Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guest Post: Diabetes Anonymous.

As I mentioned on Monday, I'm heading out this morning to attend the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum for the first time - it's a reaching-out-to-the-DOC event at Medtronic headquarters in the L.A. area. Disclosurey stuff: Medtronic invited me to attend this event and will be covering the costs of my transportation, lodging, and food while I'm there. I am not required or paid to write anything about the event, but c'mon. You know I will anyway. (And I'm sure they know that, too.) And speaking of writing...

Have you ever read something that you wish you had written yourself? It's so clever, so perfectly worded, so "Yes! THAT!" that you want to reach into your computer screen and hug the ever-living glitter out of the person who wrote it?

That's how it feels when I read Martin's blog, Diabetically Speaking.

I hope you'll enjoy reading this post from him as much as I did. Take it away, Martin!

* * * * *

Hi. My name is Martin, and I have diabetes.

“Hi Martin!” the room responded, cheerfully. I could hear the welcome in the chorus of voices, and see the look of acceptance in their eyes, everyone excited that I was there, encouraging me, urging me to “Please, tell us your story!”

Everyone in the room knew what living with diabetes was like. They all either had diabetes or loved someone who did. The only “type” in the room was Type Awesome. The room was filled with children and adults of all shapes, sizes, genders, and colors. There was no room for judgment, or an ignorant “type war.” Diabetes doesn’t discriminate, so neither did anyone in the room. They didn’t care if they were called “diabetic” or “people with diabetes.” Those are just words, and what mattered most was that we, of a similar circumstance, were there together.

I joked to the group that I had “the bad kind” of diabetes. They laughed. We all know that there is no “good” kind of diabetes. At the same time, we also know that diabetes is far from the death sentence that it was 100 years ago.

People live as full and productive lives with diabetes today as people without diabetes. Charlie Kimball races Indy cars for a living. Jay Cutler is a quarterback in the NFL. There is an entire professional cycling team that races with Type 1 diabetes. Living with diabetes requires us to pay attention to our bodies, and it’s arguable that many of us with diabetes are in better health than someone without diabetes who may procrastinate and ignore what their body is trying to tell them.

I told them about how I was diagnosed with “the beetus” when I was two years old, and that a life with diabetes is the only life I’ve ever known. I looked around the room for understanding, and a few people were nodding their heads, understanding what it’s like to not know a life without finger pricks and needle sticks.

I shared how I feel like those of us that have had diabetes all of our lives have it easier than those diagnosed later in life. Those later in life have a lot more to overcome. They have routines to break, habits to change, and a lot more to “get used to.” But for the most part, we do get used to it, because people with diabetes are resilient. Change, for a person with diabetes, is a normal everyday occurrence.

I briefly mentioned about the frightening times I’ve gone low and needed help, and the times that my blood sugar was stubbornly high and it took me a day of dosing a steady stream of insulin and not eating to get it back down to normal. That kind of stuff just happens sometimes, regardless of how good of “control” we may have with our diabetes. And that is okay. Nobody’s perfect, and nobody (doctors, parents, significant others, or even ourselves) should expect perfection. With diabetes, most of the time good enough is good enough.

Finally, I told the crowd how I celebrated 30 years with diabetes by jumping out of an airplane. I told them about the times I pedaled my bicycle 150 miles for fun and to raise money for charity. I told them about the time I rode my bike in the Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City. I told them about the Warrior Dash that I have coming up where I get to traverse a 3-mile obstacle course that includes, fire, mud, and probably a ton of other not-so-insulin-pump-friendly environmental hazards. I also told them how the day after that, I fully intend to be on my couch in front of the TV and do absolutely nothing.

That is life with diabetes. A person with diabetes can do anything that anybody else can do, including nothing at all, and still be awesome.

Then I sat down, checked my blood sugar, and had a complimentary cupcake and a Diet Coke.

* * * * *

And in keeping with my opening statements, I'm not editing the bio he sent me one bit:

Martin Wood is the creator/author of Diabetically Speaking, a Type 1 PWD for more than 30 years, a medical librarian, a cyclist, and a purveyor of all things awesome. He has an affinity for all things plaid, likes long walks on the beach, piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain. If you need a laugh and some encouragement to not take life so seriously, visit his blog at and follow him on Twitter @woodonwheels. And don't eat yellow snow...unless you know how many carbs are in it.


  1. Nicely done, Martin! We can do anything, and you are a great example of that. Thanks for sharing!

    And Kim, I have the same reaction when I read Martin's posts. Pure brilliance! :)

  2. HI MARTIN! *waves* cool pic in front of the rock hall!

    have fun in cali, kim! it was fun to see my twitter feed this morning, with all ya'll heading to the same place. makes me smile. :)

  3. Great reading, best of regards

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