Have you ever heard of something or someone hiding in plain sight? It's amazing to me, how close you can be to something and not know it.
For the past (almost) 2 years, I have searched for people who understand all the new and complex details of my life as a PWD. I have found that community through my little laptop's window, in the DOC. I have gained so much more than I could have ever imagined, from this family full of strangers. It is a comfort and understanding that led me to CWD's Friends For Life, where I met some of the most amazing PWDs in person.
It was almost a week of feeling normal and most importantly understood. My parents couldn't fathom me wanting to spend my vacation at a conference focused entirely on a disease. What they didn't understand was the knowledge and support that feels like a second home.
As July approaches, I am gearing up to go back, and I am getting more excited with every day. In some ways, it is just a relief to get away from the stress of everyday life, including a second round of pay cuts, and fear about what my future holds. More importantly though, it is the camaraderie and community of real people that I crave. I long for it more often than I care to admit.
When it comes to my diabetes, in everyday life, I feel very alone. Only my very close friends know I'm diabetic, and that is pretty much the extent of their involvement. Don't misunderstand, if I'm asking for help, they are the first to come and answer my call. They will get me what ever I ask for, but if I couldn't ask, I would doubt anyone would know what to do. I don't think the diabetes would even cross their mind. I hate asking for help, or even appearing weak enough to need it. I'm classically OK. Sure, I may be bleeding profusely after falling on a pair of scissors, but just give me a minute to walk it off...I'm OK (true story).
So after keeping my D on the DL, I was surprised when a co worker and friend approached me today with the question, "Do you pump?." My look of complete astonishment must have shown in my inability to respond.
After a minute, she points to my green Ping, clipped to my pants.
"yes" is all I could get out.
Now, usually my pump is hiding somewhere on my person. The ability to bolus remotely was a HUGE selling point for my pump. In other words, I forgot that it was clipped out in plain sight. She starts asking me about our insurance benefits for pumps/supplies, since her daughter is type 1.
Now, I know this woman well. I've had lots of discussions about her daughter that's in college. About her ex-husband and their issues. How in all this time, had I not known that small piece of information. And WHY did that small conversation starter, make me feel connected in a strange new way.
Turns out that her daughter was on a Minimed with her husbands insurance, but since he's not paying her bills, she having problems with paying and getting supplies. She's also now on CGMS since, a few months ago, a friend found her passed out in her dorm room, from an almost deadly low. Her roommate was out of town, and she could not remember almost 24 hours from when she woke up in the hospital. FYI, it was an out of warranty insulin pump MALFUNCTION that caused the low. REALLY SCARY!
Regardless of the scary and terrible story, I walked away from our conversation hopeful. She knows. She understands. Her daughter is coming down next week, and I will get to meet her, and show her my pump as I explain our current benefits to my friend (she's thinking about switching her over to her insurance, so she could get a new pump.) Right now, I am left wondering who else may share this bond, and what other things, do I and others close to me, not know about one another. I would certainly love to find out.