I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1992, one month before my 18th birthday. And yes, I am human, so I went through a pity party in the beginning … but for as long as I can remember, I have said (to myself and others) that if I was destined to have an incurable disease, I was thankful/fortunate that it’s “only” diabetes. It’s not cancer. It’s not something that has any visible, physical attributes like some diseases have (with the exception of my pager-sized life support system, better known as my insulin pump.)
I feel like anyone that lives with a chronic illness has his/her own set of issues and daily challenges. So I would not want to trade … I would not wish diabetes on anyone, nor would I want to voluntarily take on the challenges anyone else is facing with their own chronic illness.
I strongly believe that I was diagnosed with diabetes for a reason. Whatever that reason may be … Since finding the DOC over a year ago, I’m wondering if it was to get my voice out and be able to reach someone that was newly diagnosed, had a newly diagnosed child, or is pregnant, or a mom, etc … there is no way to know. But based on some inspiring comments/emails I’ve received from people who have stumbled across my blog, I have to continue believing that my voice IS being heard. And for that, it’s worth it.
I’ve also met friends that I would not have known had I not had diabetes. Through my local JDRF chapter, parents who have children that are recently diagnosed, and especially through the DOC. I have friends that I can email/text/tweet, etc., for support/encouragement/ask questions … and they are there for me. Without fail. And I hope they feel the same about me – we are all in this together.
And for those reasons.. most days I’m actually grateful for the path that diabetes has taken me on.
Diabetes is something that I have lived with 24/7 for almost 21 years now. I don’t get a break from it. I don’t get to say “I don’t feel like checking my blood sugar or taking my insulin today .. I will do it tomorrow.” And I don’t get to just eat anything I want without having to either do some math calculations ahead of time, or suffer the consequences later. And because of my illness, I have to worry about other issues- blood pressure, kidney and/or eye disease, etc. I have to have conversations with my 5 year old that I would rather not have – “These juice boxes are for Mommy” or “Here is how you dial Daddy’s number on Mommy’s phone, in case you can’t wake Mommy up one day.” But in spite of all that, to know I have that support system out there that “gets” it, makes a world of difference for me.
I’m not trying to sugar coat it (pardon the pun) -it sucks to have diabetes. But I try to look on the positive side and know that since I can’t change the fact that I do have it, my goal is to make the best of it that I can, and be a positive influence and spread awareness about it to others.