I have come a long way in the last 12 years. Living with Type 1 Diabetes hasn't been easy, but living with it has made me, and, for this, I am grateful. (Mind you, I write this after having experienced the worst period of diabetes burnout in years.)

Yes... diabetes has defined me - although it is not the only thing that has. There's no escaping this. Type 1 Diabetes was thrown upon me and it has undoubtedly left its mark. I have finally come to acknowledge this once-discomforting thought. What I once saw as a terrifying prospect (the idea that diabetes has the power to define me) has now become an opportunity to reflect.

Having pondered how type 1 diabetes has influenced my character, here's what I've come up with:

* it has given me a sense of my mortality from a young age;
* it has given me a sense of gratitude;
* it has given me a sense of mission;
* it has increased my compassion for others, especially those living with other invisible conditions or chronic illnesses;
* it has forced me to delve deep within myself, rather than flee from my deepest fears.

All of these things are an integral part of the person I am today. If I hadn't been diagnosed, I doubt that I would've been the same person. It is this conclusion that has allowed me to accept my diabetes as an important part of who I am.

I'd like to conclude by asking you some questions (it's up to you whether or not you respond): How has diabetes influenced you? Has it influenced you for better or for worse? If you hadn't been diagnosed, how might your life story have turned out?

Stay strong!
James

NOTE: If you want to read from me, you can read my main blog here: http://t1dme.wordpress.com/

Views: 120

Tags: Inspiration, Introspection, Personal, Reflection, t1d

Comment by Wyche on December 28, 2013 at 5:15pm

In all honesty, I don't remember not ever having diabetes. I was diagnosed back in 1958 at the tender age of 2 years old. My younger sister was diagnosed 4 years later at the age of 4. I don't think I ever made it who I was, it was just part of who I am, like having blue eyes and brown hair. I remember being ashamed to be diabetic in my teens, just not wanting to be different. I know how it feels to have a hypoglycemic reaction in public and have people stare at you and not help because they think you are drunk or on drugs. I have also been a part of all the positive changes that have developed in the treatment of type 1. I remember watching my mother place my glass syringe and stainless steel needle in a sterilizer before she could give me my insulin shot every morning. I remember using a test tube with drops of urine, water and a tablet to test for how much sugar I might be spilling. (Very inaccurate compared with today.) For me it is just part of what makes up who I am. One of the most important ways being diabetic has influenced me is to make the best choices I can and to realize that nothing is perfect.

Comment by Kathy on December 29, 2013 at 7:53am

I admire you strength and insight, James.
Because I have been with TD since its inception, I feel that I am among friends and can be honest and say that I feel diabetes made me an embittered and angry person.
I was diagnosed in 1974 at age 20 and had grown up seeing many members of my extended family die long slow deaths from it. I lived every post diagnosis day consumed with, and paralyzed by fear.
Today, 40 years later, I guess I've sort of come to a reluctant acceptance of it. I have multiple complications but manage to live a reasonably active and productive life.
My best wishes to you.

Comment by shoshana27 on December 29, 2013 at 9:02am

dear james i thanked you for your blogs which i read & enjoyed very much but where is it?
so here it is again:
HI JAMES, I DID NOT GIVE UP, I READ ALL YOUR BLOGS & ENJOYED THEM VERY VERY MUCH.
YOU ARE A WONDERFUL WRITER.
I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST.
SHOSHANA.
T1 77 YEARS.
p.s. i saw your grammatical errors but that's o.k.
WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES
DON'T WORRY.

Comment by Doris D on December 29, 2013 at 11:15am

oh it has made me a much better person. like shosh says we all make our mistakes god knows I have having had d for 40 years now. GREAT ATTITUDE!

Comment by daydreamer630 on January 2, 2014 at 5:46pm

Wow, that was pretty moving. I've kind of found myself in burnout mode once again and this blog was just what I needed to read! I have that bad habit of looking at the negative qualities of Diabetes, I never really thought about there being any good from it.
I think diabetes has ultimately made me a better person. I was diagnosed very young so I don't remember a time it wasn't a part of me. I too realize life is VERY fragile, so I've decided to try everything I can from food to hobbies. Something that having diabetes has really done, is help me connect with others that are hurting and just need a friend. I absolutely love helping others! It's also allowed me to be more forgiving. Life's too short to dwell on what someone has done to me.
So, thank you sir for helping me look at the better side of things. Felt good saying something positive about something I treat so negatively.

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