This past week I took part in a wonderful scientific meeting. It was hosted at my home institution, and the local participants were given the same meal plan as the out-of-town attendees so that we could share meals and socialize with them. I'm not going to complain about the food (suffice it to say I'm not surprised at all the college freshman who get pudgier), because having that extra socialisation time really was a great opportunity. The dining hall and the restrooms were on a different floors of the same building, so I ended up bolusing right there at the table.

On the last night of the conference (the "gala" dinner) one of the other researchers sat to talk with me about noticing that I am a diabetic. He told me about his two sons who were both diagnosed with type 1 in their teens, and how he always tried to ensure that they never felt impeded or stigmatised by their condition. He also talked about how he felt they were healthier than the average young men because they were thoughtful about the food and exercise they were getting, and how he noticed how supportive and aware their friends were.

It was a pretty special conversation for me. While I know that many people are private about their diabetes, I made a decision awhile ago that I wasn't going to treat it as any more of a secret than the colour of my eyes or something like that: it's just there whether someone notices it or not. I guess I just hoped (perhaps somewhat grandly) that eventually someone might see that they weren't alone and it might help somehow. Having that conversation reminded me that the connection can go both ways, and the importance of community should never be overlooked.

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Comment by shoshana27 on June 29, 2013 at 9:38am

i never hide my diabetes especially since i'm on the pump.

Comment by shoshana27 on June 29, 2013 at 9:49am

i use minimed 522 & am very pleased with it

Comment by Jacob's mom on June 30, 2013 at 7:44am

this post made me smile with hope, I too feel that there is real value in community and empathetic support, Jacob is just starting to be out more about his D after 4 years he really hates checking his bs in front of his friends and will typically bolus but not check his bs when at a friends houses, not to dump but he is at a sleep over his first, he is 14 and he promised to test he texted me at 1245 am that he was 130 god bless him and I haven't heard from him yet this am.... my point is his new kind friends are concerned about his D but just don't know that much about it I hope last night was a chance for him to share more about himself, feeling alone with something can be very isolating, sharing almost always is the right thing to do....glad you had a good conversation your colleague by sharing you probably helped him or her as well as helping yourself .... many blessings, amy

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