I'm pleased to bring you a post today from fellow diabetes blogger and #sweatbetes extraordinaire Maria. (She's also studying to be a biomedical engineer, which means she is WHOA smart and totally a badass, in my eyes.) I think many of us can relate to the philosophy that sometimes humor is just as important a part of our diabetes management as insulin and glucose meters are, and how important it is to have people in our lives that "get it". Thank you for sharing your words here today, Maria!
"I'm ticklish, just not on my feet." -Roommate after I try to tickle her feet
"Diabetics?… But seriously, I just learned how to resist the urge to laugh." -Me
Best comeback ever. At least that's what my friends were giving me props for (because Biomedical Engineers hear about diabetes at least once in almost every class [or so I feel, but maybe a lil exaggeration]). Moments like these make me laugh when I consider that I've been somewhat Missing In Action on the front line of my diabetes care for about 10-12 years.
I'm a lucky person with diabetes, who managed to somehow survive her tumultuous teen and crazy college years with a little luck, little to no D-inspiration/care, and no signs of complications (yet [Thanks Body for functioning sometimes!]). For the longest time, I pushed myself to do a million things (that hasn't really stopped) without really paying attention to my closest companions, my irreverent pancreas and her silly tagalong Diabetes. High school and undergrad was definitely difficult to bring along this extra piece of luggage. I'd check my blood sugar once in a blue moon. I'd try and remember to bolus before I ate (which happened exactly once, I think). Even as a master's student, I tried to shove diabetes into my backpack and never pull it out (along with that fairly old granola bar and less old juice boxes for "emergencies").
What changed? I started reading a blog about living with diabetes one day. And then another. And then another. Until I was fully bitten by the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) lurking bug (and oh my, is it ever infectious). Some light switch went on that said, if they can do it, I can too (before the You Can Do This Project).
After spending nearly 14 years in a PWD free bubble, the light bulb went off. Things started to click. My HbA1c came down. My bringing up of diabetes in normal conversation went from non existent to all over the radar.
My best friend in high school actually sat me down to ask about my health because he finally saw the glucocoaster I ride through my tweets. While he remembers my teachers in high school scolding my eating habits in class, he never thought it was a big deal because I never really flaunted it around. My parents asked more often on the phone about my diabetes after I moved back in with them for a few months this summer. While my mom worries (about everything from my eating habits to my car and to my wardrobe occasionally), she had slowly let diabetes fall off her radar because I never discussed it. I never made a point of saying, "I'm testing" or "I need to wait for this low to come up before I can eat." While she still doesn't quite grasp that there's no such thing as perfect with it, she sees it more now and asks on the phone about my good friend, diabetes. Things are drastically different now.
I've only been living with my roomies for a few weeks now, but they already know that I talk to my diabetes (and my diabetic devices) all day long. They know, almost as well as I do, that my Dexcom lies sometimes. We sat down at dinner and just after my third bite of food, my continuous glucose buzzed about being low. Before I looked at it or opened my mouth, my roommate said, "Shhh! She's eating!"
Sometimes, I'll show them my graphs and they'll tell me what they see. Today's response? "It looks like your diabetes is giving you the finger. You need to get that pancreas of yours a stern talking to."
If laughter is the best medicine (which is definitely what I bet on in real life or online life), my friends give me no shortage of good medicine.
Here's a little bit more about Maria:
Maria Qadri is in her first year of doctoral studies in Biomedical Engineering, after completing a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Engineering as well. As a determined young woman, she has a deep love of adventures (ultimate frisbee, indoor & outdoor rock climbing, delicious flour disasters) as well as jumping up and down for great causes (UNite for a Healthy Future / Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation / Engineers Without Borders). Her diabetes is a high school freshman at 14.5 years old and enacts all the (in)appropriate blood sugar (and subsequent mood) swings. She loves the driving around the northeast and volunteering to help with almost anything (minus laundry)! Check her blog out at Climbing Diabetes or on Twitter!