I never really thought about it, but I never realized how lucky I am to have a sibling with Type 1 diabetes. When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I certainly wasn’t happy about it, but I didn’t freak out. I thought about my brother, who had been living with this disease for about 15 years at that point, and I knew if he could do it, I could do it. My brother was successful in every way I could think of and I never noticed diabetes getting in the way of anything he wanted to do. He was a great athlete, a hard working lawyer, successful in his relationships and he travelled quite a bit. As a matter of fact, when I was diagnosed and put in the hospital for a few days, he was in Italy.
Twenty-four years later, we have shared many ups and downs and those of you with diabetes know I mean that quite literally. From the minute I was diagnosed he has been my diabetic role model; he is someone I could witness living a full life with Type 1 diabetes. I never thought about hiding my diabetes or being embarrassed about my diabetes. I never worried about limitations or restrictions, I accepted diabetes as a new fact of life that I better figure out and learn to manage. I needed to fit diabetes into my already full life including my demanding career. My brother showed me the way – I just didn’t know it until now? Thanks bro!
In my practice I have seen that not all Type 1s are as lucky as me. Some don’t know anyone else with Type 1 diabetes or may know others who are not as positive and resilient as my brother. I see clients’ and their family members’ faces light up when I say that I too am a Type 1 diabetic. There is a bond there, no doubt.
Do you remember who you thought about when you were diagnosed? If you are over 50 maybe it was Mary Tyler Moore. If you are younger it might be Nick Jonas or one of the American Idols. Who is your diabetic role model?