Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blue for World Diabetes Day . . .

Something kind of odd happened on World Diabetes Day.  I found myself feeling extremely alone, very isolated and quite depressed.

Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled that so many great events were going on around the country.  I was happy for all of my D-OC friends who were able to participate in them.  I think The Big Blue Test was fabulous.

Pete and I had planned to go to NYC for the pizza party Allison organized but our finances conspired against us.  Round-trip train fare just wasn't in the budget this month.  So instead we dressed in blue and we went to the mall to find ideas for our Christmas Wish Lists.

Walking around the mall is usually a fun activity for me, but Saturday that wasn't the case.  I looked at the throngs of people and wondered if anyone knew or cared why I wore blue.  I wondered if they had ever even heard of World Diabetes Day.  Did they notice that I pricked my finger and tested my blood in the Food Court before lunch?  Could they spy my insulin pump clipped to my pocket and did they have a clue what it was?  I don't think they did.

I guess maybe I live in my little bubble, "The D-OC Bubble", a bit too much.  I love being a part of such a supportive community.  I love sharing the struggles and triumphs on our blogs and on Twitter.  I love that we all just get it.  I forget that life isn't always like this until the bubble bursts and I'm out in the "Real World".

I'm not really sure how to wrap up this post.  I guess I don't really have a point.  I wasn't even sure I wanted to blog about this - I thought it might be better to hide behind a fake but cheerful exterior and keep my feelings of isolation to myself.  But a dear friend encouraged me to come clean and share.  I think it was the right call.  Because maybe someone else felt alone on WDD too and will be comforted by the fact that I understand completely.  And we can be alone together.


  1. Karen, I feel *exactly* the same way. When ABC News closed with a shot of the Empire State Building, none of my family (even my husband!) understood why I was so moved to see it lit in blue. Not one person I met Saturday had a clue, or cared. It almost made me feel guilty for even pointing it out (WDD).

    I later watched "Life for a Child" alone, because no one else really wanted to see it.

    I haven't been able to process it either, but increasingly I feel the difference between the DOC 'bubble' and the total lack of support I get 'out there'.

    I'm so glad you wrote about this.

  2. You weren't alone at all!
    Sometimes that feeling of being lost with diabetes hits us when we feel we should be celebrating.
    I went to my gym on Sunday morning and mentioned to my water bootcamp class that Saturday was World Diabetes Day & that November was National Diabetes Month- the class looked at me like I had 3 heads!

    Good thing I know how to swim because at that moment, I had a sinking feeling in my heart.

  3. I too love the DOC bubble so much I wonder if I over do it sometimes.

    This is the only place I feel completely understood. I thank God for it, I just wish the rest of my world was so understanding.

    Love you heaps.

  4. Please know that there are others out there that understand how you are feeling. Just like we get the lows and highs, the frustrations, the shots, etc. I think the isolation is also pretty well-known in the DOC. It is frustrating to see the vast majority of people out there walk around ignoring something so important to us that we deal with every day.

    But that's where the education and awareness part comes in. Think about all those people who live with asthma, Crohn's, Celiac disease or any other chronic illness. We have no idea what it's like for them. It's not a reason to feel less frustrated and of course there are plenty of folks who are perfectly healthy and don't know how lucky they are.

    But maybe if we all are understanding and just commit to teach each other it will make us feel a little less alone. Maybe not. So if you need to vent, vent away!

  5. I participated in the Big Blue Test, I tweeted, posted.
    I felt SO alone. So yeah, I get it. TOtally. That real world bubble bursting can really give you a swift kick. It. Sucks.

    Face-to-face interaction is key and so important but so hard to get around to....we all live in so many different places. We need our own D-OC state or something. ;-)

    wv: hyphick
    I saw hypo, how sad. Then I saw chick, ok that's cool. So I went with hypochick. Not. Cool.

    So how about: We are Hype, Chick. ;-) Or hip. ;-)

  6. I'm sure most people didn't know.

    What would increase awareness?

  7. Diabetes awareness really has come along way in the last few years but as usual its as if people wear blinders when it comes to us. I think it is the pre-perceived notions and stigmas that come with diabetes. when it comes to diabetes it has always been perceived as s its your fault you got it disease compared to for example cancer.
    Can we increase awareness ofcourse but I would prefer to increase the education and wisdom attached to diabetes to eliminate the stigmas and myths.

  8. Karen-

    I wish I had the funds to fly you to KC. I did an event on Friday but Saturday I was mentally alone! Lol I was at chuckie cheese and no one knew why o was wearing blue. Did it bother me? Yes.

    I love the DOC bubble but I wish we can share our community more offline. The whole world needs to know we exsist, not just online but offline too! Big hugs! You weren't alone.

  9. I know I feel alone a lot knowing without the DOC I would be absolutely alone. Even Jason can only understand up to a point. If the people around us who see us everyday can only 'get it' to a certain point, I don't think those people outside the bubble will ever truly understand. Not that we shouldn't continue to educate them, but still...

    I'm *really* glad you posted about this :)


  10. I agree with your post and most of the comments. I think I feel most alone when something really frustrating is going on (like I couldn't find my insulin this morning when I needed to refill my pump and went into freak-out mode for 5 minutes).

    Other times though I find people in my life do want to know but are hesitant to ask. I've posted some things on facebook and gotten a lot of comments back. Saturday morning I had a nice experience. I was hanging out with some newer friends who I normally just see socially. We were waiting for breakfast and I started shaking from a low - once I was in the clear they started asking a lot of questions about my diabetes (type 1), the pump and so forth...and it made me feel cared for and not judged and also positive knowing that I was educating them. It's good for people to know.


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