It's World Diabetes Day! Have you hugged a diabetic yet? cuz I could really use one.
You were probably expecting my 12 of 12 today. Or maybe not, but I was. I failed this month and it's a shame because I love it when 12 of 12 falls on the weekend. Saturday, the only time I had to myself was when I was in my car on my way somewhere. 2 hour trainer ride at 7am in my living room, nieces 3rd birthday which was mayhem because nobody was ready in time, then off to Toronto for an evening of more hilarity and mayhem (read below.) Needless to say it would have been a most exciting 12 of 12 to date. Sadly my hands were full most of the time. Literally. I couldn't even reach into my pocket and pull out my iphone to take pictures.
So no 12 of 12 this month and no special WDD post. (though I DID make a T-shirt Jeff, don't fret, I'll post the picture tomorrow!)
Good things CAN come from bad situations.
I have type 1 diabetes and that SUCKS! For years since being diagnosed at 22 I would dwell on the disease and what it took away from my life. I hated that I was diseased. I hated that I was alone. I hated that for the rest of my life I was forced to manage a disease that is COMPLETELY unmanageable.
It still sucks, I still hate it and it is still completely unmanageable. The difference now though, is that I have genuinely and finally accepted it into my life.
When I started blogging and I was coming up with a blurb to write for my profile that displays beside my picture I wrote, "...and will somebody please help me fill my pessimistic diabetes glass?!". When I wrote that I remember thinking that will always stand true. I will always be a pessimist and I'll probably never let my diabetes allow me to love myself. Then one day, a couple months ago I was doing some general maintenance on the blog and I removed that sentence. I did it because after I read it, it just didn't seem like me any more. It didn't suit me. It occurred to me that I am NOT pessimistic about my diabetes any more. I don't dwell on the fact that I have a life-long battle with a disease. A chronic medical condition. I am living proof that you can do this. (With a little help from your friends.)
For someone like me to go from chronically pessimistic to accepting was something I could have never foreseen. I thought I would forever let my diabetes get me down, cuz that's just how I roll.
Since I started blogging a year and a half ago my life with regards to diabetes has turned around. It happened slowly and over the course of many months. There are a handful of key reasons. Connecting with a zillion other bloggers out there and joining the DOC was huge. Making some very close friends who I email on an almost daily basis (you know who you are!) has been heartwarming. But there are a specific few things that I owe it to more than others. I owe it to fellow D-blogger Celine for meeting me (a stranger) for coffee that one snowy afternoon at Starbucks. For turning into my real life friend and someone I can confide in, run with, cycle with and have long talks over wine and tea with. I would have never met her if it weren't for this wretched disease. I owe it to my recent acceptance onto the women's cycling team for Team Type 1. I never would have ventured this deep into a world of cycling and I wouldn't be on TT1 if I didn't have diabetes.
Lastly, I owe it to Connected in Motion. Another thing I wouldn't be involved with if it weren't for diabetes. Saturday night held a most entertaining fundraising evening of fantastic live music, games, and general hilarity. There just aren't words to describe what happens when you get so many PWD and their supporters together. I can't explain it!!! Driving home from Toronto at 1:30am my throat was coarse and my ears were ringing. I could BARELY stay awake for the almost hour drive (could've had something to do with waking up a 6am to get my workout in though). I had a smile plastered on my face going over the evenings' events. I met new people and old people. I got to see some new friends and I loved that. Got to watch people make complete asses out of themselves playing that dancing game. Definitely the highlight of the night! Though I REALLY wanted to win that jar of Jelly Belly's, it's probably better that I didn't!
I spoke with a man who was dragged there by his wife. They had heard about CIM through a friend of a friend (or something like that) and he really didn't want to go. He was very recently diagnosed with T1. We started talking about the insulin pump and some benefits to it. The conversation then just turned to talking about diabetes in general the way us PWD often do. He was utterly grateful to talk to someone for the first time in his young diabetic life who understood and was able to sympathize with how shitty of a deal T1 really is. It got even more amusing when my blood sugar crashed and I went low in the middle of our conversation. After that he kept thanking me for going low because it was the first time he witnessed somebody else suffering through what only he knew.
I remember telling him, I wish I had something like CIM or the DOC early on in my diagnosis. I wish I had the kind of support and understanding you can only get from other PWD. I look back and wonder how I even managed to keep going all those years. I know I was living but was I really living or was I just barely existing? I was not living well, and definitely not living happy. Everything has changed now.
Saturday night's Slipstream in the City event simply further nailed it into my psyche. That was it, that was the last thing to permanently instill in my brain that I am okay with having diabetes. These folks are simply amazing.
Please watch this video. It's a culmination of 3 years of Connected in Motion adventures. 3 years of type 1 diabetics CONNECTING and understanding and supporting.
Complete video and editing credit goes to Hank DeVos of Dreamsoft Productions.
Thank you to all who have changed my outlook.