From North Carolina, USA:
While I was in college, I was told (just days after my diagnosis) that no one with type 1 diabetes can work for the FBI, DEA, or National Parks Service by representatives from each agency, and it made the illness very, very difficult to deal with. At that time, it was like part of me had died. The most difficult problem with accepting diabetes and managing it is it's assault on ego. It can really make you question your identity (sick role). I use religion and meditation to help me cope with those anxious moments. Since I have been changing my mind, I've begun to change the way I relate to chronic illness. I have rekindled my life long dream of a career in law enforcement.
I understand the concerns of having someone work in public safety with diabetes, and I share them. However, I bodybuild, train martial arts, and I recently obtained a master's degree in criminology. I also did an internship in grad school with a law enforcement agency. Now, I have an insulin pump, I test 10-15 times a day, and I am willing to do so as long as it takes, to obtain and keep a job in law enforcement.
Are there any agencies that have less strict requirements? Any agencies where I would feel accepted? Do you think there will be any new technologies that will allow my to work a rotating shift? A modified work schedule is not considered "reasonable" (Americans with Disabilities Act) by many agencies.
I need some good advice, and maybe someone in the field I can talk to without ruining my chances of getting a job. Unfortunately, diabetes has to be hidden from some people until a conditional offer for employment is made based on medical exams.
I have had clients who were on pumps, and many others who had to work rotating shifts. Our dietitian worked out meal plans that accommodated rotating shifts and our exercise physiologist also designed activities to suit each individual's life circumstance.
I applaud your new approach to your diabetes. Ego can get in the way of growth, can't it?
[Editor's comment: Fortunately, many law-enforcement agencies will accept folks with diabetes, and perhaps the ones you mention have changed since a few years back.
Original posting 22 Jul 2001
Posted to Other Social Issues
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:23
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