I am proud to be diabetic. I truly believe that diabetes has made me who I am today. But there are sometimes when I just want to be “normal”. I hate to say it but sometimes I hide my diabetes.
I wear a very visible pink insulin pump on my pocket every day. I wear a medical alert bracelet, and drive my car with my “Diabetic Driver” sticker, and JDRF magnet. Yet I manage to let Inner Rachel take over from time to time and talk me into hiding diabetes.
I am working on changing this mindset. I used to have it down to a science. I wouldn’t tell people I had diabetes until they asked. I never wanted someone to learn about my diabetes when they first met me. I don’t know why I did this. (I blame Inner Rachel) I guess I never wanted to be remembered as that “Diabetic Girl”. But why not?
The thought takes me back to when I was eight years old. I was at a restaurant with my parents. It was insulin time and my mom let me know it was time to take my injection in the restroom. I told her that I wanted to take it at the table, and that maybe she could give it to me in my arm. She obliged and drew up my insulin and injected. As I looked around I saw all the eyes affixed on me and my mother. I couldn’t help but wonder what they were thinking. But it really didn’t bother me too much because I had my mom, who had to give herself her own injection just moments after.
It started to bother me for the first time when I was in junior high school. First I should say that at the beginning of junior high I had just started on my insulin pump, and to give me more independence my parents allowed me to give my own insulin without visiting the nurses office unless I needed her help. So I was at the lunch table about to test my blood sugar just before cracking open my lunch box, when a lunch supervisor stood behind me. “What are you doing?” she asked. “I am taking my blood sugar” then a received the same stare as before when I was in the restaurant with my family. “You can’t do that here. It’s not sanitary” I proceeded to tell her that I had special permission to take my blood sugar anywhere in the school, but she was not keen to listening to me.
She told me to go see the principal, so I went to the nurses office. I told the nurse what had happened and I wasn’t in trouble but the lunch, recess and before and after school supervisors were instructed how to handle diabetes.
I just felt humiliated and I began to hide my meter when I was testing or discreetly take a bolus. Which isn’t bad but I feel that people with diabetes shouldn’t have to hide their disease from the public. It’s not like we want to gross people out or be unsanitary. It’s not like we chose to have this disease.
Anyway, I am working to become more outward with my diabetes. I want people to know about this invisible disease! Heck, if someone asks about why I am poking my finger in public then that’s just one more person who will be educated. I personally feel that it is now my duty to educate people about Diabetes as much as possible, and here is one more way I can. All people with diabetes can do it with me, lets work on NOT hiding diabetes anymore. I am proud to be a Diabetic and I am proud to say I work hard everyday to manage this disease!
This really long and poorly written post was written by Rachel Scott.
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© Rachel Scott 2013
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