It’s almost November and this year will mark my 31 year Diaversary. 31 years of holding hands and bumbling along with my good old friend, Diabetes. A hard friend to get to know, but when I’ve taken the time to, this friend has brought me a lot of happiness, believe it or not.
To name a few gifts my friend Diabetes has given me over the years:
a strong will
a giant toolkit full of ways to pick oneself / others up from the depths of diabetes burnout
How will we celebrate my Diaversary this year, I wonder?
Fireworks? Maybe not with two new puppies.
Um. A large slab of Chocolate Cake and stay up all night to watch the blood sugar fall out? Hmmm. I can hear what’s left of my pancreas whimpering in the background.
Or maybe I’ll just do the usual and take a few moments to be thankful for all the different machines, people and man-made drugs which are keeping me alive? Yes, I think this . . .
And the Chocolate Cake too. Perfect combo! Give the machines something to do.
Here she is. I mean - it’s me, but I feel very separate from this little girl when I look back at old photos. This photo was taken a few months before I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I still have some weight in my cheeks and I look, well, like any 6 year old looks, with all the mischief and naivety I’d hope to see shining in a child’s eyes.
What would I ask you if I had the chance, little girl?
Maybe, I’d ask you this:
“What’s it like being you right now and how do you eat and what fun stuff do you get up to - oh, and what’s it like to just eat and do stuff - without thinking through a thousand calculations and rules and possible outcomes?”
She’d think I was a mad woman though. Perhaps not a good way to go if I only have one Genie in the lamp type question. Oh and there’s the whole scaring the sh*t out of a 6 year old thing to consider too, I guess.
Maybe I’d ask this instead:
“What are your favourite fun things to do? Tell me all about ALL of them. And how does it feel before and during and after you’re doing them?”
It’s better, right? I’m not hinting at the life-changing diagnosis lurking around a very soon to be turned corner. But her answers might help me understand how it felt to just . . . be. Without all the complex thoughts, the planning and the checking and the calculating and the correcting and the occasional thoughts of . . . despair.
It’s not quite it though. This is my one glimpse into life before diabetes.
I’ve got it.
If this were my only chance to get to know the me before . . . me and well, if I’m gonna freak someone out, do it in style, right?
I’d give her a big hug and this is what I’d ask of her:
“Tell me all about the fantastic life you have right now, little girl. I can see it shining in your rosy cheeks and your sparkling, wistful eyes.
Tell me all the things you love doing and I’ll come along with you and share in them, just for today.
And when the world changes for you down the road, and things get tough, just know this:
Fun and easy were never your true friends. The tough things in life are the best friends you’ll ever have. They are the ONLY things which help you to grow. Fun and easy are merely there to make the important bits seem bearable, until you realise their worth for yourself.
But just for today, let’s be 6 years’ old together and show me what it’s like to be the you before me.
And lets’ eat enough Candy to make ourselves REALLY sick!”