The Password Is Diabetes
“My husband was just diagnosed with diabetes”, said a longtime volunteer at the shop I manage. She was stopping by to explain her lengthy absence, and vent about the difficult time her family was going through. She didn’t know about my diabetes. I told her how sorry I was to hear it and sympathized that it was a very hard diagnosis. She went on by saying “You wouldn’t believe it. You have no idea how hard it is”. I nodded my head and said “I understand. I have Type 1 diabetes. I’ve had it for almost 21 years now”.
A surprised look filled her face. She said she didn’t realize I had diabetes. She mentioned her husband had Type 2 diabetes and that they were feeling completely lost in all the new information. She spoke of the stubborn blood sugars they were dealing with. I told her about my daily shots and carbohydrate counting. I also promised her that, as hard as it is, it does get easier. You learn so much as you go.
Before she left, we shared a hug that only people that have dealt with a diabetes diagnosis would understand. It was a long hug, one of those where you hold a little tighter because it feels good to know that you aren’t alone in the sea of confusion.
A few weeks later a customer stopped into the back office at the shop and after telling me how much he loved shopping with us, he asked for a discount on a blender we had. I went to the sales floor with him to decide whether I could give him a discount, and he mentioned how stressful his life had been lately. He rattled off a few difficulties that life had thrown his way and ended with “and I was just diagnosed with diabetes”! I quickly blurted out that I too have diabetes. Immediately I gave him a 20 percent discount and joked that diabetes was like the secret password. Life is hard enough. Diabetes makes everything more complicated, not to mention more expensive. There should be a club where we get special discounts!
In a way, there is a kind of club when it comes to diabetes. It might not be one you want to join, but one we feel a part of nonetheless. It’s a club that provides instant comfort and camaraderie. I think it is great that people are talking about their diabetes, and sharing their diagnosis with others. Those of us that have lived with diabetes for some time can offer a lot of inspiration and hope to people new to diabetes. If we reach out to those that are newly diagnosed whenever we can, it could make life a lot less scary for them. Don’t we all wish someone had done that for us?