Hey! You look just like me!

A number of times, I’ve read blog posts from people who have seen someone wearing an insulin pump in public. In many of those instances, the writer can’t quite bring themselves to say something to the person wearing the pump. And I never understood why, until it happened to me too this past weekend.

I got up early Saturday morning to help my best friend get things set up for a flea market his group was sponsoring. It turned out they didn’t really need my help at all, so after 45 minutes or so I stated the obvious: “You don’t really need me now… I’m going to go home. I’ll call you later to see if you need me to help break things down when it’s over”.

I said my goodbyes, and as I walked out and toward my truck, I saw a guy, about my age, with exactly the same pump, in the same color, that I wear.

I stopped in my tracks as he walked by. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, yeah, nearly 30 million people in America live with diabetes. But I thought I was the only one in Baltimore. Okay, I knew I wasn’t the only one here, but sometimes it seems like it. Anyway, I thought hey, this is a perfect opportunity to meet someone else from the pancreatically-challenged part of the population. I should run and grab this guy by the arm and have a long conversation with him!

But before I could catch up with him, I noticed something else. He was enjoying himself. He was enjoying his day. I watched him from a distance, for about five minutes or so, and I realized this is the life that we had hoped for when insulin pumps were brought to market for the first time. Heck, this is what we want when artificial pancreas systems make their way to the market.

We just want to live our otherwise normal lives, in a normal fashion, just like people without diabetes do. Somehow, watching this fella enjoy the flea market, I was able to enjoy knowing he felt like the rest of the people around him.

In this case, I could really appreciate the fact that Diabetes Man, living his life, doing the same things as everyone else around him, was more important to me than getting to talk with someone locally who lives with diabetes 24/7 like I do.

It was a good indication that I need to remember to be grateful for the amazing advancements that have already made our lives better, even while we advocate for even better advancements for the future. As I headed home, my full heart and my big smile were indications that diabetes can and will be lived bigger and better every day by myself and Diabetes Man at the flea market. Nothing will stop us from enjoying life to its fullest.

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  • Rachel Hils  On September 15, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Great Blog post today! Great perspective for a Monday! Cheers!


  • Mike Hoskins (@MHoskins2179)  On September 15, 2014 at 10:55 am

    What a great post, Stephen! Absolutely love this story. It’s so strange, running into someone… we so want to connect, but it can be awkward if that person isn’t in the same frame of mind and interested in connecting. I’ve been in that position myself, where someone once asked me “Hey, is that an insulin pump?!” while on the golf course, and I just responded with “Yes, it is.” and moved on. At that point, I wanted to just enjoy my golf came and not be reminded of my diabetes. Looking back, I do regret that. But at the same time, you’re point is spot on — sometimes we just want to live our lives without D coming up at all. Thanks for sharing this.


  • Laddie  On September 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    On one hand it is great to see pumps in the wild. On the other it’s unfortunate that so many people have diabetes and need them….

    Liked by 1 person

  • Scott E  On September 15, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Living life and enjoying his day… why not? That’s the way it should be. I hope you got to enjoy your day as much as he enjoyed his.


  • Karen  On September 23, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Great point for letting a pump just quietly pass you by. I too saw a random pump pass by recently and didn’t say anything – but mostly out of shyness. And also, like you, I didn’t expect to see another pump, and in my case I felt quite caught off guard. I’ve regretted not pulling out my pump and saying hi but your post definitely helps me regret it a lot less!!


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