Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sometimes diabetes is just the icebreaker . . .

Diabetes can be a lot of things all rolled into one. A chronic illness, a pain the the ass, a character builder . . . the list goes on and on. But I have found that diabetes can also be an icebreaker, creating a bond that leads to so much more.

Before I started this blog, I didn't know anyone else with Type 1. So it seemed somewhat surreal on Tuesday when I met Kerri on a train to Grand Central for a Woman's Diabetes Support Meeting. I wasn't sure what to expect and I was a little nervous. I anticipated only that we would talk about the disease we all live with every day, and that I would get to see LeeAnn again. Then the meeting started, and I suddenly heard people saying things that I was sure nobody felt but me.

"Sometime when I go low, I just can't stop eating even though I know I've scarfed down more than enough to bring me back up."
"I was so scared to go on the pump, because I didn't want it attached to me all the time. I had done MDIs for so long that I was used to them and didn't want to change."
"When I was younger, I didn't want anybody to know I had diabetes."
"For a long time, I didn't take care of myself the way I should have. And now I'm so scared that I'll pay with complications."

Each time one of us took a deep breath and confessed something, I would see nods of understanding and hear "me too" muttered quietly. I was surprised at how quickly the 90 minutes went by and disappointed when it was time to leave the room or risk being locked in overnight.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one who was sorry that our time was up, because most of the group ended up at a nearby diner for more chatting.

Thank you, Kerri, for not only being the guest speaker and my traveling companion that night,  but the official event photographer as well. She was kind enough to send me this picture for my post, since I forgot to get a picture too.

As it turns out, diabetes was only the icebreaker. Our group had many other things to talk about, like weddings, careers, husband and boyfriends (and the benefits of having one of each) and shopping.

The train ride with Kerri was the same, with diabetes simply being the icebreaker to a friendship.  Sure, any eavesdroppers on the train might have heard two women with Type 1 discussing lows and pumps and CGMs. But they also would have heard two friends talking about normal, every day topics. Husbands, parents, grandmas, jobs, best friends, hot guys, cat vomit, workouts on The Jag, trolls locked in the bathroom and dying yarn with Kool-Aid.  You know, normal stuff.

It's nice when the icebreaker of diabetes can fade away and real friendships grow in its place.


  1. I was so happy to see you again! But now I'm sad because seeing you twice is year isn't often enough. We need to make plans to meet again soon, especially since I won't be working over the summer :)

  2. I'm so glad you were able to come, and I was also grateful to have you as a Minimed model for my "demonstration." :) Vanna, tell 'em what they've won!

    LOL - between the Jag and the Ellipmachine, we could open up our own made-up gym.

  3. Now I have another great blog to read :) I feel the exact same as you wrote Karen and I wish I could have a night like that every night!! It was so nice meeting you too :)

  4. Sounds like such a great time Karen - as most all d-meetups usually are.

    Glad that you had fun with such a wonderful group!

  5. I'm so happy that you and Kerri had a good time at your meetup. It's really nice to be able to hear the things you've thought over and over come out of someone else's mouth. makes it a little easier knowing that other people get it. I must admit I'm jealous that I don't know anyone IRL with Type 1 and there are no meetups near me to speak of. So I guess if anyone in the DOC decides to visit Central Florida give me a call. ;-)


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