My Pride Alert Bracelet

Just between you and me, in all my years with diabetes (thirty-five and a half to be exact) I've never worn a medic alert bracelet. While I'm no fashionista, I don't like the way they look, and I don't like the reference I make in my head - "damaged goods." Then, too, just to be clear, I've never (yet) had an incident where I needed one.

But recently, adorning the wrist of a friend of mine, I saw a really nice piece of jewelry serving as a medic alert bracelet. I was so taken with it that I went directly to the website where she got it, TAH Handcrafted Jewelry. I clicked 'Bracelets' along the left sidebar and scrolled through. There are several designs to choose from. Mine, pictured above, is seventh from the bottom, #9-S.

I wanted something inscribed, but none of the expressions I saw on the site was just right. So I called the handcrafter, Tim, and asked if he could put two words on my bracelet. I wanted it to read "diabetes" to the left of the center garnet and "pride" to the right.

Just enough to send a message to myself, and to anyone who eyes my new bracelet, that not only am I not damaged goods, but I also have reason to be proud: a lot of work, as you well know, goes into managing diabetes. It's something extra we do along with everything else we manage in our lives. Why shouldn't we be proud? And most people don't even know we're working this extra job.

Imagine if all of us who in some way feel "less than" turned it into feeling "more than"? Imagine turning this ugly, old image of diabetes on its head! After all, so much has changed in diabetes today: people are coming out of the closet, for one, and there's also dynamic new research, fast-acting insulins, cool pumps, and diabetic mountain climbers, triathloners, and Olympic swimmers. Why shouldn't we have a new image? As for my new bracelet, it's slim, light, and bright, and that's how I feel wearing it. Powerful stuff, methinks.

You should know that ten percent of the purchase price of the jewelry on Tim's site is donated to the foundation of your choice. You get to choose among Children with Diabetes, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Diabetes Research Institute, and the American Diabetes Association.

Now, if I should ever be found in distress, I think my really nice bracelet will catch some young paramedic's eye and he'll see that I have diabetes. He'll also see I have attitude and extremely good taste in jewelry.

Originally published on