If you ask on a good day, I’m blessed. But it has to be a really really really good day. And they’re few and far between, but if you do manage to catch me on one of those good days, I will tell you that I am blessed to have diabetes. (Any other day and I’ll be happy to tell you about how much I really hate it or how I just deal with it because I have to) I realize that this is in direct conflict with last night’s post about how I wish it had killed me, but that’s the difference between dying happy at age 11 or dying disgruntled with a stupid disease at age 26. But that’s also not what this piece is about. This is about how I’m blessed, on the rare days that I’ll agree I am.
I’ll start with how I’m blessed to be alive (even if it is because I have diabetes). The thing about me is, I live dangerously close to the edge of life, it’s been that way since I was very little, when I dive into something I dive head first, when I decide I’m doing something (good or bad) I do it or don’t do it (bad or good). That really hasn’t changed since I got diabetes, but my family fully believes that if I hadn’t gotten diabetes, I probably wouldn’t have seen my twentieth year of life. And sometimes I’ll agree with them. I had no fears then, and I really have no fears now, unless you take into consideration my fear of dying before I’ve lived out my whole life (there’s so much I want to do, and I realize I won’t get to do all of it, thank you diabetes, but there’s a lot I can do and I want to do, and when I’m not bitching and moaning about how I hate my diabetes, I’m out there getting stuff done.) The only other fear I’ve had of late is when I was sitting on the airplane Friday getting ready to take of for Phoenix, my one stop on my way to Vegas. I was gripping the armrests, my heart was beating quickly and I was sweating, I was scared. And I’m not usually scared of flying, it’s just that, the last 5 times I was on a plane, I had a parachute strapped to my back, this time I didn’t and that scared me. But as you can see, I’m usually not scared. I’ve made 5 skydiving trips. I’ve fallen down a waterfall (which I believe to be a 30 ft waterfall, lived to tell about it, and am still not afraid that I might be standing too close to the edge). I could go on forever about the crazy stuff I’ve done, jumping off an edge of a wall while on my bike that was wall at least 6 ft tall. I don’t fear. I don’t fear anything.
Diabetes was probably what was responsible for slowing me down and helping me make it to my 26th year of life. Which is ironic if you know of the stuff I’ve pulled since I became a diabetic. (Of course, this is where my parents would say “God’s got a plan for you and he’s not ready to take you home”. While I am (on the best of days) grateful that I’m alive, I wish that if He felt it so important for me to be alive that He had let me live without diabetes, God, if you’re reading this, I’m waiting for a cure, we’re waiting for a cure, all 246+ million of us. We’d like to live without diabetes. But I digress.) Being that I didn’t manage to kill myself doing some dangerous stunt during my teenage years, I’m blessed to have diabetes. Thank you diabetes for slowing me down.
On a good day, a good day in which you manage to hear me say “I am blessed to have diabetes”, I’ll tell you that I’m blessed because I among the things I was told I couldn’t do, ahm, skydiving, I’ve gone skydiving. Not only have I gone skydiving, but I’ve gone skydiving 5 times. Furthermore, before I decided that I had to prematurely retire from my skydiving career, I got to pack my own parachute and fly it. I am blessed, that even though I may have never been able to be a paratrooper in the armed forces (my second choice to being a fighter jet pilot), I have gotten to jump from a plane. On a bad day, I’m pissed that I felt the need to retire, on a good day, I’m grateful that I did get to make the jumps I did.
On a good day, a really good day, a day when my blood sugars are neither low nor high and I can actually ride my bike, I’m blessed. I’m blessed that I still have both my legs (amputation was always a threat, a threat that started at the bottom of my feet with a cut that wouldn’t heal that would lead to gangrene and I wouldn’t respond to the fact that I had gangrene and it would go up my leg and I’d have to have it amputated. Yes, they’d [my family/friends] threaten me with horrible things to get me to take care of myself, it didn’t always work, but once again, I digress). I’m blessed that now, after 15 years of diabetes, I’ve found a sport I can participate in, that I love, and furthermore, allows me to fight back. Up until this year, I never really thought about doing anything to find a cure, I just complained about having diabetes and the cure we don’t have. When I was told about riding for diabetes instead of just walking, my interest was peaked, cycling is a sport, walking not so much. I got on board with cycling as soon as I could and I tell you what, I enjoy every moment of it. Riding down the road at 20 mph, speeding down a hill at over 30 mph. Those are the times that I feel blessed, despite my diabetes.
On a day, when another diabetic is having a hard time, I’m blessed to have diabetes. While I will do my share of ranting and raving, after 15 years of this disease, I know it, and if someone is having a problem, I can talk to them, and it makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside that someone else understands. When I was growing up, I swear I was all alone, nobody else had diabetes, except one other stuck up girl that wouldn’t talk to me until we were seniors in high school, and it sucked. Now adays, though, everyone seems to have it, and they tell me I’m an inspiration, and that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Even though I’m often in a foul mood where my diabetes is concerned, it’s important when other diabetics talk to me that I listen, because I remember having no one to talk to, at least, no one that understood me (and I still swear nobody gets me). There’s a guy in Italy, he found me on Flickr, no clue how, all his pix were labeled in Italian, luckily, I have 7 years of Italian language classes under my belt so I start talking to him. He had all of 2 pictures on his account, one was of him cycling and that’s what tied us together in the beginning. Come to find out, he’s a diabetic, recently (within the last 4 years) diagnosed, and he’s not dealing well with it. I wrote something that made him cry, which in turn made me cry. But here he is, between a rock and a hard place, his mom telling him he can be normal, his friends alienating him, and the cost of insurance and medical supplies in Italy just sucking the life out of him. He doesn’t know how long he can life with this disease. And yet, he found me and we’re talking now several times a day, and I’m just answering his questions, telling him about my experiences and it makes him feel better. I’m blessed that I’m in a position to do so. I get to help other people and helping people put a smile on their face helps put a smile on my face.
Now, I realize that I’ve had some very negative postings as of late, and things have been a little dark around these parts, but I have my dark days, as you’ve previously read, I have my light days as you just read, and then I have my “days”, the days where I just go through the motions because I have to and for no other reason. I can go from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of hours, and yes, I do believe that diabetes took and stripped off a lot of me, but on a good day, you’ll see another side, it’s just hard to stay on the good side because diabetes has a way of easily letting me down. But on a good day, I’m doing good things
This is excerpt from my NaNoWriMo project: Confessions of a Type 1 Diabetic. For the curious, it’s 1542 words bringing my NaNoWriMo total to 12163 words.