It was our last morning in Canberra. I was pretty much all packed up and ready to go. With a bit of time left on my hands to kill, I decided to do all of those crazy checks of the room. I zipped up and re-opened my hand luggage, pulled the sheets off the bed, opened and closed each drawer on my bedside table. I knew there was absolutely nothing left in the room, but in one final moment of craziness, I decided to pull the bed away from the wall. And this is what I found.
It was a ketone strip. And ironically, it even belonged to the very same blood glucose meter that I use.
It’s hard not to feel alone when dealing with diabetes, sometimes. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I like being independent. I test on my own. I inject on my own. I correct on my own. I fix hypos on my own. I get angry and frustrated on my own. I get all excited on my own. And I deal with all those crazy thoughts and feelings that go rushing through my head on my own. Okay, maybe I’m a little too independent.
I do my best to talk about diabetes to others, where I can. Last week, I was pretty proud of the fact that I decided to share the eye issues I was having with some of my friends at work. I’m also pretty proud to share with my family the progress that I’m making with this blog and all of the amazing support that’s come from it. But I still struggle to explain to others all of the things I have to do to manage my diabetes. And it’s still a struggle for others to understand that there is a difference between type 1 and type 2.
Outside of this blog and the wonderful diabetes online community, I don’t really know many people with diabetes. And this had to be the closest that I had ever come to someone else with diabetes. I saw that test strip and I was ecstatic. I shouted for the others to come in and see what I had found. I grabbed my camera and began taking photos. I even resisted the urge to post the photo up on Twitter.
Someone else with diabetes was here. Someone else, like me, had to drag type 1 diabetes along with them on their travels. Someone else, like me, had to sacrifice precious holiday time to deal with diabetes. Someone else, like me, had a frustrating time as they did their best to get rid of those ketones. And maybe, like me, they got so frustrated that they flung all of their used test strips on the floor.
In that moment, I was reminded that type 1 diabetes does exist in the real world, too. And in that moment, I felt just a little bit less alone with my diabetes.