I had a conversation with a friend yesterday that made me think. We haven’t talked in a while, so I never got around to tell her about my diagnosis, but I was pretty sure she already knew through mutual friends. People talk and that is fine by me, I don’t keep my diabetes a secret. Any attempt would be futile at best, because it’s such an integral part of my everyday life.
Anyway, the conversation went something like this: ‘I don’t know if you’ve heard…’ ‘Yes, could it be you’re sick?’
And I surprised myself, because my first impulse was to say ‘No, I’m not sick!’. And that’s true in a way. I certainly don’t feel sick, in fact I’m probably in better health than a lot of my friends. To me a sickness is something like a cold, you feel bad for a few days and then you get over it. But I do have diabetes and I never will.
And that is the reality of life with a chronic disease. I like to think that I’m dealing well, but I don’t think I’ve quite grasped all the implications of it half a year after diagnosis. I got used to all the new things like testing, the injections and the number juggling, they are routine by now.
It’s the confrontation with familiar things that suddenly make diabetes real for me. Like going to my favorite Mexican restaurant and not being able to eat the things I’ve had a million times before, because I don’t know how to bolus for them. These rare moments make me a bit sad. It feels like mourning for the days when I just didn’t have to care about carbs, insulin or blood sugar levels. But there is no anger (maybe there will be in the future) and the sadness passes quickly.
So life is good and I enjoy the things I do, my research, this community and the friends I have. Everybody around me has been very supportive, asking lots of questions and in the case of a good friend even counting carbs for me. And at the end of the day, I feel like a lot of things changed in my life, but the really important things are still there and always will be.