Most people have never heard of Type 3 diabetes because it isnâ€™t really diabetes. Itâ€™s a term for those closest to T1 diabetics, parents, a spouse or someone else who is in a daily relationship with someone who has T1 diabetes. They know just as much about the disease and the daily life of living it as the diabetic. So we say they have T3.
Now you may not be a T3 diabetic but there are many ways you can help and support a T1 diabetic in your life. Some diabetics love to feel supported in their diabetic journey and share their life with T1 diabetes. But there are others that would rather their diabetes be ignored and want to be treated like everybody else. They donâ€™t want comments or suggestions or special accommodations and thatâ€™s fine. So ask your diabetic friend what they want!
If your diabetic friend is open to you being involved, do everything you can to learn about T1 diabetes. Read blogs like mine or follow sites like Beyond Type One or Diabetes Daily. Make sure you understand the difference between Type 1 and Type 2! Then ask your friend questions about how his/her diabetes affects life. Iâ€™ve never met another T1 diabetic whose diabetes acted just like mine, there are always some variances.
Find out his/her favorite low snack (something to eat when BG is low) and carry some in your purse or bag. Offer to go for a walk or exercise together. If you are going out for a meal, ask what restaurants work best. Although T1 diabetics typically can eat anything anyone else can, some places are better at having accurate carb counts or other things that help.
Do ask questions but try to refrain from offering advice. No T1 diabetes isnâ€™t curable not even with cinnamon, essential oils or a special diet. Ask if your T1 friend needs accommodations for food but donâ€™t ask â€œcan you eat that?â€ While I donâ€™t take offense at being asked that because I know itâ€™s usually coming from wanting to understand, many T1 diabetics will be offended.
I try to be sensitive to others when it comes to doing things like BG checks, infusion site or CGM changes. But there are times (especially with checking BG) that itâ€™s so second nature for me to do, I forget how it can look to others. There are many T1 diabetics that will lick the blood off their finger but I donâ€™t, at least not in public! I do think that whenever possible, discretion should be used. On the flip side, I have to do what is needed to be healthy and stay alive and itâ€™s not always at a convenient time. So if I have to test in front of you and it makes you uncomfortable, please just look away. And no, going to the bathroom for more privacy is not always a good option because there is usually no decently sanitary area available!
You can be a good T1 diabetic friend and we will love you for it! Just as with any chronic illness, there are ups and downs and having understanding friends and family is always helpful. So ask questions and learn how you can best support your T1 diabetic friend.