A Gift

posted in: Diabetes, Health, Journal | 4
Girl Breton
Girl wading along the shore of Bretagne, France, 1989

It’s been quite a few days since I wrote anything in this journal. I want to apologize to anyone who has been checking in to see anything new and was disappointed. I haven’t been feeling well all week, what with the delicate balance of my diabetes deciding that it would commence its summer vacation without me.

And that is what diabetes is… an equilibrium of outer circumstances meeting with inner workings. Getting the disease has, of course, irrevocably altered my life and my reactions to it have ranged from rage to despair. Most people when they think of diabetes think of the scare scenes in movies, so often depicted as occuring when some hapless diabetic just so happens to be at the wheel of a car and blacks out. I’ve never blacked out, though there have been a few humiliating moments when I miscalculated my insulin dosage and, having fallen asleep, woke up sweating up a river and shaking so badly that water would spill from a glass I was holding. Luckily I was never alone when these incidences happened, but I wonder what I would do if ever something like that caught me while I was up in the mountains?

But really, diabetes, in its day-to-day manifestation, is no worse or better than managing your body in the same way that anyone who cares about their health would try to maintain themselves. If anything diabetes is like a strict coach, doing good by you when you treat yourself right with balanced food, exercise, rest, and right attitude, but punishing you when you trip up and act stupid. The symptoms that diabetes throws at you can really open your eyes at times, and remind you just how sensitive your body is to changes and things which aren’t good for it. I certainly will never forget the importance of exercising my legs and feet regularly after some excrutiating cramps that woke me from sleep screaming in agony. Those cramps in a swimming pool have nothing on these cramps… these are the kings of cramps!

Because diabetes follows you day in and day out every day of your life and never once loosens its grip on your throat it is hard to put thoughts of it aside. Like any human I have my moments and I just want to lie back and turn into a couch potato, forget about abstaining from the ice cream or potato chips or beer. At such times walking into a convenience store, or passing a pizza delivery store weakens even the hardest won patience. I want to EAT!

You would think that all this would leave me bitter and resentful. I admit that at times, like when I can’t coordinate my fingers to write clear letters or I miss steps as I walk up the stairs, anger flares up, but usually it’s learning to observe and understand myself better. The amazing thing is that diabetes has taught me to quiet the pall of anger that I used to carry around for so many years. I guess it helped me understand that there is nothing really so important or urgent as the ticking of my heart. And, for those times when the pain is great or the fear of not having enough food when my blood sugar has plummetted, really remind you of the preciousness of each moment.

I don’t know how long my health will hold out, if diabetes will one day claim victory over the equilibrium and take my life, but for now I want to coddle the daily spark that flickers in here and live each day as it comes as best I can. That is perhaps all we can hope to do. Nothing is certain, and there are no guarantees.

4 Responses

  1. Teja

    Thank you oniichan, for sharing with me the pain of diabetes, but even more so, the stregth that you have to see the positive.
    I love you.


  2. Yumi

    I like enjoy each day, not the mean I don’t think about a fucture. Enjoy, sinta cada dia , seja feliz.
    Te Amo

  3. teresa

    Great pains disclose great souls.
    You Do have a great soul!