Karen, we each have our struggles and stories. Thank you for sharing yours so that we can help you carry the burden and for educating those of us unfamiliar with this condition.
You are one of the most delightful, insightful, and warmest members of our community. What would you tell me if I had posted this? You would say something to make me feel supported and you would probably make me laugh. But you would also tell me that this doesn’t matter. That it doesn’t have any effect on who I am. That it is one more way that diabetes tries to take away from what is truly important.
I’m a professional singer with transparently white legs and have a huge dark brown birthmark on one leg (larger than a credit card, raised a few milimeters above my skin (so that dermatologists actually call it a mole and it meets all four indicators of future melanoma risk but the removal process freaks me out, so I just watch it)). ANYWAY, I can remember twice in my career thinking I could perform on stage without all eyes going to the dark-spot-on-Jupiter that is my lower right shin. I couldn’t. They did. They couldn’t resist. I don’t work in shorts, perform in short dresses, or even wear capris - but the pool is me-time. You should find the situations where you can feel free to be YOU with all your imperfections. I’m out there arguably too chunky for the bikini I’m in, with my pale skin, birthmark covered leg, and pump infusion set tubing going every whichaway, but I’m out there that day for me. I don’t swim often, but just like before diving in, you’ve got to take a deep breath and plunge.
And sometimes, you’ve got to have a little fun. Once in the sixth grade, I convinced myself to wear shorts one day. Walking down the hallway, a girl seated on the floor pointed and said I had “something” all over my leg. I gave the friend I was walking with a knowing look and threw myself in the floor yelling “get it off me! get it off me!” Totally freaked her out. Tell people gawking at your splotches “I know, right? Last time I’ll use a spray-on sunscreen!” or how about “Mesh pants were a bad idea!” or maybe “You’d think I’d stop planting poison ivy in my garden!”