First, I want to thank everybody who commented on my past couple of posts, and everyone who tweeted, DM’d or emailed me with words of love and support and empathy. I’d been wondering why I’d been investing the time to write this blog when the time I have for my real writing is so limited, but now I know exactly why. I love you guys, and you’ve helped me more than you’ll ever know.
This year’s topic is: 6 things you want people to know about diabetes.
And I’m going to totally spice things up by counting these in Spanish. For no particular reason. Here we go.
Thing Uno: A message to Dr. Oz and Halle Berry and the dude behind the Panera counter who, when I told you why I needed the carb count of your Mediterranean Veggie sandwich said the words, “But you’re so thin!”* I weigh 95 pounds. (Actually, this is probably a lie, due to my recent feeding frenzy…but let’s GO WITH IT!) I weigh 95 pounds, and when I was diagnosed 38 years ago, I probably weighed, oh, about thirty pounds. Therefore, losing my little belly blob would be totally awesome, but it would not cure me.
*I do love you for that, though, Panera dude…
Thing Dos: I’ve been in excellent shape for many years, taking great care of myself, with an A1C near normal range. But when I was a teenager, I paid more attention to my social life, as teenagers are wont to do, than my blood sugar. Maybe because of that, or maybe because I was diabetic for about 12 years before I was able to even test my blood to figure out how to get in better control, or maybe because–as studies are starting to show–I just have crappy genetics, I’ve gotten some pretty serious complications, and there’s a good chance I won’t live to see my daughter married, or to ever meet my grandchildren. This sucks. And that is an understatement.
Thing tres: Thing Uno + Thing Dos = Anyone who blames diabetics for their disease or their complications is a nincompoop.
Thing Cuatropounder: In a 24 hour period, I ate 3 cookies, 2 peanut butter cups and a honking big bowl of Life cereal. (See reference to feeding frenzy above.) And over those 24 hours my blood sugar looked like this, never above 125:
(This is directed at my wonderful Aunt Genie, who buys me diabetic cookbooks and makes me special cranberry sauce and special apple pies, both of which taste like the smell of an oil refinery. I adore you for this, but please forgive me if I roll my eyes behind your back.) (And yes, I am actually posting the photo above for no other reason than to show off.)
Thing Cincodemayo: Diabetics are some of the strongest people I know, but the people you really need to appreciate are the caregivers of the diabetics, the parents who wake up multiple times in the night to check their babies and struggle not to show their kids how worried they are, the spouses who jump up to grab juice when we ask, who stick with us even though this disease can be incredibly scary, who save our lives by injecting glucagon and calling 911 in the middle of the night (and don’t let us see how freaked out it made them), and who live in perpetual fear of the what-ifs while reassuring us that those what-ifs will never happen. We’re fighters, yes, but they’re true heroes.
Thing Seismicshift: Even with all the crappy things about this disease, the worry, all the money I spend on medicine and supplies, the days I feel like crap and the time I waste in a low-blood-sugar-blur, I have to say that I’ve probably gotten more good out of this disease than bad. I’m stronger, and more strong-willed, I’m braver, more empathetic, and I’ve made so many amazing friends in the diabetes community that I never would’ve met otherwise. Would I cure myself, if I had the opportunity? Well duh, I’m not insane. (Okay, I’m a little bit insane. But I’m not crazy. Or at least not that crazy.) But I was diagnosed so young that diabetes is as much a part of me as my frizzy brown hair and my tiny boobs and my weird obsession with medical mysteries and Ewan McGregor. So I’m not sorry I’m diabetic, it’s who I am and it’s made me what I am. And in a way, I love my broken pancreas just like I love my heart and my brain. Because I don’t think I’d be anywhere near as kick-ass without them.