Down a narrow laneway in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is a shoe shop. Obviously, this was on my must-visit list whilst in the city. So with a spare couple of hours after a morning of meetings at the EASD conference, we set off to find it.

After wandering down winding alleyways, making pitstops for tapas and sangria, we found what we were looking for. The shop is tiny with racks of shoes lining the walls. Handbags swing from rails and there are shoes, shoes, shoes everywhere.

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The catch is that they only come in one style. Every shoe is a beautifully constructed ballet slipper. But they come in each and every colour and colour combination you can imagine. The shelves look like rainbows with literally thousands of versions of the shoes in a variety of textures, materials and colours. They came in bright and muted colours, glittery, quilted, pony skin, two tone and polka dots.

One shoe; endless colours. As I stood in the middle of this gorgeous jewel of a store in Barcelona, I knew I’d found the perfect analogy.

We may all have a condition called diabetes, but each and every one of us has it in our own special way. While saying ‘I have diabetes’ connects me to a community made up of people from all over the world, my particular brand of diabetes is different to that of everyone else.

I left the store with a couple of pairs of shoes and a handbag. I walked away but turned to catch one last look. And then I realised. I could have bought dozens of different pairs. I loved them all. I wanted them all. They were beautiful, fun, whimsical. Unlike my diabetes.

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For the record – if my diabetes was a pair of these shoes, it would be the bright pink glittery pair I didn’t buy, but couldn’t tear my eyes away from.

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