Most days, diabetes makes me feel like the “exception to the rule”. In almost any social situation, I’m the only one who needs to check my blood sugar. I’m the only one worried about the carb content and glycemic index of the food and beverages served. I’m the only one who has to pause in the middle of a physical activity to treat a low and wait for it to come back up. I’m the only one who runs to the bathroom dozens of times because a high blood sugar is making my bladder fill up faster than my twitter feed during a #dsma chat! Most days I truly feel like I’m the exception and the rest of the world is the rule.
But for the last six days I was at Friends for Life, and a huge part of the magic for me is that I’m the rule, not the exception. At FFL when I pop a 250+ blood sugar after breakfast, I can look around the room and know a bunch of others are fighting down a post-breakfast high with me. If I run out of test strips, someone will probably have my back. If I forgot my glucose tabs, just about everybody will have my back! When it’s time to eat, each buffet item is beside an index card displaying the carb count. Everywhere I look there are pumps clipped to clothing, CGM sensors peeking out from sleeves, tubing trailing down from waistbands, and fingertips rife with callouses. If I need to vent and cry during a session it’s okay, because most of the room is venting and crying right along with me. At Friends for Life, I just feel like everybody really understands because they are living it too.
It’s not always so bad being the exception. These days I’m usually confident enough not to care that diabetes makes me different. But sometimes? Well sometimes it is just such a relief to be the rule.