In the Know
After nearly 20 years of living with type 1 diabetes, I have a great appreciation for other individuals who are “in the know” regarding what it’s like to live with diabetes. Fellow diabetics are a great source of support, encouragement, and inspiration and I love meeting other types 1s out in the real world. I think of fellow diabetics as “kindred spirits!” Also, family members and close friends of diabetics tend to know a lot about diabetes. My favorite thing is when I don’t have to spend 5-10 minutes explaining the differences between type 1 and type 2!
This week I had a pleasant surprise while on-boarding a new employee to my team at work. We were chatting as we got coffee on her very first day and I mentioned, “I have type 1, juvenile, diabetes.” She responded casually, “So does my 16 year old sister.”
“Really?!” I replied with surprise and delight. I quickly followed with, “I’m sorry your sister has to deal with it… but I’m so excited you understand diabetes!”
I manage a team of women and we chat about anything and everything. My diabetes is a common subject of conversation as I comment on the status of my blood sugar, lament poor lunch choices (darn, delicious Thai food!), or generally explain my disease to the women I work with on a daily basis. This new addition to my team was someone who’d be in on these conversations. How exciting that she actually understands the disease!
We went to lunch twice during her first week and it was such a luxury to be able to comment on my blood sugars, inject insulin, and discuss my meal choices with the knowledge that she got it. This experience reminded me how important it is to be open and honest about diabetes. Those of us with diabetes can educate and enlighten our family and friends so they can be ambassadors of understanding about the disease to others. Knowledge is power.