I was standing at the basin in the bathrooms of the restaurant that was the location for my cousin’s wedding and spun around to see who was speaking to me. I looked down and saw a little girl – maybe four – pointing at my chest.
I followed the direction of her outstretched finger and noticed that the tubing from my pump was slightly visible over the top of my dress.
‘Oh, that’s just some tubing from a machine I wear that gives me insulin. I have diabetes.’ I looked at the little girl’s mum and smiled, then changed the subject and told the little girl that she looked as though she was having a wonderful time at the party playing with the other kids. She nodded and said yes, then grabbed her mum’s hand and they walked out of the bathroom.
I stood there, looking at myself critically as I tried to tuck the pump line back into my bra. Stubbornly, it kept jumping out until I pulled my pump out and turned it upside down before depositing it roughly back down the top of my dress.
I kept staring at myself and ran my hand across my stomach where I had spied the slight bump from my CGMS sensor. I felt the sensor and turned slightly to the side so I could see just how obvious the lump was.
I’d felt really good when we’d piled into the car in the morning, all dolled up, looking rather lovely. I thought my dress got the ‘fancy frocks’ directive on the invitation just right! But right then, I felt pretty average. I felt uncomfortable. And I wished that I didn’t have robot parts that struggled to remain contained in the beautiful and very fitted dress I was wearing.
Right then and there, my invisible illness didn’t feel invisible at all. In fact, it felt as though I had a huge flashing neon sign above my head announcing to one and all that I had diabetes.
I took a deep breath, made sure my pump was secure and ran my hand over my sensor again, flattening out my dress around it as best I could. I reapplied some bright red lipstick avoiding looking myself in the eye. I turned away, walked out of the bathroom and joined the wedding. It was a beautiful celebration.