There's been a lot of people writing, in light of recent news of children dying of diabetes, that diabetes is a terrible horrible thing that should never ever be funny. Or laughed at. Or made art out of.
I don't say anything to them, because they are speaking from the depths of their emotions.
But this is my truth: I have diabetes. Although there are treatments that may make living with diabetes a very different kettle of fish sometime in the next ten years, there is nothing on the horizon that is likely to make it go away.
I did not choose to have diabetes but it is here for the long haul.
I can focus on the worst parts of it. I can decide that every shot is an injustice that I should not have to endure, I can get mad at my brother for being scared of catching diabetes, I can get mad at the world. I could obsess on how horrible it would be to go blind, or die young or any number of complications. I could live angry.
I could also pretend that everything is normal. I could just take my shots 4 times a day, check my blood sugar 4 times a day, make dosage adjustments only at endo visits, and assume that everything is going well.
I could even go into total denial. I could decide that everything is too horrible to be faced, never check my blood sugar, and go in and out of DKA.
I could probably do what most people do and treat it as a frustrating chore.
But this is not what I do. I went into diabetes with the belief that almost all experiences have something of value in them. I struggled mightily with the realization that sometimes I am really bummed and scared of what is to come. But mostly I tried to find the value.
I look for diabetes humor. I look for diabetes art (and occasionally make some). I look for diabetes pride. I look for studies that show that diabetes does something, anything, good (it does- I gotta use some of those studies for facts later this month).
And I face my fears head on. I look at complications and I say, well, okay, if that happens, let's see what that would be like. Because I must be able to find something good in that too. I read about diabetes. A lot. I read about complications, causes, mechanisms. I read stories.
I look for the community. I look for where I fit.
Sometimes I am sad and
sometimes I am mad and
sometimes I am fascinated and
sometimes I am amused and
sometimes I just am and
sometimes I am happy.
I try to dwell on the happy.
Because I will probably be living with diabetes for a long time yet, and I intend to make it the best life I can.
Fact: Insulin does more than act as a channel for glucose to leave the blood stream and go into cells- it serves as signal to alpha cells that they should not be releasing glucagon.
In cystic fibrosis related diabetes as well as in full blown (as opposed to early stage, honeymooning) autoimmune type 1 diabetes, but not in type 2 diabetes, the alpha cells release a larger amount of glucagon most of the time, release a bolus of glucagon at meal times, and do not release glucagon at times of hypoglycemia.