I went to a yoga class this weekend at the gym/community center where I work as the coordinator of preventive health programs. The yoga teacher knew me as such, a coordinator of a program for people with diabetes, not as a person with diabetes. With Type 1, I was still under cover, even though my omnipod sticks out in my tight yoga pants and threatened to give me away.
After a few moments of opening meditation and one or two poses, she walked over to my mat and said, “Hi Katie, nice to see you here.” I was surprised she knew my name, but we had met before and we pass each other in the hallway: usually she walking zen-like to class and me in a half-run back and forth to the fax machine. She squatted down next to me as she spoke and asked me if there was anything going on with my body she should know about like past injuries, issues, or any concerns at all. I scanned my internal landscape silently, and then sort of shook my head and shrugged ‘Nope.’ Usually at a studio I will mention to the teacher that I have type 1 and they may see me eating glucose tablets or drinking juice in the middle of class, but at the time I felt pretty stable in my bg and had my tablets handy, so I just went with that everything was just fine. She looked at me as I shook my head no and began to shake her head yes. She replied almost before I had spoke, “Yeah, you’re a pretty healthy lady,” as if to acknowledge her asking was just a formality, that she could see my health in a force field around me. And I felt a wave of gratitude for this part of me, the healthy part, which is always there with me even when diabetes is throwing me for a loop. The part that exits simultaneously with the other parts that throw me into exhaustion, dehydration, and frustration. We are not just a sum of the whole, but we are who we are based on the perspectives we allow in. So I am remembering today that labeling me with a chronic disease is just medical pragmatism, not the only reality. Find what works for you.