Age: 19 Year Diagnosed: 1999 Location: Los Angeles, Ca
"I was on a long hike last summer. Because of the heat I sweat the adhesive off of my Omnipod, and had to apply a new one in middle of the woods. Since it’s part of The Long Trail, we would see people pretty often. A group of hikers came upon us, just as I was flicking the air bubbles out of the needle. I think they thought I was a drug user, their jaws dropped and they started backing off. I had to call out and tell them that I was a diabetic and that nothing fishy was going on.
I hate when people thing that we can’t make normal lifestyle choices! It could be as simple as someone telling me I shouldn’t be eating a cookie or people babying me on hikes. I’ve been a counselor for two years in a survival camp, I can definitely fend for myself. When people are suddenly experts in how I should handle myself and how I should maintain my health it really irks me. I’ve been living with type one as long as I can remember, don’t patronize me about how I should be operating. I find also that there is a big difference between when people care and when people “care” in this regard, people who care help me be less scatterbrained about it, for instance someone reminding me to dose fifteen minutes before food. Then there are people who “care”, who really just want to be right, “don’t eat that it’s sugary”. I’d say the misconception I'd like to fix is that diabetics can’t take care of themselves.
I went to boarding school at the age of fourteen. When I left home it really hit me how responsible I was for my health. I no longer had the crutch of parents who could monitor my every move. About that time I started getting into fitness and overall health much more. I’ve had diabetes as long as I can remember, but it hit me then that the person that you can rely most on is you. It’s always nice to educate someone else about what’s going on, but the person whose knowledge and being we should be most concerned about is ourselves. Be proactive, go out, and be the best that you can be, no one else can.
Being mindful of the big picture. It helps so much to sit down, look at your numbers, and see how they can be improved. A lot of the time you don’t need an endocrinologist to tell you to up your basil in the mornings. If you sit down and look at the trends over time in your logs, you’re already steps ahead in your journey to fix whatever is going wrong. One of the worst things I was doing was only concentrating on the now, looking at the whole helped me a huge amount.