There were about 25 women in the small crowded room. Looking at each one of them, I could tell they all had stories, stories they wanted to tell. A teenage girl who just went on a pump said she was so relieved and happy to part of the diabetes gold standard of technology. The girl’s mother, a type 2, Latino woman cautiously tiptoeing her way through what it takes to understand diabetes, sat with her. They held hands. They were a team. One woman sat with brow knitted, and talked about the scientific exactness of diabetes management finding it very difficult to break out of the carb/insulin ratio mode to allow some freedom in to make way for a broader relationship with her diabetes. Another became very emotional when she told the group that she had just returned from a trip, in fact a cruise. It was her first venture of traveling with the type 1 diabetes she has lived with for 51 years. She now has confidence to let go of her anxieties and fear of things going wrong. She was so happy to have accomplished this that she realized her life would be different now, freer and more joyful.
We were at Max’s Divabetic meeting (www.divabetic.org) at the McBurney Y in New York City that night. I taught a tai chi class to the gals and instead of leaving to meet someone for dinner I stayed and sat in the circle of women as they passed a bright pink “boa” from woman to woman telling their stories. The next gal struck a pose and told us she is training for her first triathlon. One young, beautiful type 1dancer reported that she finally received confirmation that the diabetes education program she has been fighting for in elementary schools will go into effect this month in 300 schools in NYC. And yet another remarkable woman smiled radiantly as she declared that today was her first day on a pump. She has had diabetes for 55 years!
Diabetes can be a strong common bond and it can draw a line of differences. That evening I learned that we, as women with diabetes, walk under the same umbrella, but move in different rhythms and struts and diabetes management is easier to figure out when we are shown what others do. By communicating and listening we learn more about ourselves. I felt a great sense of camaraderie with these women I had never seen before, never knew and now I was one of them, part of the sisterhood of diabetes where we talk and listen and learn and speak up and laugh and look forward to another time when those who were a little off kilter are on firmer ground and that everyone had come a few steps closer to making dreams come true.
Food is something that can make us feel very good as well as being good for us. Nutritious, vital, sustainable food nourishes both body and mind. If that isn’t enough to make us happy, a good balanced meal will help keep blood sugars smooth and normal. The harvest vegetable patch parades its yellows and oranges before us these days to take advantage of victory garden vegetables and fruits. Let’s see what we can do with these over at Cyber Kitchen.