We all change. It's inevitable in our lives that as long as we keep living, keep growing older, keep experiencing life and all it has to offer that we will change as human beings. We will always be adding to the lines notched on our door frames.
When things like a diabetes diagnosis happen, the change can be very rapid and not something that we expect. Such life-altering events are going to make us grow as people. I like to think my diabetes helped me grow into a better person. I became stronger. I have passion. I think I changed for the better...except my body obviously didn't, because hey, zombie-pancreas.
I have realised lately, that this is may be too much for people. But I won't apologise. I don't owe anyone an apology for having my life turned upside down and maturing almost overnight because of it. I won't apologise for advocating for MY rights, for the rights of other diabetics, and the rights of anyone else with a medical issue.
I don't know how or why it's too much for people, but I don't consider any of my relationships with other people untouched by my diabetes. Most people have grown with me. But there are some people who don't want to, or can't understand my change. When I was diagnosed I hid my diabetes for a few months. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. Of course now I almost scream it by way of greeting. After 'coming out' as diabetic, I watched my Facebook friend count drop by nearly 20 overnight. I was probably upset about this when it first happened. Now I consider that these people did me a favour. They immediately put up their hands and said 'This is too much for me, I'm out'. And that is fine.
What's not fine, is treating someone differently because of something like diabetes or any other medical condition. I am not okay with people who give me the cold shoulder, who pretend they want to hang out but forever make excuses when before my diagnosis they would happily hang out with no ifs or buts.
If there is something about my diabetes that bothers you, tell me. Ask me about it. I would rather have you explain that you don't feel comfortable with the possibility of dealing with hypo-me or you don't like to look at blood. I can explain to you that hypos these days are very rare, and I have never required emergency assistance. I can tell you when I'm going to check my BGL so you can avert your gaze to the mystical happy-thoughts unicorn over in the distance. Or we can agree that you're just not ready yet and part ways amicably, and maybe one day when the head space is better we can reconnect. Most 60 year olds have amassed a few medical issues, right? We can bond then.
Just don't pretend to be my friend if you can't actually be one. If complete internet randoms are doing better than someone I thought I was close to, then you're doing friendship wrong.
In a way, I find the relationships that I have started after being diagnosed the easiest to be in. People who have only ever known me as diabetic fully accept that it is a part of me. They don't change the topic when I bring diabetes up. And yes, I do talk about my diabetes. I am trying very very hard to keep this to a minimum, but my diabetes is with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the rest of my life. It plays a part in everything I do, so yes, I might bring it up sometimes. Asking me never to mention it is almost the same as asking a parent never to speak of their children - you know, those miniature adults who hang around ALL the time? Yep, diabetes doesn't leave me alone either. Similarly to a small child, it also requires regular feeding and frequent middle of the night wake-ups.
So to those of you who stuck by me, and realised that we could still have a good relationship, thank you. To those of you haven't quite gotten there but are trying hard to understand the newer me fresh-out-of-the-box with broken pancreas, thank you. To those new people in my life who don't bat an eyelid when the nasty 'D' word is mentioned, thank you.