A matter of self-pride

The newest addition to my daily wardrobe

Something’s been happening lately. Something I can’t quite explain.

I’ve become proud to have diabetes.

And it’s not just because I left my endocrinologist’s office three Fridays ago with an A1C that was seven-tenths of a percent lower than it was the previous time

And it’s not just because I’m a beneficiary (in a sense) of the hundreds of thousands of people walking through cities and campuses across the United States, raising money and awareness.

And, believe it or not, it’s not even because I was given a Best of the ‘Betes Blog award last month. (Thanks to whoever nominated me, but seriously, people, you’ve got to give someone else a chance! I implore you: flood the BBB email and Twitter accounts with nominations; there are so many great d-blogs to choose from!)

Something about having diabetes is making me proud. It makes me want to shout from the rooftops that, despite my pancreas giving up on me thirty-one years ago, I’m still going strong. (No, I have no real plans to do that, but if any other tricenarians do, I just might join you). I’ve been through a lot in those years, and when life throws something at me these days, I shrug it off with a Hmmph, I can take it attitude.

It’s like I’m part of an exclusive club. A club that has our own secret lingo, where basal has nothing to do with herbs (and neither does “getting high”). A club that routinely licks blood from our own fingertips and gets inexplicable joy from the number 100 (or for folks outside of the U.S., 5). Our club considers flatlining a good thing, and appreciates the difficulty of achieving a no-hitter. We are privileged to know “how hard it is to…” or “how it feels when…”, which is something that simply cannot be explained to outsiders. I’ve never really been a part of anything exclusive. But with this, I am. That’s kinda cool. (Cue mental video: 1987. Me and a group of kids march across the lawn at Camp Nejeda, taunting the “regular people” with a spontaneous chant: “We’ve got diabetes, and we’re not sharing!”)

So lately, I’ve been “out there” a bit more. Wearing my hat and (now) my new blue bracelet most of the time. Sometimes wearing my pump or sensor where someone might see it. These days, diabetes isn’t just something I have, but it does define who I am. That’s because I’m letting it define me. Living with diabetes for this long has been a real accomplishment, and it makes me feel like a champion. True, I may be more the caliber of an Al Bundy-Polk High kind of champion than an Eli Manning-Super Bowl champion, but it’s good enough for me.

And no, I’m not perfect. Far from it, actually (I write this as I give a correction bolus). But if I look at everything I have done right, rather than the things I haven’t done right, the list is pretty damn impressive.

I don’t know how long this whole pride thing will last. I suppose someday I’ll tire of the optimism and the advocacy, and diabetes will once again become a pain-in-the-ass disease that I resent with every fiber of my being. I’ll do what I have to do to stay alive, but nothing more. Because, although I’m proud of how I live with it, diabetes itself is something I would gladly do without, hence the message on my hat and bracelet.

But for now, I’ve got it, and I’m making the best of it. I’m proud of who I am.

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Posted on October 8, 2012, in Diabetes, Personal. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Beautiful post! I figure that the pain-in-the-ass disease isn’t going anywhere for now, so I’m just glad that it can give up some the space it occupies to the optimism and the advocacy of the diabetes online community.

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  2. The point of pride for me is that I keep struggling with it every day and that I’m continually learning more about how to deal with it In a way, I recognize that I don’t deal well with a struggle unless I’m a little mad– so here’s to staying a little angry.

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  3. I love this, Scott. I love that we can acknowledge how hard we work on taking care of ourselves.

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  4. Love it. And I’ve felt the same way since finding the DOC earlier this year. I also find myself wearing my pump where it’s more visible. And I’ve been waring my YCDT bracelet that Kim sent me — haven’t taken it off once 🙂 Same with my medical bracelet (should be a no brainer, but I went YEARS without wearing it). And I love the part about licking blood from our finger tips. I do that all the time and this weekend, my 11 yr old stepdaughter asked me why I do that. I had no good answer, other than to say “to get the blood off.” lol

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  5. Ride the wave of love and advocacy as long as you can. No sense wondering how long it will last or what it all means.
    thanks for sharing this, It means a lot.

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  6. Fabulous, Scott. Thanks for writing what I have been feeling!

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  7. Yes! Lately I have two favorite shirts: the Big Blue Test shirt and the Every Day I’m Bolusin shirt. I don’t care where or when I wear them. It’s sort of like an inside joke and if I get questions, I’m happy to let others in on it. DOC for the win!

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