I wear an insulin pump and it keeps me alive. If I didn’t have it, either I would die, or I would have to give myself a bunch of shots during the day. So it is pretty much the most important possession that I own, in a lot of ways. It is a really good friend. And yet, I don’t treat it very well. What I mean by this is that I don’t like for it to be known that I have it. I don’t really go out of my way to hide it, but I also don’t go out of my way to flaunt it. I keep it in my pocket and all of the tubes tucked away as well as possible. I’m not ashamed of it, but I also don’t really want people to know that I have it. It is just sort of a strange mental thing. I like to appear “normal”.
So in this spirit I ordered my skating pants with some special inside pockets. That way I can wear my pump and keep it on the inside, so that no one will know that I am diabetic while I am skating. I don’t want to be judged differently because of it. And I don’t think that I would be, but you never know.
And then over the last couple of days, I changed my mind. I think that I’ve decided to compete with my pump clipped to the back of my pants, on display, for everyone to see. Why? To get favor from a judge? To make people feel sorry for me? No. It is because maybe at the competition there will be some little kid, or some young teenager who has diabetes. Someone who is really embarrassed that they are “different.” Someone ashamed or scared or just having trouble with their diabetes. And it isn’t silly. It is really hard for kids and young teenagers who have this disease, from what I understand.
So maybe if they see someone out there, someone a little older than them, who has the same disease that they do, and is still able to do things, like compete in an athletic event, that it will make them feel a little better about themselves. Or maybe just let them know that they aren’t such a weird total freak.
Who knows? Chances are that I won’t be competing in such a situation where someone would notice. And maybe they wouldn’t even care. But based on the chance that maybe there is, I think I owe it to them, and especially to myself, to own this disease and show that it is okay. That it isn’t the end of the world and that we can do anything that people with working pancreases can do.