Every November the American Diabetes Association sponsors a diabetes awareness campaign as part of its efforts to attract our nation's attention to the condition and to the tens of millions of people affected by it. What does diabetes awareness mean to you? As a diabetic, do you advocate for the disease or participate in fundraising events such as the JDRF One Walk? As a friend or family member of a diabetic, does diabetes awareness mean that you donate to the cause? Or does it simply mean that you try to understand what your loved one is going through and maybe you keep an extra granola bar in your car in case of an unexpected low? Maybe, like for my siblings when we were growing up, diabetes awareness means that when your diabetic gets low, you get to eat a treat, too :)
My definition of diabetes awareness has evolved over time. For a while, I strived for the opposite of awareness. I sprinted through low blood sugars alongside my teammates just so no one would have to see me stop and eat a snack. I ate whatever my friends were having and just guessed at carb counts because I didn't want to be labeled as "that girl with the sugar problems." Awareness about my diabetes was uncomfortable.
Fortunately, I have come to realize that while being open and honest with myself and others might be difficult at times, being in denial about my health is much more uncomfortable than choosing something else on the menu or answering well-intended inquiries about my insulin pump. I've even learned how beneficial it can be to share my inevitable diabetes frustrations with my friends and family.
But there is another element of diabetes awareness that is really important: wearing a medical ID. Maybe you already wear one... I know I don't. In the first couple of years after my diagnosis, I got to wear this gem:
This necklace didn't weigh all that much, but in putting it around my neck, I felt the heaviness of diabetes on my being. This was a label that sparked those feelings of discomfort around bringing awareness to my condition. Fortunately, these days there are MUCH better options for medical IDs, which is really exciting because wearing a medical ID is important. You never know when an accident might happen and that information is critical for emergency responders and medical professionals.
I want to introduce you to two medical ID creators who make beautiful jewelry that also helps keep diabetics safe. Lauren's Hope Medical ID designs a wide variety of bracelets and necklaces to match any style. Check out the website and follow Lauren's Hope on Instagram @laurenshopeid.
Jillian (@t1dchick on Instagram) makes these adorable charm bracelets. You can message her on Instagram to place an order.
I love all of these medical IDs because they serve the purpose of bringing awareness to our diabetes without labeling us as having a problem. This fun and fashionable jewelry is also a great reminder for us that diabetes as an accessory to who we are, not the main statement.
Do you wear a medical ID? Show me your style on Instagram using #bloodsugarsweatandtears. And don't forget to participate in American Diabetes Month using #thisisdiabetes.