Telling others about your Diabetes Diagnosis and Staying Positive
I met with my boss today to discuss my new contract. We met in the morning and he hadn't seen me for about three weeks (being a teacher I have a boss, but it doesn't mean we meet often). The first thing he said was "You look well." I had a wicked cold when we met a few weeks ago and he knew it was wreaking havoc on my body and bloodsugars.
Having issues with diabetes is hard to explain to an "outsider." I am well, yes, but then, also not. I look good yes, but you see the bags under my eyes? Those came from a low at 3:00am that woke me up (thank God) and kept me up. I rebounded in the high 200's this morning, causing me to feel, well, like crap.
That look on my face? That's from the pounding headache I have. Oh, and you see the tiredness in my eyes? That's from the needling worry in the back of my mind, the imbalance.
You see that little wound on my left hand? It's hard to notice, but it's not healing so quickly. It's been there for a while now. It looks like a cat scratch or a little scrape, but it hurts and worries me.
And you can't tell of course, but I see this little spot sometimes in my line of vision causing me to fear blindness or retinopathy. See those pale ol' feet in my sandals? The heels are hard and calloused and I am thankful every day that they still tickle so much.
You see that lump on my arm? That's from years of multiple injections with harsh insulin. So yeah, I look well. But if you saw what I saw and knew the storyline behind things, things would look quite differently, perhaps.
During my internal diatribe, I explained my situation to him--my fear of things progressing in the wrong direction with my diabetes, my desire for tighter control, the frustrations with doctors, health care loopholes, hypo and hyperglycemia, etc. I tried to educate him a bit but also genuinely explain what goes into life with type 1 diabetes.
I don't know. I may have done the wrong thing by revealing "too much," but at the same time I really wanted him to understand because I believe he truly wanted to know what may push someone to go elsewhere-somewhere with benefits. Someone who looks so well on the outside.
It was strange. He really seemed to want to understand-and did, which caused me to become quite emotional, as this is rare. He told me other teachers could take my teaching hours if something ever arose and I couldn't make it to class. He said he wishes the college offered better benefits for part-timers, and I believed he meant it.
He was very kind and full of empathy. Whether he was just making me feel good or would really have my back I cannot say, but it made me feel supported. I was, in short, relieved.
Time will tell how it all plays out. I wonder about disclosing my diabetes. I wonder if they'll offer a full-time position to a high cost insurance teacher like myself. They can't discriminate, not openly, but you never know. Disclosure is tricky, but I am who I am. I decided to be open and honest. It's backfired before, but for the most part, it serves me well.
What's your policy on disclosure and diabetes or other health issues? How do you reveal your diabetes (if you do), and how much is too much?