Dear Other People –
Even though there’s a lot of hoopla about which chronic ailment titles are best, and worst, I don’t care how you refer to me. And my disease.
A person with diabetes.
For me, it’s a big ole nothing-burger. Really. Because what it all comes down to is the heart of the matter. The heart of the afflicted.
I am me.
I am Darlene.
And yes, I am an insulin-dependent diabetic. Or if it makes you feel better, I am a person with insulin-dependent diabetes. Have been since I was diagnosed at nine-years-old, clinging to my pink teddy bear in a sterile hospital bed.
My disease isn’t the whole of me. But, does the label of it sway your opinion of me?
Like I already said—I don’t care what you call me—just don’t call me late for dinner. Ha! Ha! No, wait. Seriously. Because for me, being late for dinner might result in a low blood sugar (a hypoglycemic event where I break out in a cold sweat, shake, cry; where my brain is starved of glucose and my vision is narrowed to that of a pinhole; where I suffer a seizure; where I go unconscious because the brain cannot store glucose and nobody’s body can function without it; where my heart may up and give up and I suffer a heart attack—stuff like that). On the flipside, having too much dinner might result in a high blood sugar (a hyperglycemic event where I am thirsty, thirsty, thirsty because my body is trying to dilute the abundance of glucose swimming ’round my blood and organs; where I feel starved, but if my blood sugar is superDuper high, I am nauseated and I dry-heave, or I barf up great gobs of bile; where I have rotten fruit dragon breath because my body is eating itself from the inside out; where I get grumpy and hot and feel like I’m detached from my body and watching life from the bottom of a swimming pool—stuff like that).
Yes, my struggles are real. They are day by day. Night by night. Meal to meal. Snack to snack. Minute by minute. Too much exercise? Not enough exercise? Too much insulin? Not enough insulin? Too much stress? Not enough finger-prick blood testing? Too many carbohydrates? Not enough carbohydrates? Am I out of blood glucose test strips? Do I have extra batteries? Did my insulin get too hot? Is my insulin-infusion pump malfunctioning? Is my insertion site loose? Why is my continuing glucose monitor beeping? Again!
Like with any chronic illness-ailment-disease, the bearer of the condition learns how to best cope in everyday settings, in everyday situations. What other option exists?
Yes, I am an insulin-dependent diabetic. Or if it makes you feel better, I am a person with insulin-dependent diabetes. But I am also: brave and strong, yet sometimes weak and scared; a mighty warrior, yet sometimes a timid cloak-bearer; a wild woman with hopes and dreams, yet sometimes a shy girl with fears and doubts; a hard worker with a go-go-go get ‘er done attitude, yet sometimes a person who needs a time-out, a sit-down, a reboot, a rest, and a well-balanced snack, or an extra dose of insulin.
I am no different than you, except I devote a lot time, effort, and work to fit in with other people’s expectations.
Because what it all comes down to is the heart of the matter. The heart of the afflicted. So, let me sway your opinion of me as I simply live the best life I am given—alongside of you, living yours.
Darlene leads a simple life as a momma, teacher, homemaker, small business-owner, country girl, and a Type 1 Diabetes advocate. Out here in these tangled inter-webs she also has been a storyteller, photographer, and poet.