Recently, while scrolling through discussions posted on an online diabetes forum, I came across one from a man in his thirties who wrote about how paramedics had found his twin brother face down in a sauna, in an insulin shock coma. How did he end up in such a state? The appalling answer is, he didn't have enough glucose strips to test before he got into the hot tub. A few weeks before the sauna incident, his insurance company had limited his glucose strips to just four per day.
My best friend from high school, Katherine, married a wonderful man who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a little over two years ago. John Schaaf, now 60, lives with Katherine in Berkeley, Calif., and works for Chevron Corporation in nearby Richmond.
We are a tight-knit community. I'm not talking about my neighbors in my hometown of Chicago. I'm talking about my worldwide neighbors in the diabetic online community. Anyone dealing with diabetes knows the bond that it brings. When a person with diabetes is wronged, the rest of us feel the sting. Most of us living with diabetes have stories about people badgering our diet choices, saying inappropriate or insensitive things, and, sadly, crossing the line even further.
Many people with diabetes admit to keeping their diabetes a secret. Less than two years ago, I was one of them. I hated the way people treated me when they found out about my diabetes. I hated being told that I wasn't allowed to eat things by people who didn't have a clue about diabetes. I hated the horror stories people told about their acquaintances with diabetes. I hated people asking me if I had the "bad" kind of diabetes.
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