As this is a new blog (and in fact some of the content is simply test and dummy content – but will be cleared up in the next few days..) I was looking for a little inspiration for my daily posts, and came across the ‘Daily Prompt’ by WordPress. Today’s prompt is Darkness.
It might seem that an illness like diabetes, is all dark – what could possibly be good about it! But the truth is, if there is darkness, there is light – always. One can’t exist without the other.
For me personally, being an ex-Royal Marine – I used to totally love running around like a nut, adventurous exploration. I loved running, and was pretty much a mindless optimist – there was always something positive in any situation, and with a generally positive attitude, I could usually find it quickly.
However – with the onset of diabetes, I felt I immediately and irrevocably lost my freedom. The freedom to throw my running shoes on and go for a jog. Or go for a burn out down the gym. In fact, with type 1 – I have to plan if I want to mow the lawn, or go for a walk. If I don’t plan, I run the risk of hypoglycemia.. Years ago – I miscalculated how hot the day was, how recently I had eaten, how much insulin was in my system, how tired I was – and a routine run ended with me believing I was going to die. You only do that once. Ever since I carry way more dextrose than I could possibly need.
When blood sugar drops – it feels like everything is hard work, and I have no energy or resilience. It also means I get stressed much more easily, give up more easily, and appear to be moody, for no obvious reason. People don’t know you are diabetic from your appearance, so they assume you’re just a miserable guy.
Just as funnily, when blood sugar is running high – it feels like I am on some kind of adrenaline, and it’s easy to get over enthusiastic, which can also cause a ‘sulking’ if things don’t work out the way I want them to. This can make me appear like a spilt child, emotionally immature. Again, people don’t see the disease, just the behaviour – and it’s too easy to judge.
Everything is a balancing act. Blood sugar. Insulin. Food. Activity. What time I get up (I have that weird ‘dawn phenomena’), what time I go to bed – it all affects blood sugar.
Perhaps the saddest, or darkest part – is the long term complications that come with diabetes. On average, it (type 1) shortens the adult lifespan by about 20 years. Which sounds grim, but doesn’t really hit home until it’s personal. If I sit with my little guy, who is just 11 years old – and look him in the eyes – and think about losing 20 years of my life with him. That can hurt. Not just for me, but knowing what he will feel when I die – way to early.
OK – enough darkness!!
The Light Side
There is a light side. I am blessed to be able to help others work with their diabetes. Being an ex-Royal Marine means I have tons of experience in working through challenges, and staying healthy – and diabetes is challenging to most diabetics! With some courage and support, and self-control – diabetes does not have to shorten your life. in fact – it can become a source of friendship and camaraderie – bring you closer to others who are experiencing the same challenges.
Also – I thank God for Frederick Banting – the guy who basically discovered insulin. Without Fred’s discovery, we’d be in the same situation as we were prior to the discovery. Basically once you were diagnosed with ‘sugar sickness’ you lived on cabbage water for a year and then died. Ugh. Thank God for modern science. otherwise I would have been dead 13 years ago. I have had an additional 13 years, of pure awesomeness!
Also – as mad as it might sound – i have always, and honestly believe – that our bodies are full of wisdom. Diabetes is not so much a problem, as a solution our bodies were forced to make, because of some error in our thinking. I had some serious errors in my mindset, and my body had to compensate, by basically creating the condition known as diabetes. It’s good that my body did that, as it caused me to correct my thinking – or at east start myself on the journey of discovering what I was doing wrong.
And the beautiful thing with that, is that if our body creates the condition (called disease) based on our thinking and resultant behaviour – it can also create the condition of health – purely based on our thinking and resultant behaviour. This where the cure comes in. So I would never have ‘calmed down’ without diabetes. I would never have taken my health seriously without diabetes. And I would never have developed the mindset I have now, without diabetes. And it is my current mindset – that actually allows me to lead such a beautiful life now. Far more fulfilling and meaningful than it ever was before. Perfect? no – of course not. But soooo much better.
I am actually grateful for diabetes. I do sometimes wish I didn’t have to learn the hard way, but then I was always a bit of a nut – pushing the envelope, exploring the boundaries.. 🙂
Here’s to a live well lived – beyond the gift of diabetes.