Sharing Diabetes


(Anonymous) #1

For me, when someone mentions 'friends/family' in the same sentence as 'diabetes' I automatically roll my eyes. Excluding my parents, there is hardly a single person in my life that knows anything about me and my disease. Based off what I've heard from a fair amount of Juvenators, our situations in this department are pretty similar.

But lately, I've been thinking more and more about the possibility of letting more people into the diabetic part of my life. Something about having a friend who knows basically what to do seems comforting, and appeals to me for whatever reason.

Like in gym class last week - during the mile run my blood sugar was 114, so I was packing around some Skittles in case of emergency. One of my running friends asked why I was taking it with me - I brushed it off as the usual 'Oh, just my blood sugar - in case it crashes while I'm running.' But there was something nice about having someone to ask, someone to care, and someone to look out for me while we ran.

I've considered teaching a close friend a little more about diabetes - a little more of what it is, or what it means. And let them know I'm comfortable with them asking questions and knowing as well. To be honest I doubt I'll act upon this - right now. But this leads me to a question I was interested in bringing up on Juvenation, to hear others' experiences with this.

Anyone have a close friend that just knows diabetes as if they had it themselves? If not, who do you think you'll end up or would like to ever share the disease with?

Personally, I imagine should I ever get married that's who I'll share it with. Or if I ever have a particularily close friend. But for now, I'm content winging it on my own :)


(Vered) #2

I have no problem sharing with my close friends the details of my diabetes, but I guess I am more open about it because I am living on my own at college so I kind of have to tell someone in case anything were to ever happen. My roommate/best friend pretty much knows everything. We do almost everything together and have shared a room sine freshman year, although I only got diabetes midway thru sophomore year. So she sees me check my blood sugar constantly, she saw me do shots all the time, and now she sees me using my pump. She knows how to use the glucogon in case I don't wake up or pass out, she has given me a shot before, and she knows how to check my blood sugar and every once in a while we check hers haha. My other roommate/best friend, who I have never shared a room with, only kind of know about diabetes. For some reason I don't really share everything with her, I'm not sure why..I just find it much easier to share with my other roomie. but she knows if I'm low I need sugar and stuff like that. I also have my boyfriend (its weird calling him that cause we are on a break right now but idk what else to call him haha) who knows pretty much everything and has seen me go through it all. it is definately a rewarding thing to have a best friend or even a family member that you are close to (cousins or such) that you can talk to about it. I really recommend telling your friends, I'm sure they would love for you to let them in on a big part of your life!


(diabetes1998) #3

Vered,That is what I do,I have a BFF since 4th and she Kowns everything (i think) there is to kown about diabetes


(system) #4

I have a few friends who are pretty comfortable with diabetes. Being in a healthcare field for a job, we all know the basics. Because they are my friends, they have taken the time to get to know diabetes as it affects me. They all have my parents' phone numbers and know about giving glucagon. I trust them with my care, if it ever came down to needing it. I have "sets" of friends from different areas of my life. There are my high school friends, my Grand View College friends, and my Iowa State University friends. If you feel comfortable enough, Alyssa, I encourage you to open up to someone about diabetes and your care. Like you said, just having someone ask questions feels good. Knowing they care about you and your health, is even more amazing :o) Good luck!


(sarahslp) #5

Sometimes I find the details of T1 so complicated ( (# carbs per serving x # servings / ratio) + (BS - target BS / correction) ) -- if I even did that formula correctly, someone who's in high school will correct me! lol. So, I find that's it's tough to share everything with someone. I had a co-worker / friend whose Dad is T1, so she was very knowledgeable. But, I totally agree that it's good to share w/ people in your life!


(Lavonda) #6

I have a good friend I share this with and my boyfriend knows and we discuss it, but I honestly think sometimes that they get tired of hearing about it, It really does consume my lifestyle, I try not to let it but it does, I have to always think about it, That is why I like this site so I can talk to ya about this and I know ya all understand. Thanks


(Kimbert) #7

I have several friends who are diabetic themselves, including one of my best friends.  My other best friend has been with me since before my diagnosis, and she pretty much knows everything there is to know about diabetes.  It's great, having friends who can understand, who will check up on you.  My other friends all know I'm diabetic, but they only know as much about diabetes as they want to know/I tell them; I find that most of them are curious, always want to know more about being diabetic.  Most people want to know what they can.  Also, I find the more people know about diabetes the more comfortable they are about me having it/less needlessly worried about me. 


(emily.wall) #8

I find it easier to let anyone who asks know, because eventually, everyone knows and they dont ask.  With that, everyone usually watches out for you too.


(Sarah_0776) #9

I guess, I'm kind of like you, Alyssa. I have a few really close friends, and quite a few people who are more of aquaintances. A few of my close friends (the ones I eat lunch with, hang out with outside of school, etc.) know enough about my diabetes that they would probably know what was going on and what to do in an emergency. I test my blood sugar right in the hallway when we're all sitting down for lunch, and they see me do stuff on my pump. Some of my other friends are at the point where they know I have diabetes, and know that it's different than Type 2, and see me test my blood sugar and stuff, but probably wouldn't know what to do in an emergency.

I consider myself to be pretty open about my diabetes, though, and I don't keep it from anyone. I know one person who I was best friends with when I was diagnosed in 3rd grade, and I'm sure that at least one of them knows basically everything about my diabetes, but, unfortunately, we don't really talk much anymore. We hang out in different groups at school, and will say 'hi' when we pass each other, and can still start right where we left off whenever we have a class together or occasionally hang out. But we don't really talk to each other anymore, which is kind of sad. )=

I did just friend a girl at the beginning of this year who also has diabetes (she's one year younger than me) and is now in my newspaper class. We both knew that the other had diabetes before being in this class together, but had never actually talked. I've found out that she's actually kind of like me, though, and we've started talking a lot in newspaper class. Ironically, though, we have only mentioned diabetes once since school started. It was on Friday, when our teacher had brought in muffins to class. She's still on shots, so she couldn't have one at the time, but since I'm on a pump, I took one and took a bite while pulling my pump out to bolus. As I was getting ready to bolus, I realized that I was almost out of insulin, so I put the muffin down and didn't eat it. Later on during the class, she looked over at the other muffins and was like, "Those look really good..." and then I told her that I was almost out of insulin, so I couldn't eat mine. She then started asking me about the pump and stuff, and the conversation was over in a couple of minutes. That's the only time we've talked about our diabetes.

I just realized how long this is becoming, so I'm going to shut up now. (=

 


(Anonymous) #10

[quote user="Alyssa"]

Anyone have a close friend that just knows diabetes as if they had it themselves?

[/quote]

My husband(who started off as my friend) is the only person who has taken the time, or was interested enough to learn this much about diabetes. I always say that he knows what I know. The only thing he doesn't actually know is what it feels like to have T1 diabetes.

All of my friends know  that I am diabetic but none of the would ever know what to do in an emergency.

 


(BrianPQuinn) #11

I have a very good diabetic friend who I met through some of my other friends a few years ago. She was probably the first person who I was really comfortable talking to. In fact it was ebcause of her that things really turned around for myself in the care of my diabetes and better over all care for myself. Oddly enough as I integrated myself more into the group with my friend Bob who introduced me to Jeanette I found she had already laid the groundwork for being a type 1 in the group. So I was much more open with this group of people than others.

It is good to have people to look out for you though. I have had some friends that really bailed me out of lows throughout the years. So if nothing else it is better to at least people with some knowledge and understanding of what needs to be looked for if a problem may arise. It is hard to do at first but we do have people who want to get involved, but again we need to give them the opening to do it, or be willing to talk about it.


(ivan) #12

Yeah, sharing diabetes is tricky. Right after Diagnosis I was sooo open about it (in a positive way).

Then I understood how uncomfortable my family / friends were about that. I didn't like the "I'm so sorry" attitude. And some friends told me I was annoying with my diabetes, often bringing it on the table. So I usually keep it for myself, but I was good with that, this new life seemed not so bad as they were all thinking.

Then I understood how emotionnally challenging and overwhelming it actually is. But if the "normal" things (testing, counting, planning...) annoyed them, what if I tell them about how bad it sometimes really feels having diabetes ? I already "ruin" the good moments at every dinner with friends, if I go too far they might not like having me around anymore... (well in this case, we wouldn't really be friends anymore lol)

About 2 weeks ago, I asked to some friends if they think I like talking about my disease or not (to be honest I quite love it). 2 of them expressed some curiosity about my question, so I decided to explain the bad sides of diabetes (health complications, social discomfort, thinking about it all day 'cause my life depends on it, the "alone" feeling, thinking about my future, etc...). I had SO MUCH to say lol. It was relieving. The first friend thanked me about sharing this. I don't know if it will change their opinion about me (I'm not the guy who likes sharing when I feel bad)

I don't regret it at all. I think I just can't tell those things to my family (they don't have to know about my bad moments). But with friends, I think there are those who are ready to hear about everything and curious/caring, those who can only take all these informations step by step, and those who... well, they just don't want to get it. And I'm ok with that.

It's weird how we have to deal with our disease AND with how the others will unpredictably react to it. There is absolutely no rule about it.

Of course if I someday marry, the wife will have to be at least a little concerned about it... I won't be able to keep it from her anyway :p


(Nads) #13

Bonjour Ivan,

Tu es peut-être le seul Français de France ici, mais pas le seul francophone! 

For the sake of others, I will continue in English...

I am more the opposite of you, in the sense that for most of my life, I dealt with the emotional part of my diabetes on my own.  I did not (or at least very rarely) confide in family or friends.  If I needed it, I would just close my bedroom door and have a good cry, then take the attitude that "life goes on".  Now, looking back, I don't believe that this was the best route to follow - too late to change that!

As I was reading your post, before I got to the last line, I was thinking how lucky I am now to be married to my wonderful husband.  He listens to my fears and frustrations, and he just lets me rant, cry, get angry, whatever!  I also like the fact that for the most part, he doesn't take the "pity" attitude and even, if he is a witness to me screwing up (I think that word will most likely be edited out..  let's say "not following the rules"), then he will remind me.

I really do hope you find the equivalent kind of person one day, whether it be a wife or just a really good friend! 


(BrianPQuinn) #14

Ivan,

That is truly awesome that you are or were able to talk openly about being a diabetic with your friends. While some of them may have been irritated or bored by what you were talking about. You put forth the effort to educate others, which is very important. I truly wish more people were informed about the illness and what people face. Many props to having these conversations.


(Angie13) #15

I'll answer as best I can for my son since he hasn't had time to think about juvenation since summer (11 1/2 hours of dance classes a week, plus school, plus ultimate frisbee! and several school clubs).

I remember that while my son was in the e.r. on diagnosis day, he was on my laptop chatting with a friend, telling her he had diabetes and her responding, "OMG!  OMG!  OMG!  OMG!" over and over.  And that was just the beginning of my son being fairly open about diabetes.  Within a few hours of checking out of the hospital two days later, he was at a full weekend of dance choreography.  Fortunately, I had been asked by the guest choreographer to be her assistant, to learn everything so I could rehearse the teens when she was out-of-town, so I was there the whole weekend, too.  He didn't dance full out the first day and the rest of the weekend was spent beginning to learn the ins and outs of balancing physical exercise with carbs and the inevitable lows and the shots for meals.  We did it all in full view of the dance company----it was kind of unavoidable.

His friends (who are mostly dance company people) have all been wonderful about his diabetes!  His best friend's mom requested a thorough "what to do in an emergency" lesson so that my son could spend the night.  Several friends have been educated about what to do with the glucagon. 

This year at school, he is thrilled to not have to go to the nurse to give his pre-lunch injection.  He just does it in the lunchroom.  Much to my surprise, he quit wearing shorts to school several weeks ago and has been teaching friends how to give him his insulin shot in his arm (he isn't so skilled with getting a good angle on his skinny arms).

Of course, nobody know what it is to live with diabetes except for a diabetic.  Setting that aside, I know more than my son does, having read and studied way more than he has.  His dad knows a lot and is a pro at making those wild-ass guesses for food on vacation.  Numerous friends have a clue what to do in an emergency and have witnessed enough of my son's life to have a vague idea of what his life is like.  But I mean vague.  3 a.m. checks 5 nights a week?  Figuring the carbs for a creative concoction in the kitchen?  Just all the everything that goes into the day in, day out life of a diabetic.  No one will really understand until they live it or are responsible for it in some way.


(BrianPQuinn) #16

Angie, that is awesome. Granted I don't think I would trust any of my friends to give me a shot. There is something about letting other people near me with needles. I mean nurses is all good, but my friends. It's like handing them a knife and turning your back on them and hoping they don't play with it.


(cdavid1) #17

For me, I don't really ever "hide" it from people. Everyone knows, but not necessarily knows everything about it. The only people besides my family who know a lot about it is my boyfriend and his family. At first they were all nervous about it, especially when I was in the hospital. I had his brothers and their wives/fiances call me and make sure i was okay. It was comforting to know that there were people who cared about me.


(ivan) #18

@ Nads - Haha, salut Nads! Oui, j'ai vu qu'il y avait quelques canadiens par ici, je vais donc devoir réprimander mes écarts de langage français lol. Mais ce n'est pas plus mal, ça me permet de travailler mon anglais! :)

Back to English. Thank you Nads and Brian!

Having your partner on your side must be a great feeling. I just started recently to talk about the emotional part of my diabetes, it might turn out that it brings me nothing but ignorance. I did it because I received 2 comments (out of 10) like : "it's untrue if you think we don't want to know more about your disease!". So I thought "Alright people, you want it, you'll get even more!" ^^

Unfortunately, I was diagnosed just one month after I moved out from my parents' place, so I was surrounded by "new people" that I had never met before, and my close friends couldn't easily reach me. I think it helped me, facing everything alone is empowering (in some way). But in the end, they know nothing about what I went through. Maybe I'm searching for some recognition now because I couldn't receive any from them at dx.