The Diabetes Liar

I have been the biggest diabetes liar and I need to come clean. The first time I lied about having diabetes is when I erased the word "diabetic" that was written under my name in pencil on the class seating chart in junior high. I then threatened to beat up the nosy kid who had noticed the term "diabetic" on the seating chart and felt compelled to tell the whole school. In hindsight, I should have also threatened the genius teacher who thought it was a good idea to give kids labels other than our names!

In high school, I didn't inform my basketball coach that I have diabetes and begged my mom to not tell him. I've hid my diabetes from employers because I was afraid they would not hire me. Countless times I've flat out lied to people when they've asked me "do you have diabetes?" I've intentionally ordered a regular soda in front of friends so they wouldn't ask questions about my uncool choice of diet soda. And, I've sat with a high blood sugar for hours on a first date instead of revealing that I have diabetes (which was also really bad for my bladder!) Okay, this is a good start!

Lying about my diabetes was so common in my life that I actually started to believe many of the lies myself, such as when I told a girlfriend "my doctor said I do not need to check my blood sugar because I'm in such good control." The lies just kept coming and there was no end in sight.

This imaginary life that I was living was exactly what I wanted; to be "normal" just like everyone else. Making others think that I am "normal" meant that I no longer felt embarrassed and insecure about all of the blood and needles. I could be an in-between the lines guy and no one would spot me.

For a long time no one spotted me and I was happy. I was what Seth Godin calls a "wandering generality, instead of a meaningful specific." I just blended in with the pack. At the same time, I was getting an "itch" to do something important with my life and had no idea what to do.

After a lot of searching, I came across an opportunity that sounded exciting. And, instead of lying, I listed "type 1 diabetes" in the "skills" section on an application for a position with the American Diabetes Association. I did not get the first job that I applied for, but I did get the second. And, I've found the important work that I am supposed to be doing in my life; helping others view diabetes as their advantage which can only happen when you are honest and allow it to be a motivating force in your life.

And, my lying about diabetes has completely changed! Now, the only time I lie about my diabetes is when I go to the doctor and tell her that the A1c machine is reading a bit high because my blood sugars have been much better than that! Alright, one last lie that I may, or may not have used in the past week is telling my wife that my blood sugar is low when she asked for help folding the laundry. That's it, I'm done!