Welcome to Ask Me About My Type 1!
My name is Walt Drennan and this is my podcast. I was diagnosed with my Type 1 Diabetes back in June of 2000 but it wasn’t until the past few years that I really started accepting my condition. It took a 4,000-mile bike ride across the United States for me to come to terms with my Type 1 and accept it as something that is just part of me. You know as one does during those kinds of things.
Some of you might recognize me from Bike Beyond, the 4,280-mile bike ride from New York City to San Francisco that a team made up entirely 20 people from around the world living with Type 1 Diabetes. We rode for 70 days straight, met hundreds of Type 1s all over the country, and raised a whole bunch of money for Beyond Type 1 and their Type 1 education, advocacy, and cure-research programs. Now I had actually done two similar rides like this before but THIS ride was different. This time I wasn’t the only Type 1 on the team. And it made a world of difference.
I didn’t have to feel self-conscious about changing my pump in the middle of a crowded restaurant in Ohio, or embarrassed for having to get off my bike because of an urgent low in Kansas, or weird for licking my finger after a blood check instead of wiping it off. This team got it. These people understood. It was also so much easier to explain to others what Type 1 was all about. Whenever people would ask us what we were riding for there were 19 other people there to talk about Type 1 with me. Type 1 Diabetes is so complicated! And nuance! And specific but also vague! It was nice to finally have people to share the proverbial load with for a change.
I was finally normal and for once it was actually because of my Type 1; not in spite of it.
But eventually, the ride came to an end. Once I was back home in my real life, and no longer surrounded by my Type 1 team, the old weight of my condition started pressed on my shoulders again. It was so much harder talking about Type 1 particularly around those you didn’t live with it too. Which in terms of an advocacy strategy is about counterproductive as it sounds. It would be SO much easier if people just got it but if I don’t tell them how can they? A true dilemma if ever there was one.
And that’s what Ask Me About My Type 1 is for me! It’s a way to lighten the load of Type 1 while I live out here in the Non-Type 1 world. It lets me advocate from the comfort of a recording room in an old warehouse above a microbrewery and a CrossFit gym. In addition to the millions of extra millennial points I just got for writing that previous sentence, I get to meet other Type 1s and help them teach their Non-Type 1 friends all about what it is we go through. I also get to hear about how others Type 1 differently than I do which is just another great way myself that this condition doesn’t have to define me.
It’s like a win win win win win!
Check out the Episodes page and listen in. You can tell me what you think on the Contact page.
And remember if you never ask you’ll never know.