From time to time, I’ve alluded to the fact that there’s been a somewhat tenuous relationship between my work and my diabetes over the years. In the early years of living with this disease, there weren’t really any issues. If diabetes got in the way at all, it was due to my A1Cs being high more than anything else. I might have been a little more sluggish during those times, but I was still able to function at a pretty high level.
Since those first few years, I’ve had an on and off, good and bad relationship between work and diabetes. At times, things were difficult. Tensions were occasionally strained.
So, what’s my point? Where am I going with all of this?
Over the weekend, I celebrated my 15 year anniversary at the company where I work. I thought about it a little in the last month or so. Whenever someone hits a milestone anniversary, the department gets together and does a thank you, gives a plaque, and then you go back to work. That’s great, but five minutes of feel-good doesn’t always wash away things that bother you for five years or more.
The good news is that in the last couple years, things have seemed to thaw a bit in this relationship. I don’t know exactly when things changed, although I think I know, and at any rate, I’m glad they’ve changed. I’d like to think that I’m a bit less sensitive these days too, and that helps.
Still, I felt a little… nervous about reaching this milestone at work. Kind of like some old demons were left that I couldn’t get rid of. So how do I take this thing that feels so uncomfortable, and turn it into something that feels good? The thought gnawed at me for a few weeks.
Then it hit me. Blue Fridays. Since my anniversary was on a Sunday, I would ask everyone to wear blue on the Friday before. I would also ask them to make a donation to the Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation. You know… the organization behind the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy website, the DSMA Live and DSMA en Vivo podcasts, and the weekly #DSMA Twitter chat. I took the idea to my bosses, and they were all for it. Instantly. So I sent an e-mail to my colleagues in Baltimore, New York, and Connecticut, and marked it on my calendar.
When I got into work, and later as I watched people arrive, I would look around and see a sea of blue. To think that my co-workers would care enough to do this for me… it almost made me break down and cry. A co-worker shared with me that they were recently diagnosed with Type 2, and they were appreciative of an effort to elicit support for those who have to live with diabetes. That almost made me cry. Not everyone who donated online told me how much they contributed. But what I know of the contributions puts the total dollar amount into the hundreds.
That’s my work anniversary and Blue Fridays story. I never really thought about what marrying these two ideas would really mean. It went beyond what I could have imagined. I’m so glad we were able to do this. And I’m so grateful for the people I work with, who made my cause their cause for a day. Today, I feel really lucky to be part of their team.