You know how when you take your dog to the park and they see another dog, they get all excited and they start jumping on each other, sniffing and barking? Well, I hate to say this, but sometimes we folks with diabetes feel that way too, but humanly refuse to act on it.
Last night, I met up with my team of co-workers and friends at a Wrigley Rooftop event. It was a blast. My friend Erica showed up and we chatted it up about work, new jobs and yes, diabetes. When I found out that she was Type 1 a few months ago, I immediately reached out to her and we began discussing difficulties and insights to having the disease. She's still on shots and, fortunately, seeing my old endocrinologist who taught me everything I needed to know about diabetes and more.
We checked in with each other, basically and it felt good to talk to someone who knows exactly what you're going through. Whether it's a fight with your food or waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or because your sugar is low. Now, don't get me wrong; I love being an active member of the diabetes community online. Diabetes Social Media Advocates gives me a place to go to bitch and whine when things aren't going my way; like when the glucometer gods decide to tell me my sugar is way too high for my own good or when my infusion site for my pump decides that it doesn't want to stay attached to me and comes out for some ungodly reason.
Either way, seeing people in person gives you that realization that you're not alone. I remember going to eat lunch with my boyfriend and sister and seeing a girl walk in with a pump attached to her sweat pants. They both went nuts! "Go talk to her!" "Look! She has diabetes, too!" They couldn't believe that there were two people with diabetes in their presence. In a way, I wanted to go over to talk to her, kinda saying, I'm here, too. But then I didn't want to bother her. We're normal people!
When my boyfriend found out that Erica had diabetes, too, he couldn't contain his excitement. "That's so cute! You're diabetes friends!" I couldn't help but laugh. Hard. I told her what he said and she said, "Well, that's why we bonded originally!" She then told us that there was a woman on the train with a pump on and she kinda wanted to tap her and talk to her. She didn't do it either.
Bottom line is that when we know or see or find another person with diabetes, we realize that we're not alone and that we're not the only ones facing this fear of eating the right foods with consequences. There are other people who understand, who can give us encouragement and tips on how to maintain your health! We realize that there are others out there who go through the same thing we do; fight the same fight; endure the same battle and that's comforting.
So for all of you people with diabetes out there, this is for you: You're not alone!