Tuesday, November 20, 2012
When you live with more than one chronic condition, sometimes things can snowball and you end up buried beneath an avalanche of issues, doctor’s visits, self-care, and tasks you meant to do but didn’t. Sadly, one of those things for me was Diabetes Blessings Week hosted by my friend Mike Durbin over at My Diabetic Heart.
It’s not that Mike had specifically asked me to participate (it’s an open invitation) or that I’d promised I would. It’s that I was still a bit too shy to participate last year, but really wanted to. Having a bit more free time this year due to a company-wide furlough this week, it should have been easy to fit into my lack of schedule. Then life happened.
Here it is Tuesday. Mike casually mentions it during a conversation and it slowly dawns on me that I’ve let another thing slip through my fingers. Yet another chance to advocate that I let pass me by. Nearly.
So with determination (and possibly a bit of stubbornness), I pause the craft video I’m watching on YouTube, set my craft supplies aside, and get Pandora going. Time to see what this crazy brain of mine can crank out when I tell it to instead of just when it wants to.
What do I come up with? No clue, but we’re about to find out together. So buckle your seatbelts because this is bound to be one crazy ride. Providing of course that Pandora doesn’t throw yet ANOTHER Taylor Swift song into my mix and try to derail my train of thought.
So I’m supposed to write about blessings, specifically those related to diabetes. I’ll be honest, my first thought is “WTFructose? Diabetes sucks!” and it does. But just like nothing is all good, nothing is all bad either. I dig deeper and see a faint light shining in the distance. A bright spot amongst the endless numbers for blood glucose levels, carb counts, A1c’s, units of insulin, and the never ending cost of what feels like the million tools it takes just to keep me alive.
As I move towards that glimmer of something that feels like it’s made of hope, love, and support, I feel myself growing lighter and lighter. The fears, doubts, and insecurities that crowd me begin to fall to the ground like the changing leaves of autumn. My steps are buoyed by anticipation and my pace quickens.
I enter the outer reaches of the glow and instantly feel warmed from the inside out. My nerve endings begin to tingle in a way that makes me think I’ve begun to glow on my own. My smile widens as I take what feels like my first unencumbered breath in years. Moving closer I feel it envelope me like a loving embrace and I know I’ve found that silver lining I was looking for.
You might be wondering what I’ve found and I will be glad to tell you. What I’ve found is support, love, understanding, and empowerment. We affectionately refer to it as the DOC. The Diabetes Online Community. A group of diabetics of all types, caretakers of diabetics, and loved ones of diabetics. Basically, people who get it. Where you can talk about diabetes without explaining WHAT diabetes really is first.
We are patients, children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, siblings, newbies, veterans, advocates, lurkers, bloggers, tweeters, non-profit workers, family and friends, but mostly we are just people, who happen to be connected by diabetes. We are the light that makes the darkness retreat, taking with it the fear and doubt. We are the hand held out to strangers and friends who need comfort. We are the human connection that keeps all of us strong and moving forward. We are the voice of advocacy and the cry for change that keeps diabetes from becoming a truly invisible disease. We are love, caring, understanding, support, & kindness. We are the DOC.
And that is a LOT to be thankful for. Thanks for coming along. I hope you enjoyed the ride.