Changing the T1D Conversation


Question: What is your greatest frustration with your type-1 diabetes?

Answer: This question is my greatest frustration.

Why is this question always the first question asked at support groups for people with type-1 diabetes?

I remember at camp, I was about 12 or 13, asked this very question.

I remember transitioning into adulthood with this disease, again being asked this question.

Now, fast forward 32 years with type-1, and I was again asked this question, as were 12 others with type-1, at a recent support group for adults with T1D.

I rolled my eyes.

I always roll my eyes.

I cannot stand this question.

Nearly every time I tell someone I have this disease I get the pity eyes, I get the oh that must really suck, or how awful, how frustrating, how do you possibly manage.

And yeah, sure, it does suck at times, there are so many challenges and obstacles that we face every single day – but this question and those reactions aren’t helping.

Dwelling on the suckage isn’t going to make it better; it’s just going to keep us on this constant hamster wheel of feeling cruddy. If we’re perpetually pissed off at having this disease, or lamenting the state of our blood sugars, or upset that we have to make endless adjustments to our insulin and eating, that has the potential to activate our stress hormones, which has the power to wreak havoc on our blood sugars – again spinning the hamster wheel of negativity!

What is the coolest thing about T1D_ (5)

I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever get angry or complain of the injustices, but what I am saying is that we shouldn’t just focus on the negatives.

Let’s change the conversation.

Ask that question, but also ask what’s the coolest thing about having this disease?

These are a few from my cool T1D list:

  1. The T1D sport community: I have learned so much from this community over the years, and I’ve developed amazing friendships from it as well.
  2. Being able to go into stadiums with a purse full of food – because it’s considered medicine – and not having to pay jacked up prices for stadium eats.
  3. Passing as bionic – because that’s totally cool – with all my T1D technology
  4. Receiving thousands of dollars in student loan grants because diabetes is a disability. Yes, having a disability is not optimal, and kind of sucks at times, but free money because of said disability makes it a little easier in some respects.
  5. Organizations like Type One Run, Connected in Motion, Beyond Type 1, World Diabetes Tour, Diabetes Training Camp again bringing like-minded type-1s together showing the world that this disease won’t stop us.
    (I haven’t tried all these, but one day I hope to 😀 )

What are some cool things you’ve had because of this disease?

1 thought on “Changing the T1D Conversation”

  1. The best would without a doubt be my black belts. I got into the martial arts when I was a child as my Diabetes had gone off the rails and my doctors didn’t seem o be able to do a damn thing to fix it. I started training myself, studying the philosophies and building myself until I staved off insulin resistance, build up my constitution and improved my health exponentially.

    Now, I train five days a week, I have an incredibly physical job and I teach karate. I have a family with two children (boys) and the accomplishments don’t stop coming. Martial arts has been a blessing, but the joke is I likely wouldn’t have started in it if I hadn’t been diagnosed as Type 1.

    “We most often find our destiny on the road we least thought to travel.”

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