Editor’s Note: Kerri Sparling is our featured blogger for March. We love the frank and hopeful way she chronicles her experiences living with type 1 diabetes at SixUntilMe.com. This is the second in a series of guest posts for Whole Living.
I wear it draped around me like an invisible cloak, one you can't see until I show you the sharp edges. This disease, this type 1 diabetes that you can't see or smell or taste unless I bring you in. It's my hidden disease, my quiet battle.
Look at me and you'll see my father's eyes. My mother's smile. You might see that my jeans are hemmed because I'm slightly on the shorter side, or that my purse has a few little bite marks in the strap from where Siah nibbled on it as a kitten.
But look closer and you'll find my insulin pump, tucked into a pocket or resting in my sock. My fingertips, dotted brown from testing my blood sugar. My thighs, dotted red from past insulin pump infusion sets. My stomach, dotted red and smudged from Dexcom's patch. A pattern of stinging stars on my body, left by diabetes.
Listen to me and you'll hear my loud laugh. You'll hear my off-color jokes and my foolish attempts at puns. You'll hear me talking fast. Or maybe you'll hear my music, either coming from my desk or my home or my car. You'll hear me talking about my husband, or my family, or my cats, or my much-loved daughter. You'll hear my passion, my ideas, my voice.
But listen closer still and you'll hear the quiet beeping of my insulin pump, the gentle shunk of the lancet as it pierces my skin, the sound of the meter bag being re-zipped. And if I let you in, you'll hear the veiled tone of uncertainty when I speak about my future.
Its presence is folded into everything I do. My wedding dress was fitted to my form, but also to my insulin pump. A night out with my friends includes laughter, a few drinks, and someone gently asking, "Have you tested?" A kiss is interrupted by "you taste ... high." It explains so much of why I worry and why I work so hard.
I have lived with type 1 diabetes for over 25 years, and my future holds decades with this disease. Diabetes is every day, and there is no cure. But just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there. Those of us who live every day with diabetes feel it every day, physically, emotionally, and financially. Type 1 diabetes deserves the attention of the nation and the promise of a cure.
Let people know that diabetes is not invisible - we see how it touches every day of our lives, and the lives of our loved ones.
We deserve to be heard. We deserve to be cured.