It sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it. I think it actually is….mostly.
I’ve often heard people say that they’re glad they have diabetes because of this that or the other thing. Sometimes it’s because it’s forcing them to eat well, sometimes it’s because it’s getting them to exercise, sometimes it’s because they’ve met wonderful people through diabetes. I’ve heard a variety of reasons.
I’ve experienced those diabetes “perks” too – my diet and weight are better because of my diabetes than they might otherwise be, and I’ve met some wonderful people thanks to diabetes as well! I’m truly thankful for these things, don’t get me wrong. But would I trade them for a diabetes-free life? Honestly? Oh yeah.
It’s not that my life is a living hell because of diabetes – not at all. But diabetes throws some significant challenges, frustrations, and disappointments into my life – most significantly my retinopathy, which may keep us from having a second child and may continue to wreak havoc on my vision for the rest of my life. That’s a pretty big deal. I’m not going to pretend that I’m happy – or even okay – with the fact that I’m dealing with this disease and its complications.
That said, I think it’s important to find ways to celebrate the good things about diabetes – the successes, the conquered hurdles, the friendships, and even just the act of “getting through it”. I see a lot of this in the Diabetes Online Community and I think it’s great! No matter how much we hate this disease and what it does to us physically and emotionally, we need to find reasons and ways to celebrate – and we do!
One of my more tangible forms of celebration happened a few years ago when I reached my 25 year anniversary of being diagnosed with diabetes. It seemed kind of momentous to me and I wanted to do something to recognize the “achievement” – strange as that may sound. Given that the 25th anniversary is the silver anniversary, I opted to buy myself a silver ring. It has a tiny diamond in it and it looks like this:
On the inside, I had the date of my diagnosis (December 30, 1981) engraved. It looks like this (a bit blurry, sorry – my lens doesn’t like to focus so close up):
There’s still room to add the date that a cure is discovered. I left room intentionally. Hopefully that happens in my lifetime, but if not, I hope my daughter or her daughter does it for me.
Someday that space on that ring will be filled in.
And then we’ll celebrate!