Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Not Such a Secret

"I'm from New Jersey. I'm seventeen. I'm Pakistani. I'm Pre-med. I'm majoring in Biomedical Engineering. And, oh, I'm a diabetic."

This statement came out of my mouth several dozen times when I started my undergraduate studies. From the first time I was away from the cocoon of my family, I always disclosed my diabetes. But I also treated it as an afterthought. Therefore, everyone around me didn't really notice the diabetes. Usually it was exactly what I wanted except for the few occasional times people forgot.

Why did I tell them? Because it made me feel safe to know the people closest to me knew well about my "serious" medical condition. And because my mother always told everyone for me. Loudly. And vehemently. But after freshman year, the splurge train about my diabetes didn't roll out very often. Mostly because I felt too independent (read: cocky teenager) to share about my life with the big D everyday. It was my own mental hurdle to overcome. I nonchalantly told my research advisers about it and they never really cared about the days off or extra snack breaks. I'm lucky that nothing horrible has ever happened with my diabetes, but planning for the worst case scenarios has always given me a safety blanket.

Since becoming an active participant in the DOC, I bring up my diabetes more often than I used to, but my "it's no big deal" attitude towards it hasn't changed at all. I'm still learning about what kind of people to tell in what manner. Sometimes inundating people with facts is not the right way to go. Sometimes not telling them enough makes them feel less important or unintelligent. Sometimes they just figure it out by watching me inhale glucose tabs or stab my fingers.

What I recently realized is that I shouldn't be ashamed of my diabetes and all it entails. I can scream that I have diabetes from the roof tops. I shouldn't be embarrassed by the beeping or the bleeding. Now, I do have stuff to be embarrassed about (like my guilty pleasure music or not zipping up my fly) but all in all my slacker pancreas and the havoc it causes shouldn't ever bring about shame. Because I can't control everything. I try to do my best and remember all the things I am without diabetes ever coming into the picture.

I am adventurous.
I am a rock climber.
I am smarter than the average bear.
I am a student.
I am caring.
I am a daughter, a sister, and an aunt.
And I am thriving with diabetes (in case you didn't know).

This post is my March entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2012/march-dsma-blog-carnival-2/


  1. It's always interesting how diabetes disclosures can ebb and flow. I'm so glad you are shouting it from the roof-tops now!!

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