I have diabetes.
If you know me in real life, you probably know that. You’ve probably seen me testing my blood glucose or giving myself insulin. If you’re “lucky,” you might have heard me say stupid/funny things when I’m hypoglycemic. You may have also had occasion to fret over me once or twice. (Sorry!)
I don’t like to make a big deal about it. It’s usually not an overwhelming hardship to live with it — although I certainly wish I didn’t have it. Nor is it any great accomplishment to thrive with a chronic illness either.
But I’m less than two months away from a large milestone — ten years since my diagnosis — so I’m going to write a bit about it over the next couple months.
So far, as I contemplate ten years with diabetes, the universe hasn’t opened up to reveal any secrets about life, at least not as far as I can tell. Or maybe it has, and I just haven’t noticed. Because, all things considered, life with a chronic disease doesn’t seem much different than healthy life: They’re both extraordinarily normal.
For example, since my diagnosis, here’s a little bit of what I’ve done:
- Tried to be the best husband and kitty-dad that I can
- Grew into a career, becoming (I hope) pretty good at it
- Traveled to India, London, and Paris
- Ran a 10-K in under 48 minutes
- Rode my bicycle for more than three hours at a stretch
- Backpacked in Canyonlands National Park
- Traveled all over for business
- Tutored fourth graders in math
- Watched baseball games at twenty-two different major league baseball parks
- Earned a masters degree
- Hiked up five mountains
- Photographed in about a quarter of the towns in the Commonwealth
Basically, these are all things that (I suspect) I would have done even if I didn’t have diabetes. Some of them have certainly been harder, especially the exercise related accomplishments. (On several occasions I haven’t felt comfortable going for a run or a ride because my blood sugar numbers were too low or I had just given myself some insulin. But then again, I know I’ve also used my illness as an excuse for not exercising, as well.)
So I’m still contemplating how diabetes has changed me, what kind of person it’s making me, how I actually feel about it. I’ll be writing more about that here.