Saturday, November 23, 2013

Awareness vs Knowing

November is Diabetes Awareness month. 

Its awesome that Diabetes gets a whole month. An entire month to tell everyone the statistics, the side effects, the prevention tools for type 2, and so on and so forth. It's great. No, seriously, it is great. People at risk for type 2 need this awareness. If I could have done anything to prevent the onset of Diabetes I certainly would have. If I could trade places with a Type 2 Diabetic, I certainly would. 

But, I cannot. I am a Type 1 Diabetic. A Juvenile Diabetic. The one with no prevention, no cure...I am the 5%. Que sera sera.

I was thinking about my life while walking Jack this morning. I love our walks because I can reflect on my life, see the beauty everywhere in the woods, make a dog ecstatic, just breathe and I'm getting exercise. Perfection. Today I was thinking about how I've had a pretty amazing life. Lately I haven't been feeling this way. I'm heart breakingly single, 45, living with my mother, extremely broke, working at a job that I don't love and I have a chronic disease.  Wow. Needless to say, I've been feeling a little sorry for myself.

But, today's walk had me thinking otherwise.  Yes, having a chronic disease sucks ass. I'm not gonna lie. It's a huge part of who I am and my's not all of who I am or all of my life.  There's so much more. I love life and I live life..every day...because I know how fleeting, short and uncertain life is. I truly know. I just don't have the idea like many people do, I have the proof. I have almost died on many occasions. So, I grasp any opportunity to live, laugh and love. Because, in the end that is all that matters. It doesn't matter how much money you have, how many cars you have, how many toys you die with. What matters is that you really lived. With a chronic disease or not.

Diabetes..the thing that will ultimately kill me....has taught me to live.  

I have been to several countries, hundreds of cities and thousands of towns. I have jumped from an airplane over the Mohave desert, I have surfed in Oahu, I have hiked to the top of Mt. Vesuvius. I have had espresso in Italy, escargot in France, haggis in Scotland and a Guinness in Ireland. I have made 70k a year and 22k a year. I have owned a house and rented a house. I have laughed more than I have cried. I have had love and heartbreak. I have gained and lost. I have had everything and nothing. I have a beautiful family. I have amazing friends. I have lived. Thanks, Diabetes. Because one day, I know it's very possible, that I may not wake up to seize the day.

For example, I have had a blood sugar level of 7, I have caused a 6 car pile up, I have fallen on a glass table, was covered in blood and dragged myself out the garage door where I scared all the neighborhood kids, I have punched a cop, pushed my daughter, woken up to a bedroom full of paramedics with tubes everywhere imaginable, I have had episodes in the middle of roads, theme parks, stores, zoos, parks, malls, restaurants, dates...yea.  Like I said, I know how fleeting, short and uncertain life is.

Being a Diabetic is difficult. We look 'normal'.  People who aren't Diabetics don't understand...not Dr's, not nurses, not family members, not friends. If you aren't a Diabetic, you will never grasp the full effect of being a Diabetic. No matter how hard you try. No matter how many times you attempt to explain that you are trying to control an uncontrollable disease, it never really hits home to the non-Diabetic. 

And that's ok. Kudos to them for not having to know. I'm jealous.

I like to think of it like my body is at war. Outside, I look fine. Inside, my body is waging war, 24/7, against itself. There will never be a victor, only a loser.  


Like in any war, there are many casualties. My body is the main one. It is constantly fighting against itself and there have been some losses. My body has injured my thyroid, my gums, my eyesight, my memory and my fingertips. (I have little to no feeling in my tips and they are covered in holes due to testing.) My body has war wounds. Scars and bruises.  My weight is chaotic. My bones are getting tired.  In fact, my entire self is getting tired.  Hell, if you were at war with yourself for 28 years, day and night, you'd be tired, too.

In fact, I'm exhausted. Being tired effects my blood sugar. Stress, exercise, sex, if I'm sick, upset, emotional, worried, busy, food, in general effects my blood sugar. Add on to this the future of my body, what could happen, what may happen, what will happen. Add on, again, the upkeep, cost, supplies, testing, shooting up, putting pumps on, taking them off, watching your weight, what you eat, what you drink,  how you feel, how you don't feel, exercise, looking at carbs on every label, resting when you want to play, Dr. Appointments; General, Endocrinologist, Opthamologist, Podiatrist, Laboratory visits, God! It's never ending. I have suffered, my family, my friends, my co-workers, anyone who is part of my life becomes part of this disease along with me.

All of this makes me live life a little differently, of course, but it makes me think about life a little differently, too. The only sure thing in life is death for all. For this Diabetic, this woman who has had a chronic disease for more than half of her life, this woman who doesn't remember how it feels to NOT be sick, this woman chooses to live life on her own terms. To the fullest. Without wasting or turning down any opportunity to do, learn, feel, taste, experience something new. Anything new.  Because, even though Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death, I am going to be sure to live extremely and continue fighting before it causes me to die. 

True story. 


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