I was going to a dinner party the other night and I was not looking forward to it. There was traffic on the way over which is by no means my favorite, but that aside, I had been looking forward to this particular evening all week. The people my partner and I were meeting up with were his childhood friends, and I enjoyed spending time with them. This sudden attitude shift can be an indicator that my diabetes (or T1D) is doing something funky, so when we arrived at their home, I checked my blood sugar. It was 476. (For those of you who are not familiar with T1D, a common target range for blood sugar is between 80-180). After a quick bolus (which is a way to administer insulin to cover blood sugar and/or food intake), my very supportive and patient partner asked if he could do anything to help. I shook my head. I needed a few minutes to collect myself, and I told him to go ahead inside. I sat there, tears in my eyes, and asked myself what I really needed. The answer was simple but its effect was profound—I needed understanding. It’s easy for me to isolate in those moments when my diabetes messes with my mood, and as loving as my partner is, I didn’t feel like explaining what I was going through. I got out my phone and pulled up a group text I’d started with two of my dearest friends who also happen to have diabetes. I said what I was feeling (an intense, seemingly irrational and almost crippling sense of irritation), how much I hated having diabetes in that moment, and do you know what? They got right in there with me. No one was trying to pull me out of my frustration—they simply sat it in with me, and it felt amazing. They responded with the perfect mix of commiseration, compassion, humor and unity, as only a fellow T1D can do. Five minutes later I got out of the car and went inside feeling more peaceful, less alone, and dare I say it, ready for a good time. My blood sugar was still high, but I felt grounded in the connection I had made with people who truly understood my struggle and said “we’re in this together”. Chronic illness can be incredibly difficult—both physically and emotionally, and sometimes we need someone to help us remember and strengthen who we are apart from our disease.
I help people rediscover hope. Call me at 206-858-0247.