Throughout the last 10-15 years, diabetes management has gotten a major revamping. From primitive urine testing to finger stick poking and now state-of-the-art continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), our glucose control is getting better than ever. However, these devices are also turning an invisible diagnosis into a very visible one which can be subject to personal biases and unwanted comments.
When I switched from multiple daily injections (MDI) and fingerstick testing to an insulin pump with a CGM, my main worry wasn’t about knocking them into door frames or ripping out sites but rather about people looking at me and my gadgets. MDI made it easy to hide the fact that I needed insulin to survive, but due to this I also failed to talk about my struggles with diabetes. By not talking about my struggles, people in my life did not understand the very real mental impacts that poorly timed jokes, management questioning and food shaming had on me.
The truth is, many people are scared to talk about their diabetes because we don’t want it to define us, nor do we want to hear remarks about how [insert ridiculous diet/herbal product here] can “cure” us. However, I think we hold the power to change how people treat us and see T1D. For example, I began painting my insulin pods to take back some control. Instead of wearing a medical device I started wearing fashion accessories, and my art was able to function as a segway for people to ask me more sensitive questions in a safe way. This gave me the opportunity to dismantle misconceptions and talk about diabetes on my terms as well as show those around me that I am thriving despite my diagnosis.
Of course, we will always face some ignorance, but if we start the conversation first then maybe we can control the dialogue around type 1 diabetes. This is not an easy disease to live with, but we are living and thriving! Let’s make diabetes a story of strength, resilience and beauty rather than illness, pain and complacency.
Author Jasmine Maghera has a B.Sc. in Pharmacology from the University of Alberta and is now pursuing a graduate degree in Type 1 Diabetes Research. Jasmine combines her passions for art and health on her Instagram account, @artinfusion97
Our community blog is written by a diverse group of ICD participants and supporters. We are grateful to be able to share the various perspectives of our community with you. These are opinions, not medical advice, and may or may not be right for you!