The Diabetes You Don’t See

Today is World Diabetes Day. It’s the day we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin. A day we celebrate the privilege we have to be alive, live life to the max and seize diabetes despite our disease. I spent all day reading through all the inspiring, upbeat and moving posts on social media and I was struck by a mixture of emotions. It warmed my heart to see all the diabadass people that thrive with diabetes and I’m honored to call “my people.” At the same time it made me sad knowing that each one of them is burdened by this disease.

I kept trying to come up with a post that has that same uplifting and inspiring message, but today was just not that type of day for me.

After living with diabetes for 24 years, I have learned to embrace it, allow it to make me stronger, inspire others and find the silver lining in every horrible scenario it presents. I refuse to show my weaknesses because I was scared to be perceived as less than “normal”, as weak and damaged. But this weekend, at the Bolus and Barbells event, I met a person, Jiggy Yoon, who was wearing a t-shirt that said “Vulnerability is Dope”™, and I could not stop thinking about that. If we are always painting the perfect strong image, are we diluting the sense of urgency for a cure? Are we implying to the general public that it’s always rainbows and butterflies and we are content with the treatment we have?

I decided to take the risk and be vulnerable, because today I am just tired! I am tired of the scars, bruises and calluses on my body. I am tired of the gut wrenching fear I have every time my sons ask me for water more than four times in a row. I am tired of the never-ending math calculations whenever I want to eat, correct a high or low, sleep or do any physical activity (including shopping, folding laundry or monkeying around with the boys). I am tired of the financial strain this disease puts on my family. I am tired of the exhaustion from lack of sleep because you just can’t sleep-train your diabetes or rejoice because one night it decides to miraculously “sleep through the night” (mamas you know what I’m talking about). I am tired because you can’t hire a babysitter to watch it while you go out to unwind and have a night out. I am tired of the relentless doctors appointment, even though I love my endo and am willing to get her name tattooed on my forearm. I am tired of the diabetes complications: the anxiety, the depression, the PCOS, insulin resistance and disordered eating. I am tired of the burden I put on the people I love most: my husband, kids, parents, siblings, and friends. I am tired of the guilt I feel every time my blood-sugars go out of range (usually for no fault of my own). I am tired of analyzing and scrutinizing every single aspect of my day; even the simplest thing like a warm shower can send my blood-sugars crashing. I am tired of having to give 300% every day to be “normal”. I am tired of worrying that there will be no tomorrow.

This is the harsh reality when you take down the walls and allow yourself to be vulnerable. I don’t do this very often because my diabetes has become second nature to me, and I just do what I got to do to be happy and live the life I choose and want for myself, a life with no limits or restrictions, a life that will make my boys proud. This is the diabetes you don’t see.

Don’t get me wrong–I am utterly blessed to have the community I have. It has my back and keeps me going. I am thankful for the medical advancements that have come a long way since I was diagnosed. I am fortunate to have the privilege of being alive and achieve what many doctors said was not possible. I am grateful for this disease making me the person I am today: strong, compassionate, resilient and good at math. It’s given me the amazing friends I have and the best job I can ask for. But I am ready for a cure.

Until there is a cure there is the community that “gets it” and gives me the strength to rise to the top again and be greater than my highs and lows.

Thank you to all the diabadasses that have given me the power to keep fighting. Today I allowed myself to be vulnerable–to cry and be sad about it but thanks to the strength I gathered from everyone around me, tomorrow I will brush it off. Tomorrow is a new day. Cant stop; won’t stop.

Happy World Diabetes Day. Cheers to a hopeful future.

 

  • For more information on Jiggy Yoon and her work check out her website JiggyYoon.com
All thoughts and opinions in this post are mine personally, and do not necessarily reflect those of Carb DM or the organization.

3 responses to “The Diabetes You Don’t See

  1. Your words are so real & so moving. Thank you for being vulnerable & yet still so determined. Your strength inspires all of us!

  2. Well said. I remember complaining about being tired in class and my classmate told me I didn’t have a right to be tired because I didn’t have a newborn like her…I didn’t correct her like I wanted to by saying “my newborn , diabetes, hasn’t let me sleep a whole night through for 27 years”. It’s about time for a cure!

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