Katherine Marple writes:
I've had type 1 diabetes for nearly 14 years. I have fallen off the wagon a few times, battled diabulimia, survived numerous insulin shock comas and ketoacidosis episodes, and struggled with acceptance: I have my scars. Despite these mistakes, I've picked myself up countless times and have prevailed. I've persevered with a disease that doesn't take vacations for even a minute, and I've come out on top. I'm alive and healthy, with a full life and a child of my own.
Yet when I tell part of my struggles with this disease to people who are also type 1, they are very quick to point out every flaw in my journey. They are always ready to correct me about what they deem to be my errors, even if it means they simply have not interpreted things the way I intended. Perhaps they are trying to demonstrate that they are knowledgeable in a field that few have battled through. I suspect that they are spending much of their time proving to the world that they are "normal" and "capable" and "perfect." By the time I share my story with them, they've forgotten that I'm also living their struggles and can, perhaps, understand their feelings and concerns.
If we can't accept each other, how can we expect "outsiders" to accept us? Even though I am very well controlled and healthy, that doesn't mean that I don't feel less than perfect sometimes. Even though I am extremely capable, that doesn't mean that I don't feel run-down, afraid, lonely, and downright abused sometimes. Just because someone's experience is different doesn't make it any less truthful.
It's time that we unite. It's time that we share our lives with each other in an effort to learn other ways to live fantastic lives despite dealing with a chronic illness. It's time that we put our prejudices aside and simply support each other. Diabetes is a difficult disease that requires 24/7 management, and we cannot do it alone. With the way that technology is advancing, we are apt to live very long lives. I'd rather live my life in harmony, trying to keep a positive spirit, than spend it slinging muddy words with others. All we are trying to do is to live our best lives. Let's begin those fantastic lives right here.