A friend told me recently that I am a model Diabetic. We were traveling together, and – as she watched me testing my blood sugar and injecting insulin before every meal; as she observed me carefully selecting foods and reading ingredient labels to maintain a sugar free diet – she noted that I was the exception to her experience with others in her life who lived with Diabetes.
I thought about that.
It was 28 years ago that I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and told I would forever require insulin injections, would forever live with the range of complications that high blood sugar creates, and would forever have to be ‘on a diet’… until I died – probably from one of the Diabetic complications. In the next breath, the doctor told me I would get used to the changes in my life, and it would come to be as easy as brushing my teeth. I wasn’t all that great at oral hygiene then, and his metaphor was lost on me. To me, it was a pretty big deal.
For the first few months, I was a model student. I measured my food; I exercised daily. I didn’t eat at restaurants because I couldn’t check the ingredients or accurately determine how much of what I was eating. I spent hours attempting to understand the mathematical equation of insulin uptake to exercise and food intake. I was a good girl – thinking somehow that if I excelled in caring for myself, my teacher (Diabetes) would let me graduate.. to what was uncertain. But anything had to be better than the rigid pattern it seemed Diabetes demanded.
It was the sense of loneliness and isolation that broke through my flawed premise. In the perfection of my practice, social events and parties were out of the question. Snacks, treats, and alcohol were absolutely off limits. And watching others enjoy snacks, treats, and alcohol… well, for me – a newbie Diabetic – that was torture, plain and simple. I found myself wedged firmly between the rock of a serious condition and the hard place of my feelings.
That’s where the learning truly started. From there to being a model Diabetic. It’s been a journey of the Spirit; a journey of the inner child within. The winding path of Self-discovery that I would come to appreciate and claim as a badge of accomplishment. Indeed (at the risk of giving away the ending; >), this is the story of how Diabetes helped me become All I Am. Stay tuned if you’re interested in where the lessons of Diabetes took me, and what I learned…