10 reasons why it is good to have type 1 diabetes
1. I can get seated at restaurants faster. My husband has learned to tell the hostess “my wife has diabetes and has to eat”. It works best if the hostess has a relative with diabetes. I’m not sure what the percentage would be on that but it must be better than 50/50.
2. I have some wonderful friends whom I would have never met without having diabetes. 93% of the world’s population does not have type 1 diabetes so when you find another one who has it, you know you have found a life long friend.
3. I went to Washington D.C. and learned how to lobby for diabetes. The American Diabetes Association has a bi-yearly program which you can apply for called Call to Congress. They pay part of your way and teach you a lot when you get there.
4. I don’t have to eat everything at a potluck dinner. You know how you are suppose to try a little of everything and even the things that don’t look good to you. I have a built in excuse….”.I have met my carb limit. That’s it for me. Whew! Gotta take insulin now to cover ALL those carbs.”
5. I have M&Ms in my purse. I treat myself with a package of M&Ms if my blood sugar goes low. I feel I deserve a treat since I am experiencing the shakes and sick feeling of blood sugar lows. I’ve been told it is not the best treatment for lows but it is my “thing”. If my hubby wants to eat them I yell, “Hey, don’t touch my medicine.
6. It is a miracle I am still alive. After 35 years of medical people telling me all that could go wrong because I have diabetes, I think it’s a miracle I am still alive. I think I keep living just to show all of them it can be done.
7. People listen when I talk. Having diabetes for 35 years makes you something of an expert I guess. Even though I am an accomplished pianist, my children would never listen to me about how to improve their piano lessons. I would get the “That’s not what my teacher said!” Now, strangers even listen to me about diabetes.
8. I get to carry around a computer the size of a cell phone that delivers insulin to me in a predetermined pattern during the day and night. People are fascinated with it. It makes me feel smart. That’s important for someone my age.
9. I have become accustomed to the pains (pricking fingers and injecting) that go along with the disease. It is my “normal” and I am okay with that. The old saying, no pain no gain, has a real meaning.
10. I get to write down a list of silly things about a disease that is sometimes looked upon as terrible. I grew up with a father who had type 1 diabetes and who went blind and died at an early age. We had a saying in our family that we would either laugh about things or we would cry. So, here is to lots of laughter and good times ahead.
Cathy Van Hove is a retired Early Childhood Special Education teacher who has been advocating for people with diabetes for many years.