I forget how hard it can be when you are first dx’ed with T1. I think I’ve got my act together now, after 4 years. I’m also convinced my life is pretty different than most T1’s. I was 46 when dx’ed. The math says I will live over half my life without diabetes. I will never have to go through teen angst, courting a potential spouse, college life, job hunting, etc. I think, for the most part, I have it easy.
It’s certainly not so for all. I have a young friend who was recently diagnosed T1. We spoke for just a minute yesterday, and it was clear that his was a very rough day. Mostly school stuff, gym class, peers, that kind of stuff. We live in a small community, and support groups are not an option. Of course I pointed him to TuD, but that’s not the point of my putting these words down.
When you go through the mental turmoil, regardless if it’s after 4 months or 4 years, the world doesn’t know what it’s like. You are really alone. And all the support in the world sometimes can’t clear the chaos from your head, or the sadness from your heart. Not parents, not super-great CDE’s, not fellow T1’s. And I think I know why it’s such an oppressive force.
I have been talking with an old friend who has had severe back problems (to say the least). A cyst formed inside his spinal cord, necessitating high tech surgery. He has undergone the first of 2 surgeries. He has lost his livelihood as a pilot. He faces huge financial burden. His right arm will never function at full capacity. He faces months of physical therapy.
We’ve discussed the differences in our maladies. The one difference that always arises is this; his is finite to a large degree. Over time, admittedly it may be years, he will should a state of stable normality. As healed as he will ever be. The problem as solved as it can be, and it is not expected to ambush him again. We talk about this some. His spouse is a cancer survivor. Same thing with her. Their position is this - the malady is to be overcome, solved, and you put it in the past. She has accomplished this. He is in the throes of trying.
We don’t get this light at the end of the tunnel. We are denied. We are required to be ever vigilant. Every minute of every freakin’ day. It never goes away, it always sneaks in a sucker punch. We’re going to be doing this when we’re 50, 60 , 70 years old. The cure is not around the corner. Our disease is a ball and chain we’ll be shackled with forever. I suppose one can choose to drag it around and moan, or pick it up and become stronger as we march through life.
Back to my young friend - on some level I know what he’s going through. And I can be there to help in some small way. But I hope like hell he can reach down and pick up that ball and learn to run. You gotta’ have some damn strong fortitude to deal with our lot. So I’ll be his cheerleader, his coach when I can. But it just sucks sometimes.