I am part of the type 1 tribe. It wasn’t always that way. I didn’t really meet someone else with type 1 diabetes until about ten years after I was diagnosed. It was lonely. But it isn’t anymore: I met one type 1, and another, and another, and for the last five years I have been collecting friends with type 1. Socially and professionally, both in my city and online around the world, I am now surrounded by a network of type 1 warriors. Living with type 1 makes us resilient, adaptable, compassionate and strong. People with type 1 are the kind of people you want to be friends with.
My diabuddies and I connect frequently. We help each other develop and test new management strategies, support each other through diabetes burnout, celebrate wins together, talk sport and food and life, and tell each other the latest type 1 hacks we’ve worked out. I feel like I have a SWAT team of type 1 ninjas who always have my back. It’s awesome. Our tribe has good energy – we are positive, motivated, thriving – and I am proud to be part of it.
I met another member of the type 1 tribe at the Coogee swim last week. Spotting his insulin pump site and a whole lot of glucose gels poking out the top of a pair of budgie smugglers – I immediately thought ‘ONE OF US!’, sprinted over and nearly bowled him over with excitement. We got an enthusiastic two minute chat in before his race call, and I found out his name is Jack.
I looked for Jack at the end of the swim but he was nowhere to be found amongst all the orange caps. No matter – with my finely-honed internet stalking skills, I tracked him down the following day. A coffee catch up turned into a 90 minute yarn on all things type 1 and sport … and the revelation that Jack has done multiple Ironman triathlons (impressive!) and is also doing a SOLO TO ROTTNEST!
I have a DIABUDDY! Who is dreaming big, attempting the swim, nutting out his diabetes strategies along the way, self-rescuing, planning, juggling epic family and work commitments, and occasionally feeling bewildered and overwhelmed like me but is DOING IT ANYWAY!!
I am so unbelievably, out-of-control, chuffed about this.
I went for a river swim this morning with Jack. I swim with others often, but this morning was different. There was a pause before we jumped in – him to adjust his pump and make sure his glucose gels weren’t going to float away, me to stash my gel shots and my glucose monitor. A check in at the half way point about glucose levels, and another towards the end. A conversation about breakfast carbs and insulin dosing that would have sounded like japanese to a Muggle. I didn’t have to do that stuff on my own this morning – I was able to share it – and that meant so much to me.
Today I am grateful for my new swimming diabuddy Jack, and for the type 1 tribe at large – we are warriors all.
Kilometres this week: 22km