Wait, but you’re not fat!

No, I’m not fat. And you won’t find “track marks” either. But I do go to the gym 3-4 times a week, poke the tips of my sore fingers about 6 times a day, and put a needle under my skin 6-8 times a day. That’s a whopping total of around 160 gym visits, 2190 finger pricks, and 2555 injections in a single year. Now, while I manage to get quite a kick out of the sheer amazement new friends have when they hear I’m a diabetic, scan me up and down, and cannot figure out how someone who’s thin could possibly have diabetes, the heroine jokes have gotten old for me.
While I could sit here and re-hash every heroin joke I’ve heard, I think it is more important to narrow in on my feelings about people’s perceptions of others struggles—pretty much the theme of my blog. 20-some year old students hear even a snippet of my difficulties of my daily experience and the automatic response is either lightheartedness and jokes or a pity party lasting the rest of our friendship. I want neither. I didn’t particularly even ask for a response. It’s the awkward moment when someone tries to say, “Oh, I’m so sorry” to your diabetic-celiac existence and you look at him or her and wonder, “Sorry for what?”

Sometimes I wonder to what extent it would be distasteful for me to dress up as a heroin junkie for Halloween. Sure, everyone’s going to laugh, but am I being too light-hearted about the true severity of what I deal with day to day? I tend to lean towards it being funny enough that my group of friends could laugh at it, but hypocritically am sick of people making the joke to me. Diabetics, and diabetic-celiacs and any other variety of the clan, are a freestanding population. Meaning, we definitely fall into the category of being able to call each other something, behave a particular way, or use particular words with each other that others couldn’t do or use with us. A few examples:

            -If you’re not a diabetic, please don’t look over my shoulder at my meter. That’s obnoxious; it’s none of your business and I know it’ll end in endless questions that I probably won’t want to deal with if I’m high or low.

            -“Yo, can I get a hit?” Again, heroin jokes to diabetics are like twerking jokes to girls with bodacious booties–yes, it technically has correlation, but it’s old. Find a new hobby.

            -No, I won’t suddenly “grow up and lose my toes” like your grandfather did; it’s called modern medicine and the strength and determination to take care of yourself.

In very recent news, about three months ago I went on the newest Dexcom [continuous glucose monitor, for those newbies] and it was the biggest stress-reliever I’d ever found. Unfortunately, being the sensitive health person I am, two weeks later I developed a severe allergic reaction to the tape—hives and everything. However, after multiple allergist visits [and honestly some unnecessary testing] I have found a type of medical tape that I am not allergic to [3M Medipore H Tape, for those who have tape issues] After discussing the situation with Dexcom, a great customer service company by the way, I will cut a hole in the tape for the sensor needle to go through, and put a layer of it under the Dexcom receiver/sensor. They are sending my CGM back to me within the next few weeks and hopefully I’ll get that stress relief back, because goodness knows, a diabetic celiac college girl could use some. Please, if you have any experience with Dexcom or CGM or tape issues, share! I know everyone, including myself could benefit from your ideas.

Below, I’ve included the link to one of my lifesaver companies, GoPicnic, which sells packaged snacks/meals to go. I’ve fallen in love with the Sunbutter Cracker meals and have over 40 of them under my desk [bulk discounts!] for my long college days. [Note: They recently changed their cookie to a cookie that contains soy for this meal. I contacted them and they said they still have the old ones in stock, with the Enjoy Life cookie, and provided me a discount to buy more. Another company with fantastic customer support!]

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

Also, in case you’re interested:

Brianna

The girl behind A Different Survival Guide. Known on social as breezygfreezy.

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