Unleashing Your Diabetes Super Powers

Kelly Kunik is a blogger and advocate from the U.S. who writes about her life with diabetes on http://diabetesaliciousness.blogspot.com. Describing herself as a “Diabetes Humorist” Kelly uses her comedic lens to describe her experiences and is passionately spreading the word about living a great life with diabetes. Kelly is active on Twitter (@diabetesalish), Facebook (@diabetesaliciousness), and Instagram (@diabetesalish). 

The opinions presented in this blog post are those of the author and may not represent the opinions of Ascensia Diabetes Care. Ascensia have paid Kelly an honorarium for her services as a contributor to this blog.

Living with diabetes is 24X7, 365 days a year with no time off for vacations or good behavior. It’s full time job that none of us asked for, or are unable to resign or retire from. Diabetes is hard work that never ends and we do our best. 

All of the above is true.

But you know what else is true? People with diabetes develop remarkable super powers. 

Super powers that we don’t even realize we possess - until one day we do.

Membership Has Its Privileges

A diabetes diagnosis immediately grants us membership to a community of others who “get it,” are fluent in the language of diabetes and in multiple diabetes dialects.

The Diabetes Online Community helps each of us to navigate our diabetes - and before we know it, we are helping other PWDs to do the same. And that is what the DOC is about. Peer support.

Our Sense of Humor Is Seriously Twisted

Living with diabetes makes for some interesting situations.

There are moments when we have to laugh in the face of diabetes BS or else we’d cry.

Also: Sometimes diabetes is funny.

Ask a person with diabetes what happens when they declare “I’m high” more loudly than they meant to…in a crowded room…while talking about their blood sugar.

Let’s talk diabetes wardrobe malfunctions and faux pas that make us LOL while we turn beet red.

PWDs are the masters of self-deprecating humor.

And don’t get me started on the diabetes IRL jokes - there are thousands - the ones that immediately come to mind are not NSFW.

Would people with diabetes have humor that is so richly developed, razor sharp, naughty/bordering on the disgusting, and leaning towards the macabre if we didn’t have diabetes?

IMO: Nope.

Embrace & Honing Our Inner Diabetes MacGyver With A Vengeance

Living a life with diabetes means continually refining and developing our Diabetes MacGyver skills, that allow us to roll with the diabetes punches using whatever tools we have on hand.

For example, did you know that most test-strip canister lids can be used to unscrew the battery compartments of Medtronic pumps? Now you do!

Wickedly quick, deductive reasoning skills a’ la Diabetes MacGyver enable us to create an expedient plan of action in order to solve D-tech difficulties that almost always occur at the most inopportune of times.

For Instance: Forget to bring backup diabetes insulin pump batteries while on a work trip and don’t realize your mistake until you’re just about to go to bed?

A PWD immediately assesses their surroundings and will zero in on the television remote sitting on the nightstand.

FTR: Most television remotes use triple AAA batteries - as do Omnipod and Medtronic pumps.

At this point the PWD has two options:

  1. Switch out batteries in the remote and the pump
  2. Call the front desk, tell them that that the TV remote in your room needs new batteries/or be honest and tell them your insulin pump is about to tank and you need AAA batteries, ASAP. The Front Desk will immediately call/connect you to Hotel Engineering and Maintenance. A box of AAA batteries will be delivered to your room within minutes.

Sidebar: The above can be applied if you’re watching the big game at the local pub and your pump’s Low Battery Alarm goes off. Instead of calling the front desk, you ask to speak to the Manager and have a quick chat re: the flat screen remote, batteries and your insulin pump.

PWDs have sonar like radar when it comes to immediately locating snacks in unfamiliar locations.

We possess Houdini like abilities re: tangling/untangling pump tubing and checking our blood glucose on the sly. 

Our long hidden (and often unknown) contortionist abilities surface out of the blue, when we are suddenly required to remove/reconnect pump tubing to an infusion site situated on a precarious location on our person - while sitting on a public beach/pool or lake, and in full view of friends, family, and strangers.

Speaking of sites, a large number of PWDs are somehow able to cross the time and space continuum when it comes to changing out their diabetes robot parts - as in infusion, pod, or sensor sites in lightning fast time.

Speaking of PWD and robot D parts: OpenAPS.Org

Magic Diabetes Math Skills

PWDs are pros at dividing by 12 or 15 to calculate carb ratios.

PWDs outside the US are experts at calculating blood glucose via dividing by 18.

On a global level, PWDs expertly calculate blood sugar, carbs, fiber, and fat counts, to contrive and calculate uncanny SWAG (Scientific and Wildly Amazing Guess) calculations when they encounter never before tried meals and need to work out carb guesstimations.

All of the above occurs seamlessly and on a savant like level while the PWD is simultaneously holding conversations with others about completely different subjects having nothing to do with diabetes.

Some PWDs are able to correctly guess the carbs for a cupcake based on both the cupcake circumference and icing thickness on said cupcake. #TrueStory

Diabetes Turns Our Voices Into Powerful Instruments For Change

Diabetes demands that we speak up for ourselves and others - even when it’s the last thing we feel like doing.  Because of diabetes, our voices have become powerful instruments of  change. We speak up and speak out to protect ourselves and others-and nobody can stop us!

With great power comes great responsibility. When necessary, we are able flip our internal , shutdown diabetes myths whenever they presents themselves.

Empathy Skills Dialed Up To 11

People with diabetes know what it's like to have a bad day, understand the stress of diabetes challenges thrown in our path when least expected, and have a clear grasp of the fear of not fitting in.

Sometimes it’s hard for people with diabetes to ask for help… but PWDs are always the first ones to offer a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on.

Yep, people with diabetes have more empathy than most and that is a wonderful thing.

Stunning And Smart

99% of the time, the best looking, most intelligent, and fantastically awesome people in the room are people with diabetes BECAUSE SCIENCE.

We Get Back Up

There are times when diabetes causes us to stumble and fall repeatedly, until it feels easier to stay down. It’s in those moments that we take a beat and ask for help from others until we regain our balance. Then we stand up, get our bearings straight and forge ahead.

Because people with diabetes are resilient and getting back up is half battle.