It’s that time of year. The weather is beautiful and everyone is in short sleeves. That can only mean one thing. Us diabetics can now recognize each other because of our superhero patches. If you don’t know, those patches are otherwise known as continuous glucose monitors, but let’s just stick with the technical term, superhero patches.
In the past few weeks, I have met several type 1 diabetics thanks to these monitors. I’ve said in previous posts, it’s pretty rare to run into another diabetic in everyday life. The only way to tell is if you can spot an insulin pump or superhero patch. I had the absolute pleasure of meeting two very special superheroes while in Disney World a few weeks ago. On the ferry ride to the Magic Kingdom, a gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I could talk to his son. He said his son was diagnosed a year ago and that he just started wearing his monitor a few weeks ago but just couldn’t get used to it. This little boy was just 5 years old. He was sitting a few rows behind his dad so he couldn’t hear us talking. When I called out to him, I said “Hey, I see you are wearing a glucose monitor like me. Did you know that only superheroes get to wear these?” His smile was something I’ll never forget. It was something so little, but to him, it said, I’m not alone, there are other people like me. His dad and I talked the whole way to the park, and I told him the most important thing he could do for his son is to never make him feel like there are things that he can’t do because of diabetes.
We only had one down day while we were there, so we used it to relax at the pool. While swimming, another gentleman came up to me and said his little girl was just diagnosed and he showed me where she was. She was amazing. She had her little pump and she was wearing her monitor that seemed so big on her tiny arm. We talked for a little while, and I learned that the little girl was an identical twin sister. Unfortunately, that gives her twin a very high chance of developing diabetes, much higher than having non-twin siblings. He was grateful for the chance meeting, and I told him I love meeting diabetics in everyday life if only as a reminder that so many of us deal with the same struggles and we are not alone. I could tell he was a doting and loving father. Floating right next to him was a waterproof case with all her supplies, and he kept an eye on her blood sugar the entire time. It still amazes me how far technology has come since my diagnosis in 1988 and so grateful that these advancements make living life with diabetes much more manageable. As sad as I am to see such little ones dealing with this struggle, I always remind myself that if they were going to get diagnosed, now is the time thanks to the technological advancements available. The question is, will your insurance cover the necessary supplies that make living with diabetes manageable? But, that is for another post.
Another chance meeting I had was when I was at Target eating lunch at the in-store Starbucks with my daughter. There were no customers at the Starbucks, so I asked the girl if she had any suggestions on low-carb drinks that would be ideal for diabetics. Right that very second, she turned to the guy coming right in for his shift and said, “Sam might be able to better answer that.” Two seconds after I asked the question, in walks Sam, another T1D. The chances of that are about as nil as asking a teenager how their day was and getting anything more than an attitudinal “fine” followed by a long sigh and an eye roll. Sam wasn’t wearing a pump or a CGM, so there would have been no way for me to know that he was a T1D, so the fact that we just happened to meet because I asked a simple question was pretty neat. We got to talking and he gave me a ton of great suggestions, one of which is my new favorite, a tall sugar-free cinnamon dolce americano frappachino with almond milk no whip. I actually had to write that down in my phone notes because that’s about nine words too long for a drink. Sam is 22 years old and was a late diagnosis at age 18. I wrote a post titled “What NOT to say to a Type 1 Diabetic” and Sam told me that he constantly has people telling him, “Oh, so you’re a type 2 because you were diagnosed as an adult.” Insert that teenage sigh and eye roll here. I will say again (and again and again), it’s great to ask questions if you are truly curious, but to make statements like that makes you look very silly, extremely ill-informed, and well, very deserving of the sigh and eye roll.
One thing I love about meeting fellow type 1’s is the passion I see for making a difference and fighting for a cure. From the very young, newly diagnosed to those of us who have lived most of our lives with this disease, we have a tight bond that only we can understand. It’s indescribable really. The second we meet each other, there is an instant connection like we’ve always known each other.
To recap, the things we’ve learned today are:
1.) Don’t make dumb statements to a diabetic that will get you a sigh and an eye roll.
2.) Don’t ask your teenager how their day was. It will get you a sigh and an eye roll.
Have a great week everyone, and try to avoid anything that will result in a sigh and an eye roll! I’ll be taking a poll at the end of the week to see how we all did 😉