When you are a person with diabetes - particularly one who talks like an AK47, mostly about diabetes - it's pretty normal to run into a few questions here and there:
'How do you control it?' 'When were you diagnosed?' Or, everyone's personal favourite, 'Are you allowed that?' Most of us in the diabetic community, online or otherwise, have the answers which have stood the test of time in a special 'diabetic FAQ' file in our heads.
"I use an insulin pump". "25 years ago when I was four." and "Yes I freakin' well am!"
But this weekend was different. As I boarded my train to the Input Insulin Pump roadshow, my best friend called me.
"Anna, what do I do if a friend who stayed at my house last night just told me they are diabetic, but don't have their testing kit or insulin?"
As I unravelled the story and discovered that despite my friends attempts to get to a pharmacy to buy some hypodermics, some insulin and a testing kit, her sofa-surfing stowaway was protesting that he was 'just fine'. Of course, having been without any insulin for about 16 hours, and having been drinking the night before the chances he really was fine, were slim.
"He reminds me of you when you were 17."
Of course, I never skipped insulin and I would always tell people I was diabetic, but despite my initial shrugging off that we were anything alike, a flood of feelings came rolling in that left me thinking about this guy, how he felt and why he didn't tell my friend about his condition.
I hated diabetes too. I didnt want to be different, either.
Maybe we were alike. Maybe I was like that.
It's very easy to shake heads and wag fingers at people who do this kind of stuff. How can they? Why would they? But it left me thinking about my own journey. From somewhere on that wavelength, where blood tests were a pain in the backside and injecting was something that separated me from others - a burden, a punishment - to a place where insulin pumps bring us together and our story is something to share; something that unites us.
My friend knows that just as soon as he is ready, she can give him my number. I will always talk. I will always listen. And when everyone is wagging their finger and playing the blame game, I will remind them that I too walked that path; mine was littered with fear, contempt, anger and isolation.
My pump, and the subsequent introduction to a diabetic community millions strong, brought about my eventual acceptance of the life I would lead and heartfelt gratitude for what you all would bring me.
I hope he too finds that way. Be it now, or tomorrow.
It is never too late.