One afternoon whilst in Boston, I left the confines of the Convention Centre so I could attend a DOC event. It was hosted by J&J and the event started with a two hour walking tour of Boston. This was a brilliant idea on so many levels, not least because it meant that I would actually get to see some of beautiful Boston and hear about its rich history.It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon and we all assembled at the Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park and were put into teams.
Boston is really a stunning city. Between the glimmering harbour, stunning architecture and cobble-lined streets, it’s a very pretty city to walk around. (Because, believe me, you don’t want to drive around it. The traffic is bloody horrendous!)
Our walking tour followed part of the Freedom Trail (read about that here). We made four of the sixteen stops on the walk. (Which only means that I now need to return to Boston at some point and do the whole trail!)The organisers had this terrific idea that a tour would give us a chance to really talk and get to know each other. Most of us had already met, which meant that for the most part we could forgo the inane getting-to-know-you chatter and the discussions were frank and open. There was a lot of candid and honest talk because we knew that we were with like-minded souls and that there would be no judgement. This was great given that we were having some pretty difficult conversations following some pretty difficult questions.
So, what do you really hate about your diabetes? was one of the questions. Not necessarily an easy question, but one that I jumped in to answer first. Because actually, for me, it has an easy answer. As much as I write about the crappy hypos, and difficult days with BGL swings resembling some sort of Himalayan mountain range, and the emotional side of diabetes, the thing I hate most about diabetes is never really far from the front of my mind.
I hate that it’s not just MY diabetes. I wish it were. But it’s not. I hate that it is also my family’s and friends’ diabetes. I hate that they know about diabetes and that they have to sometimes be a part of it – taking an active role in helping me. They don’t get a choice. And while they would never say this – and they probably don’t even feel it – I feel like I am a burden. I hate that my diabetes is also my husband’s and daughter’s and mum’s and dad’s and sister’s and in-laws’ and friends’.
I stopped speaking. Some of the others in our group were nodding. I can talk about diabetes a lot without getting too emotional. I can be pragmatic and direct. These are the facts – this is what it’s like. But when I talk about my family, I do get emotional.
I felt my eyes starting to sting and was glad that I had a pair of glasses hiding my tears. Not that it would have mattered had I openly cried. As I said, I was amongst friends and the only response would have been a huge hug. Possibly from this bloke:When the tour was over, we all gathered at a bar overlooking the water, where discussion was considerably lighter. But I have frequently thought back to the afternoon we walked around Boston, stopping at the Old State House and Paul Revere’s House.
Discussions about diabetes can be tough. But when you have kind, generous and understanding people around when having these discussions, it makes things just a little easier.
Thanks to the team at J&J who put on the walking tour and drinks afterwards for members of the DOC.