Age: 33 Year Diagnosed: 2000 Location: Montreuil, France
“I remember one time going through customs at the airport and I always have with me a prescription which allows me to keep all my diabetes stuff and it also says that I have the right to take with me sweet drinks in case of hypo. A customs officer told me that as a diabetic I was not allowed to drink my orange juice box but just tea or water like his grandma and he just confiscated my orange juice until his supervisor told him it was ok. I remembered feeling so bad as I had to fight for something I really needed and I knew better than him what is good for me but in the end, he never even apologized for being wrong.
When my diabetes was discovered, I was 15 years old and I did not realize what was involved with it. I really did not get along with my first endo : she always yelled at me during my appointment telling me that I was lucky to be young or my kidney would have already collapsed. She was not wrong but the way she told me that didn't push me to be more careful. I just continued to eat whatever I wanted without checking my blood sugar. I remember how stressed out l I was before going to see my endo, filling my blood sugar notebook the night before my appointment. I remember my husband, Pascal, sitting next to me while I would do this, and he knew that it was better for him to not talk to me as I was so panicked that I could start crying just because I got lost keeping track of all my numbers, trying to catch up 3 months in that notebook, pretending that I've done it everyday carefully... And then everything changed: first, when I learned about carbohydrate counting and then, when the Omnipod arrived in my life and a few month later follows by the Freestyle Libre which was reimbursed in France. Those two devices allowed me to show and accept my diabetes as I did not hide it anymore. It does not bother me to wear them on my arms or that strangers ask me about them. On the contrary, It has allowed me to accept it and it helps me to educate people, to talk about it and increase awareness. It allows me to connect with people even abroad, people are curious and ask about those weird devices. I also realized how lucky I am to leave in France and have a free access to all of this thanks to the French public health care system. For example, It made me sad to hear stories about people during our travel in Sri Lanka telling us that they have lost someone in their family because of diabetes or how difficult it is to get insulin.”