my wife, but only after we were married. She was not concerned before we were married because she never saw me have a hypo. I was high much of the time on animal insulin. I did not tell my students after starting my teaching in 1962. There did not seem to be any reason for doing so. I was alone as a diabetic, except for my family, until I was married. My wife and I have been married for 48 years, and she has been so wonderful in so many ways with helping me with my diabetes. But there was still something missing!
In July, 2006, I found diabetes on the internet. That essentially changed my life, in a very important way. There were so many people online who were diabetics, or they had family members with diabetes. We talked with each other, and we learned so many new things. I believe that at least 80% of what I know about diabetes was learned on the internet. I was helped in so many ways, and my control and my life improved. I became a diabetes advocate to many online people who needed to know the things I had learned. So many parents of diabetic children have found me to be an inspiration because I was diagnosed when I was 6, and am very healthy now that I am 72.
After 66 years as a type 1 diabetic, I am very comfortable telling people about my diabetes, and about diabetes in general. It is very comforting and rewarding to give and receive help online. I will never again hide my diabetes. I hope my online friends feel the same way!
I'm pretty open about my diabetes. I'm on the pump now but when I was doing the shots I still would shoot up in public but would try to be discreet. I have no problems testing my blood sugar in front of people (although some of my family members have a problem with it..I guess they get embarrased)..the only time I would probably hide out in the bathroom would be if I had to change my infusion set just because it takes longer to do then to whip out a needle and inject. But I usually only do it in the bathroom if theres a nice big table to use (like at the college I go to) But like I said I don't really hide it..I wear my pump on my pants, I wear a medical id bracelet (hello kitty my favorite) :) I even made a video for class for extra credit showing how I change my infusion set :) I feel like now people are more accepting of diabetes then back then because of people being diagnosed more and just more knowledge of it..
Back in the day, say during the years that I was under 35, I did hide my diabetes, because it was not considered socially appropriate to talk about ones own chronic illness. I never though of my diabetes as shameful, just something no polite person, as I was raised to be, Talked about in areas outside the home. Such information was considered personal AND private.
It was kind of easy, as the treatment protocols did not require open disclosure. I only did one shot day, pre-breakfast at home. There were no glucometers to pop out. I checked my urine for ketones in the privacy of my own home bathroom. No one other than close friends, the school personnel, family or those I told it to,would have any opportunity to know just from looking at me and my behaviors. When I was young, I do not ever remember telling any one about being a diabetic on the jobs I had.. I never had pass out incapacitating lows while I was on beef or pork insulins, and was always( and still am) hypo aware. I carried peppermnt sticks or Hard candies in my purse for when I felt a low coming on. If someone asked me for one ,and my stash was low I would tell them why I had to say no..Yet sometimes I would share the last bit of my candy, because I had such infrequent lows.
As a child and a teenager,I lived in a small commumity. I am sure that, behind my back,the adults called me "that poor young girl who has to take shots because she has sugar. But no one made a big deal about it. Even at home, we only talked spoke of diabetes in reference to supplies needed, syringes and how many insulin bottles are left in the fridge. They were only about 3 or 4 dollars a bottle then, so my parents stocked up. Talked about it if I hacd a condtion induced by recurring hi blood sugars, like few UTI's and yeast infections . I was scolded for bringing it on my self, talked about how to treat it and that was it..
WE talked about it at my every 6 months visit to the endo when I got a blood glucose test. Having Diabetes was considered medical information and Nobody neded to discuss it, Not in polite company.
Of course, I have changed with the times. I am an extroverted Chatty Cathy about everything..
I readily offer to educate and inform anyone who shows interest in my personal diabetic experiences; or is just inquisitive about diabetes in general.
Brunetta, you are a champion! A polite Chatty Cathy. lol. I like that!!
Hi Shayla, that is really neat that you made a video for your class!
Where did you get a Hello Kitty medic alert bracelet? I NEED ONE!!!
Thank you so much. My Aunt and I had this very converstation. She said she respected the fact that her sister-in-law kept her diabetes private while her nieces boyfriend just whips out his needles whenever he needs them. I thought good for him, why wouldn't he. It's nothing to be ashamed of. You look amazing. I have two little girls that are type 1. You are an inspiration. My girls are too.
I have talked to several moms online who have 2 or more children with type 1. here is a mom in Atlanta who has 3 sons and the 3 younger sons are type 1. My son lives in Atlanta and we are flying there in NOv. to visit him and our grand kids. We will also meet the mom and her kids too. I would like to visit diabetic kids and their parents. I hope you and your daughters are doing well. Thanks for your reply!