I wonder what it’s like to just get up and go.
To walk out the door without fruit snacks and a banana, a vial of insulin and syringe, alcohol swabs, replacements for the two medical devices I wear, and a glucometer. To not ration out my medicine between the fridge at my work and the fridge in my home. To not have the same question streaming through my brain at all times: “What’s my sugar?”
Thing is, I do know what it’s like. I was diagnosed the summer I was 18 years-old so I had a hot minute of pancreatic splendor. I remember eating dinner at 10pm with my friends at sleepovers, and stopping for mochas after football games, and waking up at 10am on Saturdays but not eating a meal until 1pm. I never had a thought about the wonders of my body functioning at normal capacity. I was able to do all the things that a Type None does and I never appreciated it once. It never occurred to me.
Usually, people are appreciative of being able to walk, and talk, and hear, and see. We think of those “major” disabilities or illnesses. There are so many “little” ones that are not given the same attention as those big guys. It’s rare for someone to be thankful that they process carbohydrates at a normal capacity or can regulate their glucose stores.
It still didn’t hit me in the ICU when I woke from my coma and was told the diagnosis. I have type one diabetes. There is no cure, only self management. I have to take a shot when I eat, and prick my finger when I eat, and sometimes eat when I’m not even hungry, and prick my finger when I don’t eat, and also takes shots when I don’t eat.
Eating. Blood. Shots. No problem, doc. I got this.
I had about 4 months of regular appointments with an endocrinologist, nutritionist, and Certified Diabetes Educator. Soon after, I moved out of my dad’s house and was left to my own devices as an 18 year-old. I was on my own for the first time and lost in all the ways that are typical. Paying utilities on time, grocery shopping, and keeping my kitchen floors clean. Add to that, I was in charge of making sure I didn’t go into a coma or die every single damn day; and my parents never checked in on me. It was the worst time of my young adult life. I was in silent shock of my diagnosis until I was 21 years-old.
It is my life now. It’s okay that my purse has to be big enough to carry all my medical shit. It’s fine that I walk around the gym with a bag containing food, and a glucometer, and my phone, and my insulin pump walkie-talkie thing. It’s my life. It’s part of my identity. You can’t have a relationship with me if you don’t know about my disease and will look out for me.
I Am A Type 1 Diabetic.
I don’t want it, though. It is the thing that is always there. It is the thing that I want most to go away. A very unwelcome guest that I have to take care of every second of my life.
I keep pushing, and ballin, and all that. I just hope one day I stop wondering what my sugar is.
It’s at a steady 158 right now. Ugh.