I am not a tightrope artist, yet I walk a tightrope every day. I am no juggler, yet I can juggle a million things all at the same time.
I get dizzy easily and can not tolerate spinning around without feeling sick, yet I ride a roller coaster often.
I am not a doctor, yet I can treat my ailments all by myself.
Mathematician I am definitely not, yet I complete complex formulas multiple times a day.
I am a very open and sharing person, yet I keep many things to myself that nobody else would understand. I am a person living with type 1 diabetes.
It may seem to people who don’t live with diabetes one of two things:
- One, that it is an easy and simple thing to live with. “A bit of sugar”. A “just eat healthy, exercise and take your insulin and she’ll be right” kind of thing. A thing that once the initial diagnosis has passed and everyone else has got back on with their own lives, free from thinking about every morsel of food you put in your mouth, free from watching countdowns on beeping machines dozens of times a day to see if you can eat, exercise, sleep, breathe….that it is no longer an issue;
- Or, two, it may seem that all the person with diabetes THINKS about, is diabetes. All they TALK about is diabetes. They are ALWAYS posting things on facebook and Twitter about DIABETES. Social Media has created a DOC (or diabetes online community for those not in the know) which connects people with diabetes across the world. People who don’t have diabetes may think “for god’s sake, is there nothing else in your LIFE?”. They may be turned off by the status updates. May feel horrified by the posts about children or young people who have died from their diabetes…..or may feel angry and say “serves you right” to the overweight person with type 2 diabetes as they “caused it themselves”…. ignorance gone mad.
To the person living with it, it does not really ease into the background. Sure, it gets easier. Sure you learn a lot, about your body, your diabetes and yourself. You can get on with life and live a good life, a happy life, an adventurous life, an enviable kind of life. But, it is not simple. It is not easy. And it most certainly is not in the background.
Getting on with life does not mean getting away from diabetes.
It simply means you have worked out how to have a life that can have diabetes in it
Sadly there is a division between type 1 and type 2 diabetics on this front also, with misinformed type 1’ers blaming people with type 2 for causing all of our problems, for making the world think all diabetes is caused by eating to much sugar and that as a person with type 1 diabetes we did not cause our diabetes, we are somehow better and more deserving.
This saddens me more than anything.
Having worked in diabetes for so many years now, I understand the complexities behind why people get diabetes – all types – and the complexities behind overweight and obesity (which by the way is not always a cause of type 2 diabetes, it is just one risk factor).
And I can tell you now it is NEVER anybody’s fault they get diabetes. And there should be no blame.
Sometimes I do feel like people around me don’t have any real idea about what my life is like with diabetes. Sometimes I do feel like all I see, hear, talk and think about is diabetes.
It is my life, my work and my passion. I did not ask to get this disease. I do not have to like it. But I can sure as hell harness it to become something that matters in my life and do something that matters because of it.
And if you don’t like hearing about it, log off.