The Marks It Leaves Behind

Not related to this post- I recently created a facebook page for my blog. (It’d be awesome if you liked the page and invited/shared it with people to as well!) 

We live in a world with pressure to fit in. The pressure to abide by beauty standards and social norms set by certain groups.

When truth be told, it’s already hard to fit those norms- adding anything (like diabetes) makes it even harder. I tell myself I don’t care to abide by social constructs or don’t want to fit in, but that doesn’t mean those standards don’t impact me in a way. Or remind me that I have a chronic illness.

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I would never say I’ve constantly been self-conscious about the marks that Diabetes leaves behind. I’m definitely aware of them consistently. But being self-conscious comes in waves. For me it’s not about the actual devices or the medical ID…

It’s about what Diabetes leaves behind. The gentle (or not so gentle or annoying or upsetting) reminder that brings you back to reality that you live with a 24/7 chronic illness.

I remember a time when I was very self-conscious about the feeling of my finger tips and “the little black dots” that fingers sticks left behind in my pre-teen to mid-teen years. Adding to the toughness and the need to move it to next level of strength as times went on. I went through a phase of getting hot wax on my hands and exfoliating the tips so that the “dots” weren’t as prominent and the tips didn’t feel so hard and rough. I also hesitated to check as often because I didn’t want to add to it. This feeling eventually faded away (for the most part). Especially when I reached the realization in high school that I was leaving and didn’t care what anyone thought anymore. I also realized- I can’t keep up with this. Checking your blood sugar 5-10 times per day for x amount of years leaves some marks.

More recently, I have become self-conscious by the marks that the CGM leaves behind. And I have realized the longer I leave it in, the more prominent the mark is. It eventually fades, but not before another one comes to take its place. But there’s also this giant patch of tape to make my CGM stay on which dries out my skin and takes several days to return it to its normal state.  And the return I get for a longer CGM and spending less money is worth it for the mark- but that doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention.

This also led me to pay attention to the marks that pumpsites leave behind. That leaves areas freckled before I rotate to the next spot.

And I can also see remnants of allergic reactions on my stomach. And can feel the scar tissue on my legs and hips from favoring those spots for pumpsites growing up (they have a point when they say to rotate). You can feel the tough layer underneath. But you can also feel the roughness of the skin. And a reminder that I made it through the teen years (and through the teen years with diabetes).

And no matter what healthcare or beauty regimen you take, getting the marks to go away is difficult/takes time and preventing them from happening 100% of the time is not possible.

and we wonder why (and even judge) why some people might not want to be attached to medical devices… and even why some people decide to be as discrete as possible… and we rarely factor this into everything going on in the teen years…

I have moments of waves of being self-conscious of the marks diabetes leaves behind. It ranges from wishing I had rotated better to wishing the marks and reminders would fade to wondering what people think when they notice them and finally to wishing that diabetes was not a part of my life.

But more than anything the marks are a reminder. Even those precious moments where you are device free or you might even forget for a moment what you have, you can see and feel the marks that remind you- you do in fact have T1D.

Wounds heal, but not all scars fade. (but not all scars are visible). 

But the marks, the scars even, serve as a reminder-

A reminder of the strength that comes with managing this disease 24/7.

A reminder how far technology has come.

A reminder that there are good and bad days. 

A reminder that it’s just data.

A reminder that if (well probably when) complications come my way, it doesn’t devalue me or take away my effort. It doesn’t stop me from living life. 

A reminder that I made it through the teen and college years.

A reminder that I can’t be perfect.

A reminder that no matter what’s to come, I can get through it.

A reminder that I am more than diabetes.

A reminder that there are people who “get it.”

A reminder that I’m the one living with Diabetes even though I know it impacts others in my life.

A reminder that the person judging me or the healthcare provider being critical, doesn’t really know me. 

A reminder that there’s a story behind those marks.

A reminder that I’m human, a person first, with emotions and a journey to travel.

 

Diabetes is technically an invisible illness- disability- that is made more visible with taking care of it in public. Wearing a medical device or ID bracelet.

But also by the marks it leaves behind. No one can dispute a visible mark. No one can say that Diabetes is nothing or that you’re faking it- when you have proof on your skin.

and I feel like this doesn’t just apply to Diabetes. Many things leave marks behind- and not even necessarily from a disability. Marks come from many other aspects of life and serve as reminders.

The marks it leaves behind- are another part of Diabetes- the good, the bad, and a reminder. Maybe consistently or just on occasion.

 

Not related to this post- I recently created a facebook page for my blog. (It’d be awesome if you liked the page and invited/shared it with people to as well!) 

 

Hey you! Yes, you! 

Let’s connect on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (maybe even 2 or all of those!). 

If you enjoyed this post, please comment and share. I’d also appreciate your feedback.

and of course-don’t forget to keep up with “There’s More to the Story” via email! (Right sidebar towards the top).

We’ll both be glad you did! -Mindy

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2 thoughts on “The Marks It Leaves Behind

  1. Pingback: But you always have hope | There's More to the Story: LIFE, Diabetes, and Mental Health

  2. Pingback: Loving Your Body When You Have a Chronic Illness (Part 2) | There's More to the Story: LIFE, Diabetes, and Mental Health

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