I see you staring over at our table with judgmental eyes. I hear you whispering under your breath to whomever it is you are eating with. I know exactly what is going through your head.
Yes, my boyfriend is diabetic. Type 1 to be exact. No, he is not obese. No, he did not drink too many soft drinks or eat too much candy as a child. No, he isn’t lazy or ignoring his health. No, he does not have “diabeetus”.
He is 19 and has had type 1 diabetes since he was 15. When he was diagnosed, the doctors thought he had mono until one nurse had a hunch. She checked his blood sugar to find it was 679 and rushed him to ICU to save him as he was minutes away from a coma.
And no, it is not and never will be his fault. There was no way for him to prevent his fate. Type 1 diabetes is a genetic mutation. Contrary to popular belief, it cannot turn into type 2.
As you complain about him doing his shot in public, as you stare as he places a needle into his own body quietly without complaint, he does not have a negative word to stay. He goes about his business. He checks his sugar, determines how many units of insulin he needs to accompany his meal and proceeds to look at me with a smile.
While the world throws judgement and negative thoughts towards him and others who share the same issue, he smiles and he fights every day against his disease and against the ignorance of others.
He can’t go anywhere without his insulin, and I stay by his side and try to control my own temper when I see or hear others who do not understand his condition. We go hiking and take breaks for him to check his sugar. He laughs and sometimes even makes a joke or two saying, “Oh, my sugar is high again. It’s because you’re too sweet.” I roll my eyes playfully but cannot help but smile at him for having such a good attitude in less than ideal circumstances.
While you complain about the flu shot, he gives himself his own shot with a needle three times a day at meals and a fourth at night before bed. He, along with many others, is a fighter and a hero. He fights and overcomes a battle with his disease every time he gets the courage to stick a needle into his side.
Nothing is more frustrating or insulting than the ignorance some people have of this disease. However, you will think differently when you wake up at 3 a.m. to the person you love frightened because their sugar is over 300. Diabetes does not look like obesity or a coke-addiction. It looks like a nineteen year old young man who is tall, a healthy weight and just wants to go out without an interruption by a varied blood sugar.
So stare, whisper and self-diagnose his disease in ignorance. He is a fighter. He is a type 1 diabetic.