Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kindred Spirits

Last week, I was waiting patiently for my sandwich at the local Wawa deli counter.  (Wawa is THE convenience store in the greater Philadelphia area.  People are passionate about this, maybe even to a fault.  I was raised a little bit more west, so I have a preference for Sheetz.)  I was the only one waiting on my food for a couple of minutes, and then for some reason some motion next to me caught my eye.

There was a guy standing next to me, about my own age with black-rimmed glasses, long hair, and some sort of screenprinted t-shirt.  Maybe for a band.  He looked like the type of person I would see at a concert.  He was dressed a little like Matt.  I see people like this and assume they're nice. 

I don't know what possessed me to look downward slightly, but that's where I noticed it--pump tubing reaching out of his pocket and up under his clothes somewhere.  His pocket hung open just enough that I could see the top of a Minimed insulin pump.  I smiled, then started thinking, "Should I say something?  Should I ask him about it?  I really want to say hello!"  Yet I know not everyone geeks out over their insulin pumps.  Some people don't even want other people to know they have diabetes.  Not everyone is comfortable when an enthusiastically talkative stranger whips out her own insulin pump and wants to chat about it.  This dude probably just wants to get his sub and go home.

I did try to catch his eye, but he wandered off to get a cup of coffee. 

I've read a few accounts on the DOC of similar run-ins.  How do you guys handle it when you see someone else who obviously is doing something related to diabetes (i.e. wearing a pump, testing their blood, etc.)?  Do you casually say hello?  Do you just offer a kind, understanding smile?  Do you pretend they don't exist?  I get really excited when I see someone who is like me--if a bubbly blonde approaches you in the grocery store and mentions something about your insulin pump, just be patient.  That person is probably me, and I mean you no harm.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

If I Can Do This, You Can Do This!

Today is the first official day of the You Can Do This Project.  I am so excited and grateful that Kim decided to launch this effort for the Diabetes Online Community.  We all get burned out at some point, or beat ourselves up, or make ourselves feel guilty about some factor of diabetes that we ultimately can’t control.  When I joined the DOC in 2006 by starting this blog, I felt so blessed to find like-minded people who didn’t have perfect HbA1Cs, perfect bodies, or storybook lives.  We’re often riding the glu-coaster together, day by day. 

The idea of You Can Do This is to share your story, your (no pun intended) highs and lows, to support each other, to show the people who are struggling that they can make it. 

And I am here to say…I’m a struggler.  Just because I blog about diabetes does not make me a model patient.  I cannot tell you the last time I had an A1C under 7.5, and my current A1C is over 9.  If you’re looking for perfection, you had best look someplace else.  Actually, if you’re looking for perfection in diabetes, I suggest you open a Word doc on your laptop and start writing a really tidy piece of fiction.  If you’d plug my meter into your computer, you’d see a few days of below-average testing (3x a day) flanked by a day or two of no testing whatsoever.  I have not been to an eye doctor in four years.  I should probably see a dermatologist, and I haven’t done that in a couple of years.  Heck, I’m lucky if I can remember to get to the dentist on time.

Every day, in some small way, I struggle with diabetes.  I can always see a brighter side, but this doesn’t mean I don’t stop at least once a month to curl up in a ball and cry. 

You’re not alone, my friends.  Not in the least.  That’s right, this sunny, sweet blogger lives with depression.  Just today I went to my psychiatrist’s office for a quick visit to assess how well my Wellbutrin is working.  I went back on it several months ago, and I feel more even-keeled.  I have fewer mood swings.  I definitely spend less time weeping and feeling helpless.    

You can do this.  I repeat the mantra because I’m really thinking, “I can do this.”  I’m so much better off now that I’ve been on medication.  Brain chemicals are coming back into balance.  Habits…well…they say habits take time to make and even more time to break.  I hope the rest of your awesome videos will push me in the right direction.  I plan on making one myself if I can just find a camera, but in the meantime, I couldn’t sit here silently while this effort gets off to a rolling start. 

Hi, my name is Hannah McD. I have type 1 diabetes and depression.  I am not perfect, but I smile every single day.  I hope that I can do this.  I know that something better is coming my way.