This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.
Sometimes as I rummage through the many other diabetes blogs out there I come across a post here and there about how a person is grateful for what they’ve learned and the positive things they’ve gained from being diabetic; or maybe they write about the positive things in their life because they are diabetic. The first thing I do when I see these posts is to roll my eyes. How can you be grateful for your diabetes? How can anything good come out of being diabetic?!
But, then I think about it. I think, first and foremost, that sitting down and putting a lot of thought into how good things can come out of being diabetic can be a very therapeutic exercise.
So I thought I should do it. I should sit and have a therapy session with my diabetes. Let us see what good I can come up with. Let us get past my anger, fear, and frustration and see what possibly lies beneath.
Finding out how strong you are could be one good thing I’ve learned. I’ve had to endure a lot of fear, anger, frustration, illness. Constantly worried about what the future could bring. Losing limbs, going blind, heart failure, neuropathy, stroke, kidney failure. All the bad things I had to look forward to. I’ve been petrified my entire life; but I still was able to keep going. I still had hopes and dreams, I still tried to make a good life for myself. I did everything every other human being does everyday, and I also dealt with my diabetes at the same time.
Tolerating pain. I have no idea if pain tolerance is built in or if you grow it…probably a bit of both. With the pain I’ve experienced in my life, both physical and emotional, I’ve learned to tolerate it. I feel it just like everyone else, but I endure, I keep going as best I can. I live with it and move forward instead of letting it keep me down and giving up. Diabetes doesn’t necessarily make physical pain for all who have it, at least not at first. But some diabetics have chronic pain that is in one way or another linked to diabetes. I was one who suffered stomach pain often. My doctors never could figure out what was causing it, but I suspect it had something to do with high BG. I also had other pains throughout my life that had no known cause. Now I have neuropathy; now that’s real pain. In any case diabetes sure does cause a lot of emotional turmoil. You need to be able to deal with it or it will destroy you.
Medical knowledge. Boy have I learned a lot about the human body, disease, medicine, treatments, nutrition, fitness, etc. And not just related strictly to diabetes. Diabetes can lead to, and be linked with, so many other ailments. You learn a lot. If you want to be healthy, you might as well go to medical school and get a degree for all you’ve learned! You’d be shocked at how many times I’ve out knowledged real doctors about type 1 diabetes.
Go with the flow. Life is full of hardship, challenges, uncertainties. It doesn’t matter if you are diabetic or not. It’s life. You deal with what you’re dealt. If you worry and agonize over everything it’ll just make life harder. Go with the flow, relax, deal with things as they come. Don’t worry. Be happy as often as you can and cry when you need to let go. Life will all work out as long as you do your best and don’t give up.
Being able to be there for others. It is important to have people you can talk to. People who understand your pain and struggle. The best people to understand are those who have the same disease. From my life and struggle I have been able to share my story, to reach out to others and help them as I needed to be helped.
I will never like diabetes. I will never be grateful for a disease. But I’ve learned to make the best of a bad, bad thing.
That’s what I’ve learned from diabetes. Accept who you are, what you are, and do the best you can.