Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Victoria Cumbow & Shining On

Hi guys! I just returned from the Eli Lilly Summit last night and it was eye opening experience on so many levels! And I think it was really productive and informative for all of us in attendance and on both sides of the table. 
I have a lot to report back on regarding; Books (as in Cookbooks, Coco & ESPN & Hannah Montana,) Lilly, Lilly & the diabetes On-line Community & Social Media, but I need to gather my thoughts together and put them in a series of coherent sentences that form a series of coherent and tangible paragraphs to present to the DOC & the world - which is what I'll be spending my Wednesday doing.  And while I spend today doing all of the above, (plus work and laundry) the fabulous D Blogger Miss Victoria Cumbow has written a beautiful guest post straight from the heart! 
I know that you'll not only enjoy what she's written, you'll not only recognize a bit of yourself in her words & feelings - You'll find inspiration and hope. I know I did~

Hi friends. I’m excited to be guest-posting on Diabetesaliciousness today. What an honor this is. Kelly is such a tremendous advocate, and we are lucky to have her in our corner.

Clearly, I’m writing this because I have diabetes. I’ve lived with type 1 for more than 18 years. Most days, diabetes doesn’t bother me at all. I just live my life and do what is required to have a happy and healthy future. I trust God will protect me and provide for me, but I also believe He gave us common sense to take care of ourselves, too. (Like take our insulin).

But like any other person, I have moments when my morale falls, my heart sinks or my fears creep in. Yesterday was one of those days. After years of receiving a clean bill of healthy (minus that whole pancreas-beta cell thing), I was told I have the beginning signs of diabetic retinopathy.
I was surprised, and my initial reaction was sadness and fear. (I didn’t cry though. Someone should write that down and frame it. For real.) As I continued to think about it throughout the day, I remembered a post Kerri Sparling (Six Until Me) wrote a while back where she offered a judgment-free wall for diabetics to anonymously post their fears, frustrations, guilts and vices of living life with diabetes.
It was a sobering read. Each comment brought tears to my eyes, eventually causing me to wipe them away just to continue reading. Some of the fears mirrored my own. Some were fears I’d not yet considered. But more than my own concerns, the comments broke my heart because of how many people share those fears. Fears can be overwhelming and can be debilitating.
I thought of my own journey with diabetes, and I remembered choices I'd made in the past that could've turned out much more dangerously. I thought about the times I'd dismissed diabetes to friends and the times I'd lied about A1cs to people and readings I'd fudged to my mom.
Living with diabetes means there's a potential for complications and a potential for heartache. I didn't cause this to happen to me, and I can't make it go away. I can only do the best I can do to manage my diabetes while still having an enjoyable quality of life. But there are some things that are out of my hands, and whether I'll bear children and find a husband who isn't scared or intimidated happen to be two of them. Whether retinopathy will take my eyesight one day is another. Whether I’ll be on dialysis is another.
But you know what else? I don’t know if I’ll be in a car accident tomorrow either. I don’t know if my grandmother will see her 100th birthday. I don’t know if I’ll lose my job tomorrow or if something horrible and scary is just around the corner. None of us do.
So I’m making a change, and I encourage you to do the same. No more sadness or pity or sorrow. We can’t change diabetes, but we can surely change the way we think about diabetes. We have a tremendous opportunity to be a shining light for the next generation. Encouragement and a positive attitude can go a long way for a child recently diagnosed. I don't want to sugarcoat (haha, puny) the seriousness of diabetes, but I do want to be a cheerleader for others with the disease.
Sure, I’m 29, have osteoarthritis and early signs of diabetic retinopathy (didn’t you hear? 30 is the new 70.), but I am still smiling. I’m going to be happy and look at the glass as half full. No tears here, just hopeful optimism for the future. Optimism for my children and for yours. Yes, there will be tough days, and there will be more hurdles. But imagine a world where we don’t call diabetes a burden, but instead, call it what it really is – a less-than-ideal way to make amazing new friends around the world! (And to know someone who knows someone who is nominated for a Tony for her role on Broadway).
Victoria~Victoria Cumbow is a former journalist who now works in communications for HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala. She's an Auburn graduate, a native of Tennessee and loves anything outdoors (except for snakes). She's a trained JDRF mentor in her local community and an online Diabetes Advocate. Victoria is currently training for a 105-mile JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes planned for October in Death Valley and you can learn more about Victoria's ride here. Victoria blogs about her faith and her life with diabetes at and through Twitter @victoriacumbow 

1 comment:

Moira said...

I love me a dose of Victoria! Others who read this should follow her blog. It's great!