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Guest Post: Thingy, Normal, and Me.

Today's guest post is from Amy, aka "collectingblues" on Twitter, who writes about her "thoughts on sewing, knitting, life, and that whole diabetes thing."  Take it away, Amy!

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Sunday, January 10, was the first and the last time I said the phrase “the new normal.” I was three or four days into my transition to Cyborg Pancreas, and stood in the shower, sobbing at the looks of an infusion site and the Dexcom sensor on my stomach. As I got out and toweled off, I looked down, and said to myself, “Well, this is the new normal.”

I didn’t like the sound of that phrase then, and I don’t like it now.

What is normal? I’ve been type 1 since I was 3 years old. Quite literally, being diabetic is all I know and remember. I’ve seen the transition from the Autoclix (and still shudder at the thought of using it again, to the point of preferring to stick a syringe into my finger in the absence of lancet availability) and wipe-off test strips to shiny new “clickers” and the Dexcom (often referred to as Thingy). So for me, diabetes is normal. It’s not different, or special, or another pithy cliché. It just… is.

It’s occurred to me over the past many years that what’s normal for me isn’t normal for others. While I wouldn’t say that I have a cavalier approach to the Care and Feeding of a Type 1 Diabetic, I do have a different perception of Normal than your average “normal” 30-something. Stick a sensor into your stomach? No problem. Laser surgery for retinopathy? A pain, but better than kidney failure. Poke myself with a lancet eight times a day? OK, whatever — let’s get on with it. It hit me that others don’t have this fun when a colleague was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. “Amy,” she said, “I can’t imagine always having to do this.”

Sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to not have to think so much about diabetes. What would I do with my time if I weren’t looking at CGM data, or trying to figure out a combo bolus in my head to combat a high? Would I suddenly become a five-star chef, or turn out quilted bags like Vera Bradley? Probably not. Knowing me, I’d just sit around knitting until 1:30 a.m. … just like I do now.  

A few weeks before I got my Dexcom, I was at my parents’ home for a few days off at Christmas. My parents knew I wanted Thingy, and that it was a long-time coming. I had first commented to them when I got my Ping, that at a football game I had really felt “normal” when I bloused for beer. I suppose my father thought that the Dexcom was the next step. As we worked to load my car before I drove back to Pittsburgh, he leaned over, hugged me, and said, “I hope this will help make you more normal.”

“Well, Dad,” I responded with a wry grin, “I’m not sure if I would have been normal even if I weren’t diabetic.”

I’m just me.

Comments

yep. I agree. Im just me, too. And we would be the same people without the diabetes. I must might have more shoes - because of the extra cash ;)

For me, Diabetes gave me the challenge of thinking out of the box in order to do the things that all my peers were doing.
I have been T1 for 55 years with no complications. I have 2 children (grown), a full-time creative career and have traveled all over the world. Yes, things are a little more cumbersome, but if I want to do something I will find a way, thank to having Diabetes.

For me, Diabetes gave me the challenge of thinking out of the box in order to do the things that all my peers were doing.
I have been T1 for 55 years with no complications. I have 2 children (grown), a full-time creative career and have traveled all over the world. Yes, things are a little more cumbersome, but if I want to do something I will find a way, thank to having Diabetes.

Normal? I don't know what that is....and I'm quite certain I wouldn't be normal even in the absence of diabetes. :)

"Normal" is a setting on the washing machine.

Its called "life" so we have to take all the "if"s with it.

Some "ifs" make us realize that the other "ifs" aren't all that bad.

Cheers!

I often wonder how the grades and standardized tests could truly measure my daughters aptitude and abilities as she spends such a portion of her brain managing bgs, carbs, boluses and basals!

For me, normal is also rarely using my KnitPicks DPNs to knit socks because those extra pointy tips hurt my fingers after all of the finger sticks I do every day. Maybe that's a "normal" you and I can both share!

I loved the last few lines of your post, here's the thing, our daughter age 5 has alwasy been a little 'abnormal', I'd call here eccentric and a bit of a drama queen, but when she was finnally diagnosed with Type 1 and we started looking back over the past couple of years we learned that alot of her abnormalities were caused by the undiagnosed diabetes, like most of her drama-queen behavior, the fact that she could fall asleep anywhere anytime, all the times she fell down or ran into things and now that we know how to give her the things she needs to live, she is way more normal now then she was before being diagnosed. Just a normal kid who pokes her finger and sucks up blood with "blood sucker strips" and gives shots and asks Santa for an insulin pump. She's my girl and I love her normal or not.

Amy is my daughter. Her mom and I are so proud of her. She has had to deal with so many different situations. I'm fearful that there are a lot of people in society who would be shocked and overwhelmed by the complexity of diabetes, who would just not get involved, because of fear or anxiety, or fear of possible failure at their attempts. I have always hoped that the disease could be taken away from Amy and given to me, but things are what they are. Amy is a passionate, intelligent, driven individual, determined to do her very best in any situation. Thanks for publishing this article. Earle

Hi Amy! Thanks so much for posting - I enjoyed the read and am looking forward to more!

Normal is relative... at dx we were introduced to a "new normal"... now 2 years later it's just what is normal for us... the kids in her class don't even flinch when she has to test, it's just part of her... it's her "normal"

As a parent, we all want our kids to feel "normal" and less different from others... when we took our daughter to camp last summer... I cried because it was her first time at camp and away from me... tears rolled down my face looking at all the other kids who also have d... and I cried because for that week in her life, she was not alone in her battle... she was "normal"

Earle, I often wish I could take it away too...

I've read a book with a title that fits here - "Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them". The author talks about how we are all in the 'as-is' bin, it's just that our chip or broken zippers are all different.

I know for sure that I was nowhere near normal before diabetes :)

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