So, I've had T1 for over 9 years. I've never been very open about it, largely because I was unwilling to accept it myself. About a year ago, I decided that this was going to catch up with me and my health sooner or later and I decided to take better care of myself. Six months ago, I got a pump, which was a huge step for me, considering that it is the first time I've ever had a real visible marker of my invisible disease.

After I got my pump, I've always kept it clipped to my belt. Once and a while, someone would ask me what it was. The first time was by the man behind the counter at a convenience store. He said, "is that a phone?" and I replied, "no, it's my pancreas." Needless to say, I got a pretty blank stare from him in return. Most of the time I smirk when people think it's a pager and that I am a doctor on call.

Last week, we were covering diabetes in my nursing school class. I never told anyone at school I had diabetes. (I know... what if I passed out??) My professor first thing asks if anyone has diabetes. I, not really thinking about it, raise my hand. She stares at me in bewilderment and asks "YOU have diabetes?!" "Yes." "Type 1 or Type 2?" "Type 1". And she continues the lecture, asking me questions along the way. It was pretty liberating, I guess. Also, this whole diabetes thing should help me do really well on my test, considering the fact that I have lived all of this.

And, you know what? Lots of my classmates were asking me all sorts of questions about it. Those who were asking... they are going to be great nurses.

SO, thanks to tudiabetes for helping me to become more comfortable with myself and my partner in life, diabetes. I can't wait to educate more people about this disease and help my patients with their own D-journeys.

Views: 193

Comment by Scott E on October 2, 2011 at 5:46pm
Great story KPhil. I never expected it, but found that discussing diabetes publicly elicits respect. Yes, sometimes sympathy (and dumb comments) which is really unwanted, but when people who see me successful in life, then realize that I've got this other burden to deal with, they become all the more impressed. It's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
Comment by Brian Wittman on October 3, 2011 at 2:04pm
Nice story ~ ;)
Comment by Trudy on October 3, 2011 at 2:32pm
Hi kphil06. Forgetting for a moment we're talking about diabetes, I actually enjoyed your story. You are already a great educator.
Comment by Stoyan on October 3, 2011 at 5:56pm
That is very similar to my experience. I also at first did not even want to acknowledged my diabetes to others and hid it every way that I could. Maybe because I thought my hiding it I would not have to think/talk about it so much, and maybe because I didn't want to appear a burden to others.

But getting in touch with the diabetes community has definitely been a very important step for me, it has shown me new perspectives and helped me grow.
Comment by Elizabeth on October 3, 2011 at 6:48pm
I am so glad you did what you did. It will make your classmates that much better educated when the time comes to care for someone with T1 diabetes. It will make your INSTRUCTOR that much better educated when it comes to teaching all the students that follow you. That's incredibly valuable! A friend of mine is in nursing school and when doing her endocrinology unit, she continually popped emails to me (or Facebook chatted me during class!) to say, "My instructor said X about type 1 diabetes in children, is that accurate?" Usually, it was not -- they apparently were using a fairly outdated textbook. I finally wound up sending her a copy of the book I wrote with my son's endocrinologist to use as a reference/show to her instructor.

Good work!
Comment by kphil06 on October 4, 2011 at 6:16pm
thanks for the feedback everyone. :)
Comment by Joshua Marshall on October 14, 2011 at 6:48am
Good job with raising your hand and saying you have diabetes. I don't think I could have done that. I did smile about your instructor being surprised that YOU have diabetes. People with diabetes are supposed to be old and all those other things. Interesting story. And the part with your reply that your pump was your pancreas was a scream. Good to keep people thinking.

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