January 4, 2011
January 4th, 1963. That was the day my life officially changed forever, that was the day I was hospitalized to begin a new lifelong journey that would never end and my life as a diabetic began. I was 8 years old.
I had been sick for the previous two months in 1962 – I remember feeling tired and zapped of my 8 year old energy at the time – I couldn’t stay awake during school and I had to keep lying my head down on the desk to close my eyes and sleep. I did not have the energy to keep my head up to pay attention and concentrate – it was too exhausting. I was feeling too zapped to keep up with after school dance classes and I had to pee a lot, all of the time it seemed. I was losing weight and had no appetite. I did not know what it felt like to die, but I felt like I was dying. Yet, somehow, I knew it wasn’t my time to die – but what was wrong with me?
My mother seemed more tense and worried than usual. I knew her life was hard after she and my dad divorced because she had to go work teaching dance classes all the time, but she was crying a lot now too. I kind of figured out something must be wrong because she was taking me to doctors almost weekly from Thanksgiving to Christmas and people kept asking her if if I was all right and if she was all right. My silent and fervent prayer to God at that time was “please make it something that I can live with so I don’t have to die young and make my mom any more sadder than she already is”.
Well, long story condensed to the here and now – I lived, with diabetes, and have a very full, adventuresome and interesting life. I am now nearing age 57 and my mom is 84 living next door so my husband Ben and I can provide support and assistance to her as she encounters the problems that besiege our parents as the age. Ben and I are classic “Boomers” and because of choices we have made, we are still fairly healthy and very active in our own lives and careers. Diabetes never stopped me from pursuing what I wanted to do with my life. I chose to pursue what was meaningful to me throughout the various phases of my earthly existence thus far and I have very few regrets. If I could re-do some things differently, I might have made some different personal choices here and there, knowing what I know now, but over all I have had a good life and have very few regrets. I have learned that life is filled with second chance opportunities and chances to renew resolve is an everyday occurrence and not just for New Year resolutions.
Living a long time with diabetes has tempered my life – physically, emotionally, psychologically, mentally and spiritually. I cannot forget for one instant that I live in a body that has diabetes. I am constantly aware of how every bit of food, physical activity level and how much active insulin I have on board is going to affect my BG. I have had to take over to think and act like a pancreas and beta cells. It is a big job and I am so grateful to have my CGM and Bolus Wizard to help make the job so much easier. It makes me appreciate even more how wondrous the Life Force Intelligence that dwells within our cells really is. How fortunate we are that we can live in dysfunctional bodies and still carry on if we put our minds, hearts, and self-care actions to the task with the help of the tools that diabetes research science has given us. We have come such a long way since the early days of my diagnosis. Glass syringes and Clinitest anyone?
Diabetes has served as a tool of Self Remembrance that has endowed me with deeper insights about what it means to be a spiritual human being, where life comes from, and compassion and understanding for others who go through their lives dealing with the consequences and self-care responsibilities of living with a chronic disease, whether it be diabetes or something else. We are not perfect beings and our lives on Earth are a means for us to achieve a sense of what it means to be Divine, to experience Life and Great Nature with a keener sense of awareness, purpose and appreciation for the experience of living and loving as a part of the Great Cycle of Life on planet Earth.
I am now at the threshold of entering my fifth decade of living and loving with diabetes. I am grateful that I am still alive and healthy enough to participate in the wonder of it all. I have learned to love my diabetes as I continuously learn to live consciously with it and look forward to sharing the wisdom and insights gained as one of the “Wise Women of Diabetes Sisters” for a few more decades to come.