What is it like to be diabetic?

What is it like to be diabetic?

My friend Stoner’s question about what diabetes is


really rang with me and I agree it is a very difficult one to answer. I did however have to explain this once before, and when you think about the circumstances, it is worth revisiting. But, my answer has changed over the years so here is how I answered it then and how I would answer the question now.


The circumstance was when I was 19 and I had proposed to my wife. It happened after I put a ring in layaway and my lovely wife had agreed (A verbal yes) that if we bought the ring we could someday get married. The reason I had to answer this question was because I wanted her to know. Sure she knew I was diabetic and sure we had been dating about 6 months and yes I so wanted to be married with Sheryl, but I thought in my mind, you know she needs to know what it is like to be diabetic. Or perhaps what is it like to be married to a diabetic.

I went to my place to think, the place I always thought about the answer to tough issues, looking at Ben the Bull (note: he is not really a bull but a Steer, I mean he is stuffed now but he was a Bull) and across the street from the stump to contemplate the answer. I decided on this general answer. Diabetes is like having a hammer hanging over your head. It is ready to smash you and someday it will. The hit is always different, sometimes small, sometimes big, sometimes it feels like a bug landing on your shoulder, and sometimes like a 3 ton pallet of bricks. When it strikes sometimes you stop and regroup, or you might not do nothing at all. Then someday it hits you once, twice, three times and when it happens you do not get back to where you started, ever. When that happens you go downhill and after that your life is never the same.

If that seems sort of bleak, it was and I meant it to be. You see the example in my life was not one to ignore and the time in my opinion was very short. I had to move life quick and I was not looking forward to many years on this earth. If Sheryl was to marry me she had to know the truth. I need not have worried really, Sheryl did not care about about diabetes, she was just optimistic and hopeful and really chalked diabetes up to something we would and she could, deal with. A couple of months later I gave Sheryl the engagement ring we picked out (in front of the Stump this time) and a few months later we were married and started our life together.


Of course today things have changed at least a bit. I never expected to make it to my 40th diabetes anniversary; I never could have expected to have two wonderful sons, be age 57, three grandchildren and a career finished. So things have changed. I can be more optimistic sure, but more important I now have forty years of living with Diabetes instead of two. So with age and my answer has changed.

Today I would say diabetes is a pest, it shows up when you least expect it and will not simply go away when you need it too. Take your worst inconvenience and multiply it by 10 and you get some idea of what diabetes is. It is out to harm you and you must never take your eye off it. It hangs on and will not go away and is never satisfied. There is no normal day when you are diabetic; in fact the only normal thing about diabetes is how abnormal it is. It harms you most when you take your eye off it and someday it will knock you down and it is unlikely that you will ever get back up. But it is not the worst thing that can happen. There are much worse things and much better. To me diabetes is life and yes I do seriously hate the disease, but not the life I have had with it.

So what is diabetes, it is a one heck of a bad ride but there are worse. I can and have lived with it. Sometimes I have done well with it, sometimes I have lived badly with it, but I am thrilled I have made it this far.

I wish I had been less worried about tomorrow and more about today. I certainly wish I would have seen more about the present tense while my sons were small. I can also say my attitude about diabetes changed a lot when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). When I was diagnosed with RA, I learned a big lesson, whatever I feared about diabetes, was way too much. RA put diabetes in perspective, and like diabetes, I know there are things worse than RA, I hope I never personally experience it. But who knows, another day another log on the fire.




Rick, my d-brother and sometimes partener in crime, thank you. I have often referred to my diabetes as a two year old. Whinny, demanding, attention seeking, sometimes cute, sometimes takes a nap, sometimes demand to be feed, and sometimes has a tantrum. No two days are ever alike in treating my diabetes, and sometimes I wish I could find a babysitter for my diabetes. In the end, it is mine. It has taught me very valuable lessons. For one, I never take my life for granted, and that, my friend, has made all the difference.



WOW!!! Your BEST blog Ricky. Awesome!

Wow, since I am new sort of diabetic, I finally decided that yes I have it, and am trying to control it, but what do you mean with this “It harms you most when you take your eye off it and someday it will knock you down and it is unlikely that you will ever get back up.” Kind of scarey. (By the way I’m not sure how to get back here to see your answer…computer challenged!! Maybe bookmarking this will work, lol!!)

I mean that when one has it under control be very careful. Even after 40+ years, I do not have the tiger under control. It seems to me, that when it goes out of control, then issues like complications show up and those can be devastating. Diabetes is a multi faceted disease, we can never really get comfortable with it, at least I have not been able to get comfortable. Every time I think I have it sacks me.

I guess I was led to believe that if you took your meds and watched your food intake you would be fine? Guess I’m kind of nieve. A doctor told me he’d rather have cancer than Diabetes. Led me to believe my life as I knew it is over and this is a 24/7 job. I’d rather be doing something else! Oh well. Thanks for listening.(I tried to post on the blog but it wouldn’t let me?? )Think Id like to blog, but not sure how, since I couldn’t even post to yours!! Where can you get a free blog, if you dont mind answering?

Beautiful Rick.