This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.
I just turned 39 years old. 31 of those years have been spent as a type 1 diabetic. I have no memory of what it was like to not have type 1, but I do remember oh so well how devastating it was to be diagnosed. People who do not have chronic illnesses, or go through life-threatening illnesses and scenarios, tend to take what they have - their good health- for granted. They certainly do not understand the impact on daily life that chronic illness has.
I digress, my apologies, I am writing this post as my birthday post and here I am starting a rant about how people can be so ignorant and insensitive to the chronically ill. It’s not like we asked for it. We didn’t bring it on ourselves. It’s just something that happens, it’s no one’s fault… There is no cure…if there was we sure as hell wouldn’t choose to keep living like this!
Ugh, sorry, allow me to get back to my original plan for this post. As children we look forward to our birthday with excitement, joy, impatience. It’s our day, a special day all about us, a day for those who love us to show us how happy they are to have us in their life. But as we grow older we tend to dread our birthday. We want to ignore it, forget about it. It’s no longer a celebration of life, but has somehow become a cruel reminder of how old we’re getting.
Not for me, and I’m guessing not for many chronically ill people. For us another year of life is amazing. I made it another year! I lived this long with all my illnesses and this f*$%!@ up body. I am a survivor! I’m still going on. I’m still trying. I haven’t given up! These diseases haven’t killed me yet!
So bring it on! Let’s celebrate! I choose to be happy, joyful about my aging.
Truthfully, as a child and even up through my 20’s I always said I wanted to die young. I said this with all honesty. I didn’t want to live into old age with a disease that slowly ruins your body. All I could see was me, an old lady with no legs and a bad heart, and blind, unable to have any independence, unable to enjoy life, living in both physical and emotional agony.
It freaked me out, man.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Type 1 doesn’t have to destroy our lives and bodies. With the advancements in technology, medicine, and growing understanding of how to live properly with controlled diabetes, our risks of horrible outcomes are much less likely now. True they are still possibilities, no matter how well you control your diabetes, but the odds are in our favor. And the better care we take of ourselves the better our odds of a long, healthy, happy life.
I have way too much good in my life to let my health issues bring me down too much. I am going to grow old (so long as I don’t get hit by a train or something) gracefully and happily. What comes will come, but I will do all I can to steer the favorable odds as far my way as I can.
Happy 39th birthday to me!