My New Type 2 Friend
Everyone should have a friend who understands what they're going through.
November 2011 — As I sit composing this column it is not even Halloween, but I am already thinking about Thanksgiving, or my country's annual observance of "giving thanks." I pretty much have my normal list:
My beautiful and loving wife
My adorable and loving canine daughters
My family and friends
My career/other sources of income (especially dLife!)
My diabetes support group, etc.
However, this past Labor Day I added a new member to my list: I have a groupie! It was on Labor Day weekend that I received a message through my dLife page from a fan of my column. It was just a brief message stating that she was type 2, had recently come across the dLife site, and really enjoyed reading my column.
So while my first reaction was one mixed with surprise and humility, it fairly quickly evolved into jubilation, with just a hint of, "In your face other dLife columnists — I have a fan too!" Kerri Morrone Sparling, aka Six Until Me, has nothing on me (even though she is a whole lot cuter and a bunch more popular). It is now Turn the Page's time to revel in the limelight.
If I do have other fans, they appear to have opted to remain underground or incognito. I am just proud that I have at least one who is publicly willing to admit that they read my column. For the time being, she will be known as "Sweet Pea" because I don't want the other columnists to get so jealous that they try to lure her away from me. We people with diabetes are known for not always doing well with temptation.
Since being contacted by Sweet Pea, we have become friends, bonded by our mutual chronic conditions. Even though we are a thousand miles apart, our communication has been therapeutic for both of us. It has made me realize that I have needed a type 2 friend closer to my age (Sweet Pea is forty-four) for support. I have discovered that it is so much easier (and more fun) to relate with a type 2 closer to my age when comparing blood sugar readings, medications, how others treat us, and even meals. It's probably best that my new type 2 friend is a woman because guys tend to "know it all" and you just can't tell us anything. Trust me, I know.
One eye-opening bit of insight into Sweet Pea's diabetes is that she has been ashamed to tell many people that she is type 2. It's funny how this condition affects us. I had mine stamped on my forearm for the whole world to see, and she kept hers locked up inside for eight years. It has only been since this past August that she has started publicly talking about her type 2 diabetes and has stopped blaming herself for having it. I feel like my life has gotten better with the addition of my new type 2 friend, for whom I am very thankful.
Our type 2 nation is growing. We are getting to be so numerous that we are getting to be like cockroaches — we are everywhere! However, unlike those insects, we have our emotional needs (and are not that easy to step on). I encourage you to find a type 2 friend closer to your own age. It shouldn't be too hard, especially with resources like www.dlife.com and www.tudiabetes.com. However, please use discretion, as well as a good dose of common sense, when disclosing personal information over the internet.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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