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Entering the Mancave.

There are issues we talk about openly in the diabetes community – tips on how to wear a pump, resources for good diet and nutrition, exercise goals, frustrations with blood sugar control, research, and on and on.  All of these topics matter because they play a role in diabetes management, and life as a whole.  But some of these topics are easier than others.  It can be easy to say, “I suck at counting carbs and I need help!” but it’s another discussion entirely to give voice to, “I’m dealing with reproductive issues and I need support.”

Those personal issues need discussing as much as the topics like counting carbs.  Complications are delicate.  Fertility is delicate.  Sexual issues are delicate.  Depression is delicate.  These topics are raw and riddled with social stigma, but they need unpacking.  Otherwise, they get heavier, already heavy all their own.

I remember when I first read about a woman who had given birth after decades with type 1 diabetes and it soothed a panic in me that was there for years, that idea that motherhood was beyond my grasp.  It was a moment, a good moment, that helped change the course of how I approached becoming a mother.

But I also remember the first time I found stories from people in their 20s and 30s who were dealing with diabetes-related complications.  This moment was good in a completely different way.  My diagnosis of macular edema in 2013 generated more than just a new medical condition to manage, but stirred up all these feelings of failure, guilt, and blame … a deluge I wasn’t really prepared for.  These emotions aimed to drown me.  I wanted to hide.  I had very dark, very uncomfortable thoughts that took me away, in a sense, from my friends and family.  I needed support, and am grateful that I found it.  Conversations with peers about dealing with complications at a point when I still felt young but realized how many decades of diabetes I’d logged helped me get through the initial diagnosis and kept me on the path of taking care of myself in order to preserve and protect, but also to continue living despite this new diagnosis.

“Me, too!” stories can help do that.  They confirm that you aren’t alone in what you’re dealing with and that there is support and camaraderie available even in the darkest of times.

I wanted to share a new website called The Diabetes Mancave, created by a writer who has decided to remain anonymous but not to remain silent, and his website is hosting discussions about the topics of male infertility, retrograde ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction, among other things.  From the site:

“You’re not going find my real name here. That’s because this isn’t something I am comfortable sharing online with these issues, because they are very personal and not something I’m comfortable letting everyone tie to my name.

But that aside, this also isn’t about just me. It’s about these issues, and the larger point of how so many men who may be experiencing these, just don’t share because they aren’t comfortable talking about them.

… In a Diabetes Community where we so often tell each other “You Are Not Alone,” I certainly do feel alone.

I’m hoping the D-Man Cave can help remedy that, to some extent. Because I don’t want to keep this in anymore, and I don’t want to feel so alone.”

Discussions and blogs (and Twitter profiles) like his are long overdue.  I’m really sorry you’re dealing with these issues, Diabetes Mancave guy, but I am so, so grateful you are putting them out there.  I hope you find community and support because by putting your story out there, you’re potentially providing a life preserver for someone else.  Thank you for being brave, and encouraging others to be brave, too.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. I second that emotion.

    07/29/15; 9:39 am
  2. I have huge admiration for those who tackle the things that are really tough to talk about. Bravo, Diabetes Mancave!

    07/29/15; 11:31 am
  3. Thanks for sharing this, Kerri, and I too, second that emotion.

    It’s really hard to talk about some of these things, and I’m glad I now know of a place where safe conversation can happen.

    07/29/15; 11:40 am
  4. This is a great resource for me. Often, I hear that men need an outlet as well, so it’s fantastic that Diabetes Mancave is providing this. Let DiabetesSisters know if you need any help!

    07/29/15; 12:22 pm
  5. Sean #

    Absolutely, the tough discussions need to happen, too. I’m glad there are places for these discussions, safety, openness, and the support people need, and hope such opportunities grow for anyone who can benefit from them. Thank you so much for sharing this. I certainly hope it helps the Diabetes Mancave guy–and others–feel less alone.

    07/29/15; 11:29 pm
  6. It is refreshing to see someone talking about these sensitive issues. The gentleman behind Diabetes Mancave is certainly not alone. Let’s just say, “I get it”.

    Thanks for sharing, Kerri.

    07/30/15; 1:51 am
  7. Keep up the powerful sharing, Diabetes Mancave man.

    07/30/15; 12:28 pm
  8. Bodies are just bodies and do what they do and have nothing to do with us as beings. What makes D-Man Cave Guy beautiful is the parts of him that inspired this bravery and vulnerability, not his meat suit.

    I hope he finds his way through the embarrassment into Peace. And thanks, Kerri, for sharing.

    07/31/15; 9:28 am
  9. Thank you Kerri for sharing this post and everything you wrote, and thank you to all of those who’ve commented above with very kind thoughts and encouragement. I am definitely using this site to vent and share my own personal stories, but do also hope others can reach out and share anything they care to. Also have to give mad props to My Diabetes Secret, for really being the resource online that gave me the courage to start sharing these parts of my diabetes story.

    08/18/15; 2:43 am
  10. Pam #

    Thank you for sharing this, and thank you ManCave for sharing your story.

    08/21/15; 5:28 am

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