I was diagnosed Type 1 in 1974 when there was very little known about it in comparison to today. I grew up being told my life would be short and I would likely face complications. People used to tell me they couldn't give themselves a shot and I kept it to myself that shots were the least of it. I came across good doctors and not-so-good doctors who would all tell me that I needed to be a "good diabetic" if I wanted to avoid complications. I avoided going to the doctor and only went in order to get my prescriptions refilled.
My experience with people who are not Type 1 was/is also frustrating. If someone knew I was T1 and saw me eating something with sugar they'd say "You're not supposed to eat that!" I also got the comments of "My uncle/grandmother/aunt died from that..." so keeping a positive attitude was challenging and I felt very isolated in my world, wondering why I couldn't be better. I never allowed myself to complain because I felt lucky to be alive.
Then my current (and amazingly good) doctor told me about BDI and said I should attend some of their meetings. I was put off because I'd gone to many diabetes focused meetings and discovered I was the only "bad diabetic" in the group. A friend encouraged me to attend a BDI lunch so I went and it changed my whole world. I met people who experience exactly the same things and was able to laugh about some of the situations we'd found ourselves in. I learned about Susan Guzman and the path that led her to begin BDI with Bill Polonsky. For people who do not have diabetes, this group really does understand what it means to deal with a chronic and difficult disease day in and day out.
Just knowing I don't have to be perfect in order to have a good life, and using the tools BDI has given me has made a world of difference. I have learned to cope with having diabetes in a much more positive light. I no longer live with fear.
I only wish BDI had been around since I was newly diagnosed. They are not selling hope - they are empowering people like me.
The day Bill Polonsky founded BDI the world for people with diabetes changed for the better. BDI has grown into a global authority on the emotional side of diabetes, something overlooked by most, yet at the heart of making a person with diabetes more likely to be able to make a change in their diabetes management. Seeing the evolution of BDI from its early days (around the time I was diagnosed) to what it is today fills me with pride and hope for the future!