Thursday, December 6, 2007

What Diabetes Has Given Me

So instead of complaining about Diabetes, I felt that I needed to make a statement about the positive, (yes positive) things Diabetes has given me in my life. Let me know if you agree.

Diabetes has given me Humor. When I was diagnosed at the age of 8 - on Halloween and my parents anniversary no less, I don't remember crying, really I don't. I do remember trying to make my mom and dad laugh so they wouldn't cry. I remember spending 3 weeks at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia injecting saline solution into an orange and doing my best to make the other patients on the 3rd floor smile and giggle so they wouldn't be scared of needles; x-rays, and upcoming surgeries.

Was I scared? Yes, more than anything. Did I show it? No. I laughed at it because I didn't want anyone to see me cry. In my 8 year old head, I knew that my family was upset and that my diagnoses had changed the whole family dynamic. If they saw me cry, then they would cry and I didn't want to be the cause of that.

Sometimes at night, when the hospital was at it's most quiet, the tears would start to fall as I thought about needles for life and saying so long to my beloved Pixie Sticks and Peanut Butter Cups. But then I'd watch late night television and get lost in the magic. Johnny Carson and reruns of Hogans Heroes and Bewitched would make me forget just long enough to halt the waterworks and drift off to sleep.

When I finally came home from the hospital, I spent the next few weeks making my classmates laugh when it came to my new diagnoses. I did this in many ways. I would raise my eyebrows "A La Groucho Marxs" as I reached for my apple to eat in the middle of class, knowing full well that the substitute teacher has no clue that I was diabetic. Hilarity would ensue when she would start reprimand me and I would say sweetly, "But I'm a diabetic, I'll go into shock if I don't eat."
I would educate a whole school yard full of children on diabetes, by doing my Rosanna Rosanna Dana impersonation. It went a little something like this: "Dr. Richard Fader from Fort Lee NJ writes, Dear Rosanna Rosanna Danna, whats all this talk about Diabetes; what the heck is it, and can I catch it?" Then I would explain in my own way what it was and that it wasn't contagious. Thanks Gilda Radner - U taught me so much and always made me laugh!

Would I have a great sense of humor without the "big D?" Magic 8 ball says "Most Likely,"
but would it be as developed? Not bloody likely.

Diabetes had given me Empathy. I think all of us are born with a sense of empathy, but being a child or adult with diabetes most certainly hones that skill and allows most of us to be a good friend to all who need one.

Most kids who have diabetes, or have a family member with it, know what it's like to have a bad day. We understand the fear of not fitting in and sticking out like a sore thumb.
Diabetics become good friends and good listeners and these gifts last us for life.

Diabetes allows me to know my body's idiosyncrasies. I know when I'm going to be sick two-weeks before I'm symptomatic. My blood sugars run high for no apparent reason and I can start pre-treat. When I say pre-treat I mean, bolus and basal accordingly, get enough sleep, pop some zinc lozenges, drink some Airborne, and O.D on the chicken soup and
Vitamin C.

Diabetes allows me to pull myself up by my bootstraps on a daily basis, because Diabetes has taught me that everyone has issues and it can always be worse.

No comments: