It's been a strange summer. I've gone 20 years without knowing anyone close to me who has diabetes. Yes, I've met people who have it but we've never become close friends. It just hasn't worked out that way. Before blogging I felt very lonely with this disease, a lot of the time. In my world, I was the only one who had it and so I was the only one going through what I had to go through as a diabetic. I often felt like I had my nose pressed to a window, me on the outside, watching a very fun party going on inside. I was just different from everyone else, because I had diabetes.
And then I started to blog and my world literally opened up. I found that there were others that dealt with the strangeness of life with this disease. They knew about the rituals, the rules, the disappointments, the struggles. And they had humor and courage and empathy and insight about diabetes. I felt understood and seen. I felt normal amongst these amazing people. I felt less lonely.
Which brings me to this summer. I've had two very close friends diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the last 2 months. Both are intelligent, bright and positive. Both will do fine. I've tried to be there to support them, to get them connected with the right medical team, to help them navigate the first days and weeks and months after the inevitable avalanche of information that comes with diagnosis. It's been wonderful to help and I feel honored that they have let me. It's also been strange to see how much I know about living with diabetes, from the vantage point of someone who doesn't know a lot yet. And I have to admit, it's been sad for me too. Sad to see them from where I sit and know what lies ahead for these people I care so much about. They are still in the beginning stages of mastering all the mechanics and at this point, are feeling better because they have insulin on board for the first time in ages. They just feel better. And I know that bodes well for them in the coming months and years.
But that's just it. The fact that there are coming months and years of unrelenting diabetes management noise (as Kerri so eloquently framed up recently) ahead of them, just breaks my heart. Hopefully there will be a cure in the near future. Certainly the management technology will get better. But I'm so used to having diabetes that I just assume it's not going away tomorrow. When I was diagnosed I was told that it was a good time to get diabetes and in the next 5 years there would be amazing breakthroughs. And I heard the very same thing said to my 2 friends in the last couple of months. Well it's 20 years later and though the technology is better, in the end, I still have diabetes. My god, I hope that what they were told recently, will turn out to be more true for them than it was for me.
So after this summer, I do feel less lonely, thanks to the OC and now my two friends having diabetes. Less lonely, but not necessarily happy about it. The diabetes party is one I wish nobody had to attend. Though the people are amazing here, the cost of entry is pretty damn high!