Before I knew I was diabetic, in 2004, I read a book by a woman with diabetes. The following year, again when I didn’t know I had diabetes (although I was starting to get sick by then), she came and spoke to my class. When I was diagnosed, she was the first person to come to my mind. I sent her an email and asked if we could meet. So we did! Me and her and another diabetic. It was pretty cool. They are both very cool women, who have had T1 for over 40 years. But I was too embarrassed to mention that I’m transsexual and didn’t contact her again
About two weeks after I was diagnosed, I was grumping before class about how much test strips cost. A classmate interjected that they were cheaper on a certain website. I asked her how she knew, and she’s a diabetic too! She doesn’t like to talk about diabetes, at least not like I do, but I like seeing her around campus, feeling less alone. She and I have the same major so I see her more than I do most other students.
About two months after I was diagnosed, I was at a bus stop, checking my blood sugar. A woman came up to me and asked me if I was on shots. I said yes. She said that her doctor says she’ll have to go on shots if her diabetes doesn’t under come under control soon. She asked if the shots hurt. A little bit, I said.
I was on the bus a few months later and I was testing my blood sugar. A woman stared at me, and when I said Hey, she told me that her friend had just been diagnosed with diabetes, and she was learning to check blood sugar. You make it look so easy, she said.
I took a course on brain biology, and when we got to the bit on how your brain needs glucose, there were two of us wanting to know about hypoglycemia, brain damage, stroke. Afterwards I went up to her and asked her what her interest in diabetes was; viola, another diabetic. She dropped the class the following week and I don’t see her anymore.
And of course, there’s all those people in my life whose diabetes I didn’t know about until I was diagnosed. I met them as diabetics only after I introduced myself as one of the tribe. My grandfather checks his blood sugar twice daily, but I’d never have known about that part of him before. My librarian is tired because her blood sugar is high and she drinks diet soda because otherwise her blood sugar gets even higher.
I went to a diabetes meet up group in the spring. The group was assembled by a woman who’d been very recently diagnosed with type 1. The other people there were a guy who had never met another diabetic but who’d been slogging through it since he was a kid, and a “healer” to sell us stuff. It was sort of awkward but also cool, and the group didn’t meet again.
I’m participating in a reseach study on glucometers. I tested in at 39 when I arrived at the meeting, arrousing lots of murmers from the assembled, all type 2 diabetics more than twice my age. None had tested below 60. I ended up chatting afterwards with the second youngest guy there, who was around 40. He’d been on insulin for four years, he told me, and his blood sugar was almost always high. He took the same amount no matter what his blood sugar was, and he didn’t want to take more because he’d heard it damaged your liver. I wanted to refer him to tudiabetes, but he doesn’t even have an email address so I guess probably no internet connection either.
And a week ago, I met up with a fellow d blogger, Bad Decision Maker (Carrie), and we walked and talked for four hours.