Tapping out 

World Diabetes Day has slipped under the radar for me this year. Unlike a lot of my diabetes community friends, I don’t work in healthcare or around diabetes. I work in a high school in suburban Melbourne. The only mention of diabetes today was a Year 8 boy calling the lollies I gave out in Period 5 “diabetes”.
Me: “Comment dit ‘lollies’ en français?

Student: “Diabetes!”

Raucous laughter ensued from one half of the class (who have only had me this year) and the other half of the class (who I’ve taught since year 7) looked around nervously. They know me – too well. Normal Ms. Peters would jump on that immediately.
But I’m tired. I’ve intentionally pushed diabetes awareness month to the back of my mind because I’m always bloody aware of my diabetes. It’s in the fifth trip to the loo, the blood on my desk, the jellybeans in my pencil case and the bags under my eyes. Along with French vocabulary and the plot lines of several Netflix series, it hangs out in my brain, not taking centre stage but always jumping in to whisper “you’re 17.3, get your life together”. Additionally, this year is talking about eye complications – call it denial, but I’m scared of mine, and I don’t like acknowledging it. I’m scared of losing my sight, and continuing to see dialogue about it makes me feel sick. I started off ready to social media the hell out of November, but thanks to reports, final assignments, and a shitty hba1c, I’ve hit a wall.
The social media frenzy during diabetes awareness month also seems to highlight and drive in the impression that everyone is doing better than me with their diabetes. I know this isn’t always the case, but seeing graphs with not a single spike above 8 and raves about particular diets send me spiralling into a vortex of self blame. Why can’t I eat low carb without my brain making me restrict? Why do I find it so hard to keep my BGLs stable? Why can’t I seem to do what everyone else is doing??!?!

This year I’m letting my beautiful D tribe carry diabetes awareness month and diabetes day. This year I want to put my diabetes away and only bring it out when needed. Some may call that selfish, but I call it self care. My diabetes management is challenging due to co-occurring conditions, and my focus this diabetes month is on my diabetes. Let’s be real here – if I’m trying my hardest to focus on turning my management around, am I not doing what diabetes awareness month wants? 
This month I’m gently tapping out – unfortunately I need to get little old me back on top before trying to help others. This November I’m saying no. 


8 thoughts on “Tapping out 

  1. I am a high school teacher too with Type 1 Diabetes.
    Best way to raise awareness is to model champion behaviour, which you do. Keep it up!

  2. Hey there! You know I share the same job but not the same medical condition. Teaching is a tough gig with such periods of intensity. I once had an office job with a ‘pending’ tray where I could leave all the hard stuff until I had the energy to deal with it. No such thing with Type 1 diabetes or teaching! The good thing is, it’s hump week so the summer holidays glitter and sparkle brightly on the horizon! My son is actually talking about becoming a primary teacher. He would be a magic teacher as, just like you, he has compassion and patience in bucketloads. I think both those qualities got stronger with having diabetes. Take care, relax and Netflix to the max (I can recommend Shetland).

    1. Ahhhhh they’re so close! Thanks so much lovely, I always appreciate hearing from you, your insight is fantastic – damn right we can’t put it to the side 🙂 if your son ever wants to chat about teaching and type 1 I’m a tweet away!

  3. I love the story. As a person who worked in schools for years, a 6th-grade teacher told me that when he would have low blood sugar he had kids offer their candy. From then on his classes were allowed to have candy int he classroom. You have to love kids.

    This item has been referred to the TUDiabetes Blog page for the week of November 7, 2016

  4. I’m a teacher’s aide and hate it when I can feel a hypo coming on and trying to focus on the student or group in front of me. Often I’ll have lollies on my desk and will pop a few to get me through to lunch. I’m in Kindy and sometimes it’s too hard to explain to them what I’m doing, so I just say they are my special lollies to make me feel better.

    p.s I’ve just found your blog so will be bookmarking it for later 😉

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