Diabetes Health Type 1: Explaining My Insulin Habit to a New Family Member

I barely blink when I have to inject insulin these days. I take 7 shots a day and after 22 years of that, it has become second nature. I had someone freak out about it recently and it brought me back to the oddness of having to inject our liquid life support in order to stay alive.

We were at a family party. It was a birthday party for my brother’s new step-daughter. She was turning 7 and we were having a blast. We complimented each other’s hairstyles and played silly games. The little girls at the party were happily putting on the donut shop flavored lip balms I gave them and it was just about time to sing Happy Birthday and slice into some gluten free cake.   I grabbed my handbag off the foyer table and started to inject to offset the carbs, just as I always do. Suddenly my adorable new niece was shouting “Auntie Meagan, what are you doing”?! There was a high pitched panic in her voice as she watched me pull my shirt up slightly to bare my hip and slide the needle in.

I stammered out that everything was okay as I quickly finished injecting and put away the syringe. I rushed over and told her that I had diabetes and needed to take insulin to keep me strong and healthy. She still looked a bit uncertain about the whole incident. Another young niece declared that she doesn’t like shots, or going to the doctor. I smiled but explained that my insulin is good for me, it keeps me strong. I told them that it didn’t hurt me, it helped me. I mentioned how brave they were when they got shots at the doctor and said that I learned to be brave too.

I later spoke to my husband about the incident. He was surprised by the whole thing. He said he barely even notices me taking shots anymore. It’s just part of our everyday life.

My niece was freaked out because it isn’t something that seems normal. Shots are a source of stress for kids, sometimes even for adults. We have to train ourselves that taking shots throughout the day is normal when we have diabetes. We know that we take the shots because they save our life. It’s okay to be freaked out in the beginning. I suppose it would be a lot freakier if we weren’t. I know my nieces will see past the shots and continue to have fun with me. I wish I didn’t need the shots but I’m thankful to be healthy because of them.

Meagan Esler


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