I haven’t always been one to talk about diabetes. In fact, a few years ago I would have avoided any conversation around the topic at all cost. It made me very uncomfortable and vulnerable to talk about this disease I live with everyday. Since then, I have come a long way. Now, it excites me to talk to people about diabetes. I want to educate those who don’t necessarily understand and I want to connect with as many of those who just “get it”.
A few months ago I received my first continuous glucose monitor system, the Dexcom, which I wear on the back of my arm. I also wear an insulin pump, but this I wear in a way that is a lot more discreet and hidden, and not because I am embarrassed to have it showing, but just because the placement of where I choose to wear it is most comfortable on my body which happens to be well hidden. The past couple of months that I have been wearing the Dexcom on my arm has brought up a lot of interesting conversations with family, friends and even strangers. I especially love when a stranger asks me, “What is that on your arm?”. What I enjoy even more is when another type 1 diabetic sees me going about my day and stops to talk to me because they noticed the Dexcom on my arm. In this simple instance I am able to connect with a complete stranger. We exchange personal stories about our diagnosis, how many years we have been living with T1D, what medicine and devices we use and why, and sometimes we even share some of the hardships we have been through along the way. There is something incredible that happens when you connect with a stranger who just completely gets it and without ever having to explain yourself.
Now, these are just a few of the reasons why I love wearing the Dexcom on my arm exposed for the world to see, but as always, there is another side to this story. At the same time, I hate wearing the Dexcom on my arm for the world to see. I hate it because it gives me tan lines in the summer. I hate it because it ruins the perfect outfit. I hate it because it can sometimes make the dating world awkward. I hate it because sometimes I don’t want people to stare at me and I would just like to go unnoticed walking down the street. I hate it because being the klutz that I am I would for once like to not have to worry about knocking it off my arm. All of these are valid reasons. However, like everything in life you must take the bad with the good. As much as I sometimes hate the Dexcom, or even my insulin pump for that matter, like when I’m going out with friends or on a date and I am dreading the fact that I have to wear this chunky device on my body or I have to figure out how I am going to incorporate this extension of my endocrine system into my outfit and make it look sexy doing it, I realize that I am truly blessed to have access to this incredible, life saving medicine and technology.