Who would make jokes about diabetes!? Um...me
Hey how are ya’?
Soooooo…I guess I should introduce myself. “My name is Humpty, pronounced with an Umpty!” Sorry. 90s flashback
Anyway, my name is Chelcie Rice and I’m a Type1 pump user, diagnosed back in 1989. Yeah, yeah, yeah I'm old. WHAEVA!! I got my pump back in 2005. I’m also a stand up comedian and now I’m officially a blogger! One of the things people often ask me is “What’s funny about diabetes?” Well nothing of course but then again I have got to laugh about most of the things I’ve been through with my diabetes or else I would go insane!!
When I first discovered I had the D I had no idea what it was. At that time I was a drummer in my then church choir and my roommate was the organist. He kept noticing I was getting up to go to the restroom in the middle of service a lot. Yeah like I didn’t notice it also. So out of the blue he makes an appointment for me with a urologist. Seemed logical I guess. You pee a lot and you go ask the guy that seems like they would know why. Go to the urologist yada yada yada “You have diabetes” That’s exactly what he said and how he said it. A few days later I was in the hospital getting hydrated and educated. I left the hospital as dumb about diabetes as I went in. So I adapted and did the best I could. Fast forward to 2004 and I develop a blood leak in my left eye. I survived over a year with blood inside my eye because I had no health insurance for surgery. I got a job, got insurance, got the vitrectomy, vision slowly came back. Month later the same thing happened to my right eye. Got another vitrectomy, results weren’t good. Due to a detached retina I now have partial vision in my right eye. Oh yeah I didn’t mention the cataract surgeries. Diabetes isn’t very funny.
I started stand up comedy in 2000 when I was 35. So I’m pretty much too old for Comedy Central. (long story) Along the way I started performing for different fund raisers and I got to thinking. Why can’t I do shows to raise funds for diabetes? So I did just that. But I didn’t talk much about my diabetes in my act. Around that time I was working part time in a local comedy club and I met comedian Robert Schimmel.
Robert had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Throughout his act he talked about his heart attack and his Lymphoma. He told some really funny stories about his treatment and how his parents drove him crazy. After the show I talked to him and told him about my diabetes and he told me I HAD to talk about it in my act. Much of comedy is about the connection with the audience. While everyone in the audience won’t be diabetic some people will be. He said it’s important to reach out to those that are going through what I’m going through because they may need to hear what I have to say. Robert told me I wouldn’t believe how many people came up to him and talked about their own experiences with cancer and thanked him for helping them understand that it’s ok to laugh your way through the pain. The last thing he said to me when he left town was to “talk about it”. So I did and I haven’t stopped. Sadly we lost Robert Schimmel to, of all things, a car accident in 2010. But I remained inspired to laugh my way through my complications and hopefully inspire others with diabetes to laugh and continue to fight this disease. Sure enough other diabetics and diabetic caregivers have thanked me for talking about my diabetes and actually making them feel better with a laugh. Mission accomplished. So seriously…it’s ok to laugh.
So that’s basically me. I hope you’ll stick around and enjoy my lunacy!!