I've always been ashamed of the fact that I'm T1 diabetic. Why? Because it's caused so many problems in my life, I feel many people think I'm a "weak" person, and somewhat fragile. I've had to endure a ruptured appendix, a kidney transplant, and a couple of other surgeries over the past few years, and it's not something I'm proud of. Every time a friend or family member walks into the hospital to visit me, I've got a plethora of tubes and needles hooked up to every orface of my body. It's embarrassing.
T1 diabetes is misunderstood by so many people, that I feel I always have to educate people about it and defend the disease. When I had my kidney transplant a year ago for example, many non-diabetics I spoke with assumed chronic kidney failure was caused by drinking. They didn't realize that T1 diabetics are at a high risk of developing kidney failure.
Many people also don't know the difference between T1 and T2 diabetes, and that's also part of the problem. Another is that the media never really distinguishes between T1 and T2 diabetes. But additionally, some doctors don't even know what new symptoms continually arise when living with the disease. As a result of people's ignorance, I've had to endure a lot of discrimination in my life.
So how do you get passed the shame and the anger? I think the answer is to educate people. I think the only answer is by facing it, owning it, and talking about your experience. Over the past few years, I've had to fight against insurance companies, fight against discrimination, and fight with doctors who didn't know anything about the disease. Lately, I've realized that being angry is too tiring. I've been stuck in a depression for 35 years because of my shame, and now I want to get past it. I feel I need to own the disease and let people know what I'm experiencing with it. If I can educate at least 30 people over the next two years, hopefully it will rid me of the shame of living with T1 diabetes.