What do my parents and siblings think? After 14 years? Somethings always separated me from them. I am the sick one. In retrospect even before T1D, I was always kind of the "sick one". I had the most chronic health problems (and still do). But Diabetes definitely makes me feel out-of-place now.
Here's the thing, I got diagnosed at 22. I had already lived on my own for a number of years and was in transition from graduating college before jet-setting off to teach English in Taiwan so I was living at home for awhile.
At 22 I still relied on my parents for a lot even though I was fiercely independent and self sufficient. My mum was - and always has been - my rock. But at that time she was a full-time high end business woman (not sure what else to call her) spending hours a day commuting to downtown Toronto. My father was a high school Math teacher with a lot of extra curricular teaching on the side. Both of them had VERY busy lives and weren't home all that much. My sister had already moved out and my younger brother was involved in his own teenage life at that time.
I should preface this next part by saying that although my family is close (including my two siblings), We were never really CLOSE close. Like, we don't talk about feelings and we don't tell each other how much we love one another. We don't really engage in physical things like hugs. We are a close family but we aren't emotional or touchy feely. In fact I'm not even sure the last time I told my mum and dad that I loved them or if I've heard it from them. I do love them and I know they love me but we just don't EXPRESS it.
This has resulted in a persistent state of wonder with me since diagnosis. What do they know about my disease? How do they feel and do they worry? Do they understand the emotional turmoil it has on me? I would assume yes since this blog is public knowledge. Also, they will read this.
I've never had those conversations with any of my immediate family and I'm not sure why. I'm not very private about the diabetes side of me. Look here, it's there in the open for the world to see (and read). I feel so much of it has to do with that not-so-delicate old age of 22 being that I was independent and mostly grown up. My treatment and doctors appointments were attended by me. I don't remember anyone else involved in the choices in insulin, injection doses, doctors and such. It was my choice to go on the pump and subsequently it was my choice to come off it. I've just felt a little bit disconnected from the people who truly know me the best. In all honesty though, I don't really care to talk about it either it was just a curiosity. I feel more like a burden on them than anything else.
Age is a factor. That time in my life is all a bit fuzzy and not just from all the drugs I used to do. I know my mum was there with me the day they pulled me out of the type 2 support group and told me I should be dead. I know she advocated for me in her desperate attempt to research the connection between the Prednizone and the sudden onset type 1. I remember her up all night on the internet (and at that time the internet was in its infancy) trying to find answers and madly searching if she had a case to sue the walk-in doc.
It just sort of all ended there. I love them but I don't know how they've ever felt about having a daughter and sister with such an awful chronic disease. I wish this wasn't a question at all but words about my diabetes have rarely been spoken of. It just feels like diabetes happened to me and life went on without question on the family front. I also know I do a good job at pretending it's not bothering me when really it upsets me MOST of the time. Don't get me wrong, the lack of conversation is probably a good thing. We have more important things to discuss like tattoos and dad's family dinner wine consumption.
That time they all showed up for the JDRF virtual 5km wearing T-shirts hand painted with heartwarming messages. I know they support me.
When a disease alters your entire life, you feel pretty isolated. A disease like diabetes that involves no one else but me makes it hard to see the effects on every one else. I see it on Ryan though, he's got nowhere to run from me, however. Mwahahaha....