There seems to be a recurring theme going on at the moment where I’ve stumbled across conversations that involves asking what the best thing about having diabetes is. It made me stop and think about it, not because I have to struggle to think of good things I’ve associated to having diabetes but rather the question itself and how different it is from the usual negativity that shrouds it. Another question posed took the form of swapping diabetes for something else like being able to play the piano perfectly or for another disease.
Short answer is – I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Perhaps it’s the fact that I have made THAT many positive associations to being a diabetic rather than negative ones, or maybe how it has given me that extra passion in my future career.
I remember the denial, confusion, anger, frustration that appeared initially. I hated it. Having to confront my diabetes every time I tested myself when I was trying so hard to do “the right thing”. I often had thoughts of “why me” running through my head. I was physically active as a competitive swimmer, I ate well. Mum’s meals were all home cooked, balanced, nutritious and definitely delicious. I felt the guilt on my mum’s shoulders as well – like it was somehow her fault I had diabetes. I tried to hide it when I struggled with it, put on a brave face for her so she wouldn’t feel the heart ache of her child having to do injections four times a day and test regularly. I could think of so many other people who deserved this more than I did.
But, the world is never fair, as we’ve all learned. Some things just happen and it’s how you deal with it that really defines you. It may take longer for some and they way they deal with these challenges may be different. I guess I never did see it as a dead end for me. After overcoming the wobble and finding my feet, slowly but surely I started asking more and more about my doctors, making them work rather than them just telling me what I should do. I made it a point to understand everything, including the medication I was taking. How it would affect my body, what it does chemically. It was fascinating and that’s when I started to fully embrace it.
From then my love for studying the metabolic pathways for diabetes and chronic disease care and social support grew and I knew I wanted to make a career out of it. I’m still halfway there but the drive is certainly there and never wavering. When it does, I look at my diabetes, and that motivates me again and reminds me why I’m doing this. I will never lose sight of what I want to accomplish and I will get there no matter how many years I have to live through as a poor uni student!
Apart from that, I mentioned in a previous post how lonely I was and how camp has made this transition so much easier to deal with diabetes. Just knowing other people my age who are going through similar situations is a comfort I never knew I even lacked. Through volunteering at camps with Diabetes Camp Victoria in particular, I have fostered a bond with people who understand what it’s like to live with diabetes. It makes dealing with it a little easier, knowing you have someone to whinge about to about your diabetes.
It’s funny to say that diabetes has given me something more to live for. It’s corny to say that I appreciate life a lot more now. But it’s true. At the end of the day I’m proud to say that I am a diabetic, maybe partially because I know that I didn’t have much of a choice in it, there was no primary cause to me having diabetes. I can hold my chin up and say I love myself the way I am, because I have learned to live with this condition with a smile and a laugh. I wouldn’t trade any part of me for anything. Life is way too short to be frowning on everything that is wrong. We focus on too much that is bad and seldom question what good did or can I take away from this. I LOVE that thinking! Never fails to put a smile on my face 🙂