This past weekend was my ten-year high school reunion in Columbus, Ohio. It’s 2:45 A.M. PST and I just got home from the airport, so I don’t know that my reflections will be as eloquent as they might be after several hours of sleep, but here I am. It was a wonderful, wonderful weekend. I was not surprised to see all of my classmates looking healthy and happy and truly thriving, despite all kinds of setbacks life laid before them. I was reunited with dear friends I haven’t seen for years and I had the privilege of hearing the details of their daily lives. Food, drinks, conversation, and karaoke: the makings of a successful high school reunion.
As I flew home last week, I tried to prepare myself for how the weekend might go. I knew everyone would ask about where I was, what I was doing, how I was living my life, etc. I knew, too, that intertwined in each of those stories was my diagnosis story. We had 127 people in our graduating class and, while I knew that not all of our classmates would be in attendance, I knew I would be telling my story a few times over the weekend. As I’ve mentioned previously, the storytelling can be quite exhausting. I thought about how I wanted to word things and I wondered how many people would even know what Type I is. I didn’t know if I wanted to explain the study or just leave it with my diagnosis or even discuss diabetes at all. I care about my classmates and I trust them, but I didn’t know if it would weigh on me to rehash the life changes that have been forced on me over the last year.
If I don’t tell my honest story, though, who will? My diabetes diagnosis is a huge part of my life and has very much defined my life–especially in this past year–and it is now part of my life story. Besides, if I weren’t talking about diabetes, I suppose I’d just be talking about something much less exciting. So, I went for it. Open book.
And people, of course, were very receptive. Many had already read various posts on my blog and others had heard through the grapevine. For people who had no idea, it was an opportunity to do some diabetes education and also to be honest about the significant challenges that diabetes has already presented to me. For people who asked, I dove into the details of my clinical trial and what the research is attempting to prove. Just like when I am telling my story to a new acquaintance here in Seattle, I gauged the person’s interest and proceeded with the appropriate level of explanation. And, just like every other time I talk about my diabetes, I almost always end the conversation with, “So, we’ll see.”
We’ll see how this clinical trial ends up, we’ll see how my diabetes will change over the years, we’ll see where life takes me. For now, to bed.