I will never say I'm happy or glad to have diabetes. No-one in their right mind would. But there are some things about diabetes that I wouldn't feel or experiance without this disease.
I feel the strongest sense of advocacy and passion when it comes to educating others about this disease. I have a strong direction in life, one that I wouldn't have had without diabetes.
I can appreciate my health and my access to medical care. Before diabetes I thought a cold or flu was the worst thing in the world. I never considered how another person might be living, and how they would survive. I have insulin, so I can live. In another country, I would die a slow and painful death becuase I would be unable to afford insulin. Forget clean and fresh needles everytime I want to inject. The insulin pump wouldn't be a possibility either. Yes, I might get complications from my diabetes. But here, I have the tools I need to hopefully avoid them.
Mostly, I'm discovering more and more how amazing diabetics are. How much they are willing to give and to support each other through this horrible disease. I love meeting other diabetics (and I'm super excited to be going to the Brisbane young adult T1D meet up for the 1st time this month) and hearing their stories. Knowing you're not alone and that other people understand helps so much. So far I've found that everyone is happy to offer advice and listen to your D problems.
Through my diabetes I can collect stories I would not have had without diabetes.
Today I woke up at 6.30am, and actually felt like getting up. Early waking turned into a spontaneous mini-road trip to Caloundra. It was the perfect day for it. I usually hate the water because I'm a major wuss when it comes to temperature. But it was just right. After a short dip, I reattached my pump and moved my towel to a beautifully sunny spot to sunbathe. Lewis clipped to my bikini top. As I lay there, slightly dozing, Lewis vibrated. Pulling Lewis off my bikini, I held him high to the sky and cleared the 'Check BG' message. A small voice behind me piped up: "Look! She's bolusing!". Next thing I knew, 3 small children had scurried in front of me. Silently, the eldest looking girl shyly unzipped a belt attached to her waist (the whole time I was thinking, lucky shes not an adult man or I would've run away screaming by now). She held out her own, bright blue insulin pump . Her mum a safe distance away, we chatted for a little while about the big D. I was so amazed by her acceptance of her condition at such a young age and her want to reach out to others in the same situation. She made contact with me. She didn't care that she had had pancreatic failure far longer than I had, which weirdly, is something I always feel slightly odd about. I feel kind of bad for not having it earlier when so many kids have to go through it. Yes, I am a little crazy and my head doesn't think rationally most of the time. She was just happy to share her experiance and feel connected to another human being.
I love connections. She made my day.
Later my partner and I calculated the odds of sitting right next to someone else on that beach with an insulin pump. And who also came from the same hometown as us (Jervis Bay, NSW). But I can't remember the number he came up with now. Oh well.