February 7, 2011

Guest Blogger: "Diabetes Doesn't Define Who You Are"

As I promised yesterday, I am changing my tune this week.  With Ally's D-Day (that's what we call her diagnosis day) approaching, I want to really take the time to understand her perspective.  I am going to do a short series of guest posts from some very special PWD (People With Diabetes). 

(For my friends who follow my blog, that means that we are going to hear from some bloggers who have first hand experience with this disease.)

My first Type 1 guest blogger is Sarah from I Don't Have Diabetes I've Got "Tha Suga"!  Sarah is an adult with type 1 diabetes.  She has been living with this disease since she was four years old.

The first post that I read on Sarah's blog was He Held Me, where she described what she recalls from a recent bad low.  It touched me so deeply.  I cried because I wondered if that is how my daughter feels when she is low.  I cried because I JUST DON'T KNOW how she feels.

The really cool and interesting thing is that I apparently had the same tear inducing effect on her...read about it in her post Connection.  I know, I know, I asked her to blog today.  I'll move on to that now....because it is wonderful!  But I will have to revisit and respond to her awesome post again because it is so worthy.

Thank you so much, Misty, for letting me blog for you today.  It is a joy and honor to do this for you.

Today, I want to speak to not just Ally, but all the children and teens who have diabetes.  There are things I want you to know and to remember as you grow up with diabetes.

As a good friend once told me, don’t ever let diabetes stop you from doing what you want to do and being who you want to be.  Sure, as you grow older and diabetes becomes more and more of your life than you want it to be, at times will seem to be that some things will be impossible to do, but remember that nothing is impossible.  Yes, they may be a little harder and some goals may need more work to achieve, but never ever let that stop you from being the person you were meant to be.  Whether that means growing up to be a painter, police officer, doctor, nurse, or anything else you may dream of being.  Be who you want to be.

If things get hard at school and you’re being bullied or picked on and you’ve done your best to explain diabetes to the bully/picker, don’t be scared to tell someone.  It’s never right to sit back and let someone pick on you and make you feel bad for something you could not help.  The kids that are picking on you may not know any better nor may they realize what you go through every day to live, and they need to have someone explain to them that what you have is no picking matter.  I’ve been there and have been hurt by many classmates who didn’t understand and instead of telling, I took the blame and felt ashamed.  You should never feel ashamed of your diabetes.  If you need help, always ask your teacher or your parents to help you tell your classmates so they understand.

I know it’s hard feeling different sometimes.  You have to take shots or wear a pump.  You have to prick your fingers a lot to make sure you’re sugar is okay.  You feel dizzy and tired and scared and panicked and frustrated when your sugar is low.  You feel thirsty and sluggish and grumpy when you’re high. But one thing you have to always remember is that other people have never felt what you have felt when you’re high or low.  They may know that your sugar is not at a good number right now, but they can’t feel what you are feeling inside.  It took me a long time to realize this, and one of the best things you can do is try to explain what it feels like.  Even if you have to say things like “I feel like I have a cottonball in my mouth! (when you’re high)” or “Mom, this low is making my skin feel funny (when things happen like your lips go numb or something like that)”.  Help them try to understand as much as they can about how you feel however you can describe it.

And when you get older and become a teenager and it seems like everyone is just “getting up in your business” and it seems like they just won’t leave you alone about your diabetes, remember what I said before.  They can’t feel what you do.  They can’t fully see how you feel.  They’re just concerned for you.  Moms, dads, and caregivers can only do what they know and what they’ve learned about how to take care of you.  It’s up to you to help them by being understanding that they love you with all their hearts and they are not trying to impose on your growing freedom, but they are just trying to be there for the person they love most – their child.  They love you with all their being, and they just want you to be as healthy as you can be.

Also, always remember, no matter how young or old you are or how long you’ve been diabetic, it’s ok to get mad/frustrated with it.  It’s okay every now and then to have a fit, cry, even yell and scream at diabetes.  If you have to, get a pillow and write “Diabetes” on it and use it as a punching bag.  Just let it all out, but then turn that anger into an attitude of “I can do this.  I will not let diabetes get the best of me” and move on with the rest of your day.

I know it can be hard to live with diabetes, but just know from me and all the other diabetics that have grown up, it doesn’t define who you are.  You are a wonderful person and you are loved by so many people – diabetes and all.

Thank you so much Sarah!



  1. Thank you so much Sarah! Your wise words are so incredibly valuable to both us D Mama's and of course to our D Kiddos.

  2. What a beautiful post by Sarah AND the message I want all of our children to get through all of this. You can do ANYTHING you want.

    Between this post and a couple of your other posts, Misty...we as readers are constantly reminded of the psychosocial impact that "d" has...it is unrelenting.

    Thank you for letting people know that what our children endure is deeper than just several needle pricks and constant measuring of carbs. The more we are all aware of it, the more empathetic we can be.

  3. I adore Sarah and as usual she nailed it! Great post!

  4. Great post... something our kiddos need to hear over and over again.

  5. what a wonderful idea, I love the tune that you are playing :)

    and Sarah what a wonderful post, thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Thank you for the unique perspective, Sarah!

    And you rock, Misty, for dedicating a month of changes to highlight the endurance of a race Ally runs everyday.

  7. This was a wonderful post, thank you for sharing this with us and thank you for introducing us to Sarah!

  8. Such an awesome idea, Misty. Thank you for helping us bridge the gap of understanding.

    Sarah, this was beautifully written. As I've read through the DOC, I've decided to print out posts that I want to share with my daughter when she's older. This will definitely be one of them!!!


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