30 July 2013

Diabetes Balancing Act

As a person, I've grown accustomed to multitasking. Emails! Phone! Scheduling! No, kitty! Don't go that way!

As a person with disabilities, I've grown to to be decent at this balancing act. Meds! Need to rest now so I can do more later! Kitty, stop knocking over my medicine!

As a person with diabetes, I've grown to be a multitasker-balancing act-extraordinaire! Insulin! Carbs! KITTY! STOP RIPPING UP THE CARPET! Other meds!

And people who have diabetes should all be certified systems analysts, this thing is so complex. I once tried to make a flow chart of living with diabetes...it was over 10 pages long before I said "screw this, I know what I'm doing, even if no one else does."

But there's another balancing act that we have to deal with: We must balance how serious diabetes is with how normal we can be.

Sure, there's a lot we can do. And I will say out of the things I can't do, only a handful are diabetes related. For example, my beta cells were fired by my immune system, so all the glorious things they made...well, I can't make them any more. But, I also can't hold my breath for 20 minutes straight, or travel faster than the speed of light, or break the laws of thermodynamics (no matter how much my husband might complain about my cold feet...those still obey the laws, sweetie!), or...well, you get the idea.

Sure, there are times when I feel like all of this just gets in the way and finds ways to mess everything up (like normal sleep, since I don't remember what that's like), but most of the time I don't feel like diabetes is a big giant monster that's out to get me. I think it's a sneaky asshole, but not a giant monster.

But on the other hand, diabetes does kill. I'm sure you've at least heard of IDF's new video that tries to get that point across. Honestly, I feel like a big dark cloud that kills you is depression. Diabetes would be more like a ninja who trips you and then, every so often, murders someone with a lancet. Also, I might have missed it, but are there any people in that video that aren't white?

I digress. Diabetes kills people. Our beloved ADA reports it. And we know the increased risks for complications and other super awesome health problems. And even when it doesn't kill you, it makes you feel miserable. Low hangover, anyone?

And we've worked really hard to get away from the "PWD can't do <insert something ridiculous that people think PWD can't do>!" nonsense. We're able to retort that Steel Magnolias is, in fact, not a documentary. We have professional athletes and celebrities and a lot of really awesome people out there punching all the stereotypes in the face.

But we have this responsibility, one that we never asked for, to keep this balancing act going for those who will never get it; we have to show we're "sick", but not "too sick"; capable, but with limitations; thriving, with death looming around every corner, holding a lancet.

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