Hey guys, so lately I have been getting really embaressed about my diabetes. I don’t want people to know that I have diabetes so sometimes I don’t wear my pump because I don’t like when people look at my pocket and ask me what is in my pocket and start asking me a lot of quesitons about diabetes and what it’s like and all that stuff. Whenever I am with people who I am not really familiar with I always try to hide my pump from them and I never check my sugar when I am around them. I also do this around some of my friends, but not all of them. I know that I shouldnt be embarrassed of this but I am, and I don’t know why. So, I guess my question is to all of you is: Do you ever feel this way?
I used to go out to eat with friends and not bolus because I didn’t want to get my pump out. It’s pretty well hidden on my waistband, under my T-shirt. Definitely NOT a good idea. I also never checked my BG around them. Well, then I went into a coma in September and almost died, and had to rethink some of my diabetes attitudes. One of which is that ALL of my friends now know I have diabetes, and that it’s not just a minor detail of my life. If I am with strangers, I will warn them that I am going to test, and that it involves blood, and if they are squeamish, they’d better just look away. But I promised myself that I am never going to let anything like that coma ever happen again.
I will admit that it takes courage to do this – and it takes strength, but it is NECESSARY. Your health MATTERS. And you simply can’t be healthy if you are not taking care of yourself. I know how hard it is to “screw up your courage”, but you must do it if you are to live a good life.
As far as talking about diabetes, you need to get used to that too, because most people who ask are simply curious, not hostile. When my friends found out (how could they avoid it when I was in the hospital?) they were ALL solicitous and wanted to know what they could do to help. Young people might not be as caring, so you need to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff – those that care will want to help you, and those that don’t care, and don’t WANT to, don’t need to be your friends.
It’s really hard when you are young, but set yourself some goals, and do your best!
thank you for that. but I have a quesiton, how did you feel before you went into a coma?
It varies for different people. If you don’t take your insulin, and go into DKA, you get woozy and sick to your stomach and it can happen very fast. In my case, it was slower than that – I wasn’t eliminating my insulin entirely, and my BGs just crept up, and I tried to correct them, and took more and more insulin, but it wasn’t working, and I got “stupid” and my vision got blurry, and I had black outs and couldn’t stay awake. I would do things during a black out, and then wonder how things got misplaced.
Mind you, this is NOT the usual progress of DKA – it usually goes a lot faster, and you get really sick. But either way, it’s nothing to mess with!
Rarely do I feel that way anymore.
But I used to. However it impeded me from taking care of myself the way I needed to, and I paid for it big time with a complication (retinopathy) and several bouts of DKA.
Now, I view it as ‘I NEED to do this to keep myself alive and healthy. So…who cares who sees it? My life is more important’.
Diabetes is hard. In some ways, this is your own private medical issue, it is nobody elses business. There are “laws” to protect your privacy. And I think it is easy to feel that because you have diabetes that you are “damaged” or “less healthy” than someone else. And we always want to fit in and be just like all our friends around us. But over time, I think many of us have decided these comparisons and differences don’t really matter. Jeez, look at my face, I will never be Ryan Reynolds. But I am a stronger person because of my diabetes. And those around us will adapt. Right now, I’ll test wherever I need to, but I still have not taken to injecting everywhere, mostly because I’m not clear that the rest of the world is ready.
Yes, growing up with diabetes I used to feel somewhat embarrassed about being different. When I used to check bg far too seldom (never did NOT take insulin–felt too yucky when it happened by accident) it was less about what others would think and more about me being tired of diabetes care or being unwilling to do the short-term stuff that will help me in the long-term. Through the years I have learned to take care of myself and balance the rest of my life. And, I’ve found that raising diabetes awareness by living it in public is meaningful. Of course I still get tired of diabetes. But now I know to put that feeling into coming up with a snarky diabetes awareness T-shirt slogan or chatting with DOC friends instead of inadvertently taking it out on myself by not giving myself care. Best wishes and sending you supportive vibes for the daily hard slog of taking care of your health. You are worth it!
I used to feel that way but like Natelie said (she went into a coma) I just had that HI bs and almost went into a coma. I know how hard it is being “different” from your friends but when something happens that sends you into the hospital for weeks on end and you miss out n life you WILL do better and rethink it. Didn’t want other’s to know? Yes back when I took diabetes I was in a small school (350 k-12) and the only diabetic there. It took loads of explaining ppl couldn’t catch it by breathing the same air as me (this was back in the 70’s ideas were waaaaay away from where they are now). HOLD STRONG YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
There’s no “shouldn’t” or “should” about your feelings — you feel how you feel. The question is, do you want to feel differently? (Sounds to me like you do…) So maybe it’s time to do some introspection on why you feel embarrassed. Is it because diabetes makes you “different”? That’s what my big concern was with my son until I found that if I was up front and open about his condition, suddenly there were people with insulin pumps everywhere I looked. I took him to his big brother’s martial arts class one day and lo and behold, no sooner had I started taking his blood sugar than one of the instructors popped out of the office and said, “Hey, does your son have diabetes, too?” and showed me his insulin pump. Not long after, I heard another parent saying to his son, “Wait a sec, we have to check your blood sugar before class…” and sure enough, that kid also had a pump on him. During my older son’s parent-teacher conference, I commented that he had a little brother with diabetes and was told that one of my son’s classmates was on an insulin pump. So maybe just take a look around — you’re not as different as you think.
I had a very good friend who died a couple of years ago from AIDS. He was a hemophiliac who contracted it through tainted blood when he was a child, but naturally, through most of his life he dealt with tremendous prejudice, stigma, and false assumptions from people who didn’t know squat about AIDS, hemophilia, or the fact that blood products weren’t tested and treated the way they now are back in the 1980s. He was always very up front about both his conditions: he didn’t hide the fact that he had AIDS, but he also didn’t go out of his way to explain that he didn’t get AIDS from drug use or homosexual sex, which in the 1980s was the automatic presumption for how people got the disease (and to a certain extent still is). I admired him greatly for that kind of courage. Talk about tough — having hemophilia is a thousand times harder than having T1D, and w
Ack. I don’t know why my comment is getting cut off mid stream. But what I was intending to say was, I try to follow my friend Brian’s approach of being up front and let the ignorance & embarrassment that comes with a disease-oriented stigma be someone ELSE’s problem, not mine or my son’s. My son’s pancreas doesn’t work. He has to live with that, and as his mother so do I. If other people have a problem with it, it’s THEIR problem, not mine!
Sometimes, but I will not let diabetes defeat me in a way that it makes me less healthy!
The only advice I can give you is to be yourself, stay yourself and take charge of your own life in a way you don’t care about what other people think of you!
When I’m around people who make me feel embarrassed about my diabetes, they’re usually not very nice people. That’s been my experience. People who are tough – cynical, smart-mouthed, judgemental, too cool for their own good – then I’m not comfortable being real, being ME. People who are kind and compassionate – friendly, warm, gentle, open – help me feel comfortable with being ME.
I suggest looking at the company you’re keeping. How do you feel when you’re around them in general? Embarrased to be YOU? Judged? On edge? Pressured to be someone you’re not? Like they’re checking out every detail and are ready to pounce and criticize? Not good.
Diabetes has taught me to accept the fact that I’m a fragile human being who needs support and compassion to thrive – I won’t spend time with people who can’t accept that about me and behave with respect for my needs.
You NEED your pump. It’s not optional. It’s not an accessory that you can ditch when someone makes a smart-mouthed crack about it. Keep the pump, lose the bratty commenters and find friends who will support you to take excellent care of yourself.
Agree with JeanV: You have the best looking pancreas, and it’s not bloody and sticky and…
Your pancreas even has buttons, a screen and beeps if it needs a refill… :o)
Your friends are in fact jealous of such a gadget pancreas :o)
I’m lucky because I didn’t get diabetes until I was much older, I got to go through high school, college, and even grad school without diabetes being there, I have to imagine that it would have been a lot tougher for me to deal with then. In fact, one of my college roommates had T1 and she really tried to hide it (that was before pumps). But I have to say as he friend, in really could have cared less whether she was diabetic, It didn’t change her in my eyes in the least. I really didn’t think it made her different in anyway, To me, it was just something she had. Not much different than her having curly hair. I think your diabetes and pump distinguish you from others a lot less than you realize, the questions are likely truly trying to understand that part of you because they care or are interested. In fact, now I wish my roommate would have shared more about it. That understanding would have helped me when I was diagnosed years later. But I do understand that you don’t want to be defined by your disease. Hiding it though seems to be in some ways making it an even bigger deal than just letting it be what it is and moving onto the next subject.
I guess I am lucky my mother is T-1, I have 2 other relatives who are T-1 and have since I was at least in my teens been friends with people who are T-1. So life with T-1 well being an adjustment for me it is not something I see as abnormal. When I was first DXed I embraced it and refused to run off to test or to shoot up. My friends who tend to be cynical, tough and smart mouthed do it in a compassionate and open way non judgement way, usually jumping down someones throat before I can be offended by someones look or comment. I am also lucky to have come down with diabetes later in life. As for your feelings there is nothing wrong with them, but if someone is going to judge you because of being T-1 they may not be worth knowing. If you had asthma would you be embarrassed of your inhaler or if you needed a cane or crutches would you feel ashamed. You did nothing wrong so you have nothing to be embarrassed of. People ask why I have a man purse If i feel like talking about it, I tell them medical supplies, if not I like to keep a book with me. How you handle and treat your diabetes is your business and if you don’t feel like explaining it to people just ignore the question or change the subject. True friends will ot judge you for being diabetic, they might go Dpolice on you which can be just as badbut at least the Dpolice hearts can be in the right place.
ik wat ur going through. when im high at school and go to the nurse she gives me water and when i go back to class ppl stare at me, Plus people have been saying im gross cuz i check my self. what kid even called me emo
Tell the haters to hate on, Anna. The big D is not emo.
It just is what it is – something we all have to deal with. Anyone who wants to put down someone for having a medical condition is very immature.
My best friend when I was 18-19 was a T1 and she was smart, sassy, fun and very cool. The only reason we’re not still best friends is that she moved to a different state and back then long-distance calling was really expensive and travel was too (we were starving college students) so we kinda lost touch with each other over the years. But I still think of Tony with a warm and caring heart. She was so much fun – so funny and creative and brave.
Thank’s guys! You all are so supportative
Anna, I completely understand what you’re saying I go to the nurse alot at school and when I come back people are like “omg are you okay and why were you gone so long” and they give me weird looks.
When I taught high school, and kids were cruel to each other, I always told them it’s because of their stupidity and immaturity, and if you can just breathe deeply, put one foot in front of the other, and endure, it will come to an end, and you will be let out of prison into the fresh air of adult society. School IS an institution, and kids are treated in institutional ways, and enough of them show really rotten behavior that can’t be controlled by teachers, because they hide it – but it WON’T last forever. I have so many former students that contact me, and who are so much happier as adults than they were as high-school students. It gives me hope. And joy that I was able to be a positive influence in their lives.
So right now the goal is just to survive and remember it WILL get better!
My neice is not embarassed but wants to be exactly like everyone else and does not like anyone outside of her friends to know; wants to carry on with her life as if she does not have it. She does not want to explain about D constantly. She wears skinny jeans and tucks the pump to the waistband of her underpants (MM Revel has a clip attached to pump and Animas has an even thinner clip). Tubing is stuffed into the front of her jeans. She is super thin, her jeans are super tight and you cannot tell she is wearing a pump. Carries individually wrapped Lifesavers in he pockets for lows. Plenty of places she can test and bolus in private, but she is not at all shy about testing BG in public anywhere. She can go to the restroom to check and bolus or another private place if need be if she is with a crowd and does not want to do this in public. It’s up to her. It’s not embarrassment; it’s more annoyance about having to explain when she does not want to bother to do so. It’s up to you. How you feel at the moment. I think what you are feeling is normal.