I am finishing up a medical terminology online course right now and I did something I am not sure I am comfortable with.
I shared that I was type one diabetic.
Is that weird that I felt REALLY uncomfortable typing that in one of the discussions? I feared what they would think. That they would automatically assume my reaction to the "Why would a 14 year old with T1 skip their injections?" discussion was biased (okay it may have been, but really who knows better than one who has lived with it??). And I avoided sharing that I have T1 diabetes as long as possible for the same reason, that my views would be discredited because I live with a chronic condition and therefore am to close to see the situation clearly. Which led me to ask, "Am I?"
I do a lot of things and believe a lot of things because I have type one diabetes. I support stem cell research (in general, conducted in a moral way) because I want the chance to find a cure. I am more conscientious of what I eat because of what the food can do to my blood sugar. I am intensely interested in endocrinology because of diabetes. I have a profound respect for doctors and nurses. I empathize with kids diagnosed with any condition. And these last four things are where things get fuzzy, is that because of me or because of the me I am due to diabetes. They are so hard to separate!
So when it comes to health care and opinions, I ask and worry, "Am I too close to my own disease to be able to work in the field?" Which then leads to the question, "How do I ensure my diabetes isn't what is seen instead of myself?"
Its very different sharing my disease with someone sitting across from me than sharing it with an unknown class of "someones". Even face to face there are so many misconceptions about diabetes. I know I just need to breathe, relax and realize that in the end its OK I shared my disease with the students in the course. Not everyone imposes judgements, and in fact, most of these students are going into nursing for the very same reasons I am, to make a difference, to help others.
I still feel exposed. I guess that's something I will have to become more comfortable with, sharing this with peers in or going into health care. Slowly, one breath at a time.