My Wall of Inspiration
Learning from others who have been there.
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
February 2008 —I have never been a celebrity chaser. I can't imagine standing in line just to catch a glimpse of a pop star, nor would I rush to collect autographs after a sports championship. An intense fascination with celebrities' lives is just not something that's part of my own experience. Accordingly, I never pay attention to the Web sites and news features that offer to tell me with which luminaries I happen to share a zodiac sign, favorite color, or hobby.
The same goes for my diabetes, or so I thought, until in the midst of one of those too-much-to-do burnout moments I looked over the fame pages on dLife. Fighting fatigue and on the dangerous verge of self-pity, I was surprised to find that I felt both inspired and motivated by what some of these people (who had to have moments when they felt at least as tired as I was) were- and are still - able to do.
Previously, through her advocacy for the condition, the only prominent person living with diabetes that I could name was Mary Tyler Moore. I'd never realized that tennis star and advocate (AIDS research and equality for women in sports are some causes she has championed) Billie Jean King has been living with type 1 diabetes. In fact, her Billie Jean King foundation has even supported young tennis players with type 1 diabetes. And she still enjoys the game herself. I'm a (very) amateur player who enjoys playing for fun and exercise. What better motivation could I find for those days when I don't feel up to exercising than to consider BJK and all her accomplishments?
I kept on reading. One of my children is a competitive swimmer, so a lot of my time and attention is focused on this sport. I know how hard the kids train and can only imagine what kind of physical and emotional discipline and energy are required for those who make it to the top in this sport. I learned that swimmer and Olympic Gold Medalist Gary Hall Jr. was diagnosed with diabetes in 1999, only to break a world record at the 2000 Olympic Games in the 50-meter freestyle. Again, I'm amazed- and humbled.
Nothing in the demanding world of politics is likely as challenging as the 24/7 frenzy of a presidential campaign. I've often wondered how these politicos (my age and older!) manage to survive multiple speeches, fundraisers, and events across multiple time zones every day, while looking (and at least minimally) feeling healthy and vibrant. Yet Mike Huckabee, living with diabetes, managed to do just that.
I'm not about to turn into a Successful People with Diabetes groupie, but reading about these individuals has given me food for thought. The next time I feel like throwing a pity party for myself because I'm behind at work, standing in line to pick up one of my multiple prescriptions, and worrying about the kids' homework, I'm going to try to consider the achievements of others living with diabetes.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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This past weekend was my STAR TREK group's anniversary picnic. Our hostess was one of our chapter's newer members, though she's definitely a second-generation member (perhaps since birth!) of the larger organization. She's also dealing with a couple of agressive, quality-of-life-limiting autoimmune conditions, at least one of which has been somewhat mitigated by the effect of bariatric surgery. In the relaxed atmosphere of a group picnic, she was able to explain a bit more about...