This is a guest post from the lovely Joe Griffiths (@VCP_Joe on twitter). Please share this with anyone who may like to read it and also give Joe and his funny stories/pictures a follow on twitter :)
Diabetic & Proud
I’m a huge Marvel nerd. No, seriously I love any kind of comic book movie or reference. The first thing I compared myself to when I was first diagnosed with my type 1 diabetes was the X-Men. I was a mutant of some sort. Not the coolest mutant, granted, but a mutant with something different about them when compared to another person.
I didn’t have bone claws, nor could I shoot red energy blasts from my eye balls when I removed my specs. Instead, I had an unquenchable thirst and a swollen bladder. Probably more Wee-Men than X-Men…
I went home from the hospital that day knowing that my body had changed. I knew I wasn’t quite right but now it was double confirmed why I was feeling so different. What would I do with these new powers then? Like any new mutant from the Marvel universe, you hide away and feel uncomfortable about your new-found abilities.
I wouldn’t talk to anyone about my diabetes. I felt embarrassed about getting my kit and my stomach out at the dinner table, always creeping off to the toilet to ‘shoot up’ like some kind of junkie. It sound’s ridiculous when looking back about it all now but it really did feel like my condition (mutant power) was something to be ashamed of.
Of course, with time I grew to understand and control my diabetes, to the point where I’m still learning new things on a weekly basis, 10 years down the line. I have the help of my health care specialist nurses and consultants for all the big and bulky stuff but there’s still that shadow looming over the emotional side of things.
Sticking with the X-Men theme here… like any lost and scared mutant, I needed mentoring. This is where Twitter takes on the guise of a bald man in a wheel chair. My Professor X was a whole community. The DOC (diabetic online community) to be precise. This band of brothers welcomed me with open arms; inviting me to take part in tweet-chats, networking events and ways to raise awareness for our condition.
Instead of shunning my powers, I embraced them. I added a simple ‘type 1 diabetic’ line into my Twitter profile and began conversations about hypos, hypers and what pumps to choose. I’ve never been very good at Twitter but since finding a reason to tweet, I’m more active than ever. Don’t drag your diabetes around with you, put it up front and make it part of your character.
I even managed to convince my boss to allow me to write an article for our website at Voucher Codes Pro. It was my first crack at raising awareness for diabetes. I felt like I owed something back to the DOC after they had been so accepting of me. With the help of the brightest bloggers and advocates from around the web, I put together something I was very proud of.
My name’s Joe Griffiths and I’m type 1 diabetic and proud.