Over drinks with T1D friends one night, we (Kat and Tara) were talking about fundraising ideas to support our beloved diabetes camp (where we had met the summer before), and other amazing diabetes non-profits. It can be so hard to ask friends and family for money all the time when there are so many worthy causes. We laughed about how ridiculous it would be to start a T1D nude calendar. We kept joking about it, then seriously talking about it, and decided we had to make it happen.
What started off as a joke between friends turned into something beautiful as we recruited people to participate in the project. It is interesting to us that diabetes is often called an invisible disease. Sometimes it feels anything but invisible with the bumps and bruises, scar tissue and patches of sticky adhesive residue, gadgets and tubing, and constant beeping. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Diabetes can definitely leave its mark on your body, and we feel this is especially apparent when naked. During their photo shoots, T1Ds shared stories of struggle and acceptance, of eating disorders and complications, and also of finding peace.
There was a lot of laughing and a lot of crying. The love for bodies and all their amazing abilities, and the exasperation of living with a chronically ill body that requires so much mental attention to keep alive really resonated with us. It’s about acknowledging the struggle and changes to your life and body while celebrating your existence and abilities. The calendar reminds us to practice gratitude for all the amazing things are bodies are able to accomplish each day with insulin.
Maybe you’ve heard the adage: HALT. Take precautions when Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, especially when it’s decision making time (this skill is sufficiently difficult by itself for me, not withstanding additional emotions). Let’s add another L to the acronym: Low. Trying to do much of anything while hypoglycemic is already a challenge, but oftentimes the tiniest decisions turn tortuous.
How important is this understanding? Well, important enough to write a blog about it. Looking back, I think things would have just been easier if used the thinking plan I use now, “Okay, Ryan you are low. I know this feels like something really important that you should do right now, but this will be simpler in 1o minutes. Find some food.” Remind yourself of the past experiences where things were never as bad as they seemed when you were low. Really though, it’s never that bad.
I’m always down for a road trip so when I was invited to Austin to share Thanksgiving with new friends, I starting packing my bags. I met Lisa and her family in Hawaii and spent a number of evenings with the Thomas family. I even attended her daughter’s wedding, so driving a few hours for Thanksgiving was a no-brainer.
As the departure date approached, I felt the anxiety creep in. I was excited to see everyone, but nervous to spend 72 hours in someone’s home I barely knew. We had discussed my diabetes so they were familiar with me testing my BG and shooting up, but a wave of insecurity came over me.
- What if I can’t eat what they’re serving?