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August 27, 2016
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Dear Diabetes


Dear Diabetes,

In just over a week, I'll be marking 32 years since you came into my life. 32 years is a long time. I know you couldn't help yourself, making your home in my body, but I still kind of hate you and all you bring with you. You're like the brother-in-law that loses his job, moves in just after the honeymoon, eats too much food, makes a mess of the bathroom and leaves your boxer shorts on the floor for your new sister-in-law to pick up and wash. You're a mess.

Over the past three decades I've noticed you've got some terrible habits.

Like that tendency to lie in wait, letting me think I'm going to have a great day, then springing some mind boggling low or high bloodsugar on me just before I rest my head to sleep. Usually that kind of bologna keeps me up all night.

Or the habit you have of giving me a few days on a new insulin regimen, where I think the changes or adjustments I've made are working just fine. Then, pow! You throw in a series of highs or lows just to remind me I haven't got any real true control. It's all up to you. Unfair.

I guess you haven't been all bad. I've met some really great people that I might not have otherwise met, all because you came into my life. My lifelong gal friends from the Clara Barton Camp, lots of online friends, friends I met during hospital visits as a child that are still great pals - these are the unintended gifts of camaraderie you have given me.

My natural reaction to your presence in my life has also been a blessing. I know that life is challenging, but I know that if I persevere I will be alright in the end. I know that living with you isn't easy, but you make life's other challenges seem like a walk in the park. I am stronger, more disciplined, more independent because you are in my life. I won't thank you for those things, since those are more related to choices I've made about how I will react and respond, but I know that you were the precursor to those choices.

I've thought a lot about how I might mark the day next week, on the 24th of June. I think I've decided that I'll simply take a moment in the morning to reflect on the good. The things listed above that have come along with your residency that have made my life better in some way. I may meditate or do some yoga with the following mantra: "It hasn't all been bad."

I will call my mother and express my gratitude for the years she managed my diabetes like a superhero, tell my dad I am thankful for his tough love, tell my brothers I am grateful for their love and support, give my best friends small gifts for their help in managing you today. I will whisper an intention, "May those I know with diabetes have a quiet day today." I will live another day, cleaning up your boxer shorts. And I will be hopeful for the decades to come.

So I guess, kick your feet up and enjoy the cake I'll be eating next week, diabetes. Here's to 32 more years.

Nicole

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