I’m writing this to let you know that I am not happy with our current relationship. We’ve been together now for 8 years, and in that time, all you have given me is pain and frustration. I’m sorry if this letter hurts your feelings but I would like to get a few things off my chest.
In the beginning, I never really paid attention to you. In my own defense I was 20 when we met, and not very responsible. I knew that you were part of the family, but you were never in my face. You were like the long lost cousin that people mention at reunions, but no one ever sees you. I want you to remember though that YOU chose ME. I know my parents had a part in introducing us, but their parents and their grandparents also helped. It’s not like they wanted us to be together, but they all knew there was a possibility. And now that we have been introduced, we are inseparable. In any event, I did not invite you into my life.
I know that all relationships have their ups and downs, but honestly, the bad times always outnumber the good. I have no good memories with you. I try to get advice from others on what to do about you, and how to deal with you, but so far the recommendations just don’t seem to be working. It doesn’t help that most people don’t know what it is like to live with you. Even other diabetics cringe when they hear what I have to do to take care of you. I have seen specialists, taken all kinds of medications, and stick myself with needles 16 times a day trying to take care of you, and you never lift a finger to help me. It is all take with you, you never give anything. Well, I guess that isn’t true. You give pain, stress, financial burdens, anxiety, disease and who knows what other damage.
I haven’t done a good job taking care of you until the last year or so. I guess I was in denial, hoping that you would leave me, so I tried to ignore you. I did the bare minimum to try and keep you under wraps. Plus, I wasn’t really aware of how terrible you were being to me. My inattention let you run rampant. That was my fault, and I apologize. However, once I began trying to take care of you, you made me feel worse. Now, in addition to feeling physically ill at times, you mess with my emotions too. It’s like you want me to fail.
So I started to ask for help, I started to try to build a support system. But how well can a support system truly work when no one REALLY knows you? What works for some doesn’t work for me. And my friends and family try to help by making me “aware” of what I am doing or not doing, eating or not eating and they don’t understand how that actually makes me feel worse. They don’t understand that being the Food Police is just another way of telling me what a “bad diabetic” I’m being. They don’t understand that sometimes I just want to do what I know I shouldn’t. They don’t understand that I just want a vacation from you. It’s like you are a little birdie in their ear telling them exactly what I don’t need to hear.
They don’t understand that you make me worry all the time. They don’t understand that you sometimes throw me off despite my doing everything right by you. They don’t understand that even eating right and exercise and the medicine cannot keep you under control. They don’t understand that sometimes I just DESPERATELY want to be able to be NORMAL and to pig out on chips or have a plate of spaghetti without having to worry about taking care of you. They don’t understand that I know I shouldn’t have that tiny bowl of ice cream but I want to be able to join the group and not be hoity-toity and say “Oh- I can’t have that, I’m diabetic you know”. They can’t understand that you are always there now, stalking me, my every thought and move. Can you blame me for trying to ignore you?
You make me worry all the time. You make me worry about whether I should eat when I’m hungry or wait for you to come down off your high. You make me worry about what people think of me. You make me worry if I will be able to have children. You make me worry if I will lose my eyes, my feet, my kidneys. You make me worry about whether I should attend that birthday party, Christmas party or BBQ. You make me worry about traveling. You make me worry about every little cut and scrape because I don’t know if you are going to decide to be cruel and welcome infection, or if you’ll let this one slide. You make me worry how I’ll be able to pay to take care of you. You are so expensive sometimes and the insurance helps but it doesn’t pay for everything. And every day I have to take off because of you means less money to buy what you need.
You have been very sneaky and secretive- causing damage to my organs and raising my blood sugar without my knowledge. Over the years you’ve made my eyesight worse, my feet tingle, and I’m more prone to infection than ever. Even when I take my medicine, exercise and eat correctly you still choose to cause me problems. Why are you so vindictive?
I thought a pump might help get you under control. But I’m so resistant to insulin that I have to take more than the pod will hold. So instead of being able to change a pod once every 3 days, I have to change it twice a day. All because of you! The pod is as bad a child, it wakes me up in the night crying out for attention, it needs to be changed or it is hungry for more insulin, or it is too far away from the PDM and wants to get closer. Because you need constant monitoring, I haven’t had a decent night sleep in over 2 weeks. I can see that all the attention is making a difference though. You seem like you are starting to behave- as long as I don’t eat anything.
And by the way- broccoli sucks and I don’t like it. But if eating things that won’t feed you will keep you under control, I’ll do it. Besides, in this day and age, who wants to eat something they like when they can have crap they can barely choke down instead. That was sarcasm in case you missed it. You are pretty smart though, managing to survive and cause all kinds of damage at the same time while being so quiet. Maybe the government could find a way to turn you into a weapon since you are slowly poisoning me.
But in any case, I just want you to know, that despite everything, I am coming to terms with you. And
someday, I am going to have complete control over you. I know it won’t be as soon as I’d like, and I know that your treatment will follow me forever. I know that I will never forget what you have put me through. I know it is going continue to be a hard, long battle, but I’m a strong person, and even if I always have you with me, I won’t always let you control me. So in closing…
Dear Diabetes- You Suck.
I don’t know if this made you feel any better, but I sure feel better reading this. Sometimes, when we recognize what our true adversaries in life are, we can gather our strength and succeed. I am sure you will do this, knowing that your enemy quivers in the face of your defiant broccoli eating. I am proud of you. You are a true warrior.
I felt FANTASTIC after writing this. I actually did it a few months ago and then gave a copy to everyone in my family and my immediate friends. It was a round about way of giving them insight into what I go through everyday. Plus it was a subtle way of saying: Does this sound like you?! without being mean. It has made an amazing difference too. Thank you for the comment.
Wow! You are a fantastic writer! Very very good You nailed the nasty “D” right on the head.
Wonderful letter! I must say I agree so much and wouldn’t have said it better myself. Nice to know you felt good after writing it…because I felt pretty good too after reading it. Thanks for sharing =)
Since it has been a while since you first wrote this, do you have D under better control? I also love the letter and tend to ingnore my D also. Thanks for sharing it is a great way to express the emotional side of diabetes.
Hi Devon, I’m sorry you’ve had such a frustrating agonizing time. It doesn’t sound as though you’ve had a very good support system either (if you can call it that - only you know). Your letter to diabetes contains so much emotion that you needed to release. It sounds like you helped yourself quite a lot in doing so too. That’s super!
You remind me that while we share such a unique bond as diabetics, we also have very different experiences. I hope you continue you see amazing things come from it.
Wow you described it all so well I just found out a year ago at 32 and I am struggling to come to terms with it. I dont understand why I cant have the big plate of spaghetti or the big bowl of rice I have always had in the past. I despise broccoli and most vegis. And I dread going to social events and not being able to drink and eat with others. I know its a balance but its so hard to cope with now and from the sounds of it its just going to get harder and I think I will be on insulin in a month or so. I waited to have a kid and now that I am trying I cant help but think this is going to make that almost impossible. I hate the lectures on what to eat; I think I need to print your letter out to diabetes and pass it around as well.
Reading this was like reading from my own heart and mind. I too am frustrated beyond belief. Thank you for sharing this. It makes me feel a little less crazy.
That is amazing how you wrote exactly how I feel and think all at the same time,I could not stop readings seriously well done.
Dear Diabetes-You do suck.
You really took the words right out of my mouth. Thanks this makes me feel better knowing I’m not alone.
Wow Devon, didn’t know you and I shared the same brain Well done. Well done my friend!
I wish I had been able to write D that kind of letter a long time ago. However, I did deal with this relationship while getting counseling for other things. I recommend going the extra step of getting a referree to help sort out your disagreements if you are able to; D causes us so much emotional trouble-and still we’re married for life. Stay well, Devon; you are stronger than that @#@# !
My mother is T2 diabetic, she found out a few years before I did, and she was the one who recommended writing the letter. Part of her Diabetes Education classes involved letter writing and art as a way of expressing and coming to terms. I have to say, I have never felt better than when I wrote this. Just writing it was such a release, but being able to hand it off to my friends or husbands family who constantly make remarks about caring for my D was amazing. I recommend writing a letter for anyone who just has pent up issues. It really is cathartic.
Devon, thank you so much. I have had diabetes for 28 years and I never thought about putting those feelings into words to anyone. That is amazing.
I just wanted to take a moment and thank you all for your wonderful comments! It’s so scary putting yourself out there for the first time and the feedback I’ve received from you all chokes me up! Each comment brings tears to my eyes, it’s kinda like being vindicated. I feel so fantastic that you all not only took the time to read it but to respond back. Thank you all again for your kind words and encouragement. You have no idea how much it means to me.
Devon, I was so moved by your letter, I posted a link to it on my facebook. If this isnt ok just let me know but it just says every thing I never knew I wanted to say to all my friends and family. If its ok for me to borrow your words it would mean the world to me.
Devon, amazing piece. I did not realize that letter writing was a suggestion given in education classes (my insurance wouldn’t pay for classes, so I never went). I am fanatical about journaling, and assumed such an exercise to be sufficient, but your piece has motivated me! However I feel about diabetes is not what I want clogging the pages of my journal – I’d rather it go elsewhere.
Thanks for sharing.
GREAT LETTER! Know those feelings all to well! YOU GO!!!