Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Not So Alone Anymore

When you have an illness like Type 1 Diabetes, as I have been saying (and most people with it should already know) it is hard to feel like you are not alone. Before I was diagnosed, I only knew two people that had it. One was a 2nd cousin, who suffered a few amputations before his eventual death. I did not fully understand why it happened, since I was so young, but it scared me that something like this could happen to someone like that. The other person I knew was this 16 year old guy that I used to know when I went Job Corps. All I remember was he would have to go into the office at night and take a shot of insulin. Once again, I didn't understand it. I asked a lot of questions and he was fine to answer them. He had had it since he was a child so he was used to it. I still felt bad for him. Now-a-days I wonder how he could have done it when the Wellness Center and the RAs had to keep his meds locked up. I would go insane if I didn't have my insulin on me at all times.

After I got diagnosed, though, I ended up getting two new jobs. The first one was at a movie theater. One night I was working and this girl I worked with took a cup and filled it with soda. She started to gulp it and looked at me. She said "It sucks being diabetic". All of the sudden, I heard the angels sing. Haha. I didn't just nod, I practically hugged her. I let her know about my little secret and she was so excited. She told me that there were three other people that worked at the theater that had it. It was such a relief.

While working there, I did get a second job at a waterpark for the summer. I was on the cleaning crew which meant I was out in the sun walking all day long. It wasn't bad but when I got too hot and dehydrated, I would also get very low. I had to take frequent breaks. There were two others that were on my crew. One was a 16 year old girl. I asked her for the time and she looked at this peculiar device that was attached to her side. I didn't know what it was, but the other person on the cleaning crew had the same exact device on his side. I thought, at first, that it was just part of work and that I was to get one. Nope. They were insulin pumps. All three of the people on the cleaning crew had Type 1 Diabetes. It was actually quite humorous since our job was the toughest in the entire park. It was nice to know that I wasn't alone.

Since I left those jobs and went back to school, I haven't found anyone else with it. I was hoping to, but to no avail. Not that I have been asking around. That would be weird. I have finally turned to the internet. Through Twitter, Facebook, and now Google+, I have found a vast network of T1's who refer to themselves as the DOC (Diabetic Online Community). As I am just beginning to branch out, I don't know these people too well yet, but I will. The ones I have been talking to are very nice and welcoming. They are the reason why I wrote this blog in the first place. I wanted to thank them all for being there. For merely existing. Thank you, guys. You know who you are.

Thanks for reading and your comments. Thanks for your support. Thanks for everything.


  1. So glad you found the DOC! :) The "me, too" feeling is one of the most valuable things I've gained from interacting with other PWDs online. It's priceless.

  2. Not being alone is the number one reason this community is so important to me.

    Glad you are here but not glad why if you know what I mean. ;)

  3. Glad to welcome you into our little... okay, BIG, family!!!!
    BTW, the first time I saw an insulin pump, I thought it was a pager. Me, trying to be the "good camper", wanted to tell on the person until I realized LOTS of people had them and they were connected to them with a tube. It was in orientation that it was explained to me.

  4. What a nice entry! It's sad that you have a need for the DOC but it's awesome that you don't feel alone now.

    My mom used to tell my sisters and me, "Y'all hold hands and cross the street together!" when we were outside playing and about to cross the street. To this day, that's something my sisters and I say when one of us is having a rough time. So just know this, Mary: we'll all hold hands and cross this street together. :)

  5. Great post, Mary! What a cool story about seeing those two others with insulin pumps there cleaning! That feeling of not being alone and wanting to find others "just like us" is what drew most of us to the DOC. Same for me. I was trying to find those real stories of people Living With Diabetes, and not the horror stories. And that is when I found the online universe of diabetics, which at the time was so much smaller and just in its infancy. But what an incredible experience to know so many of these awesome people and be able to share so much and call them friends. It's been life-changing, and I'm honored to call each and everyone "friend." So glad you found this community online, and I'm looking forward to keeping in touch!

  6. Hi Mary and welcome to the DOC. This is such an invisible disease that we keep to ourselves. We aren't visibly broken in any way, but we live our lives differently to others. It's really hard to share this with someone who hasn't had diabetes.

    I'll be 'celebrating' my 39-year diagnosis with type 1 in September this year. I believe that anyone who's working at living properly with their diabetes will have a long and mostly healthy life with it. I hope you know that also.

    I've just added your blog to Diaboogle, which is something I created to help people get good information about life with diabetes.

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments. It took me a month to realize I can comment on these. I was frustrated that I couldn't reply to anyone! Lol.