One of the hardest things about this disease is time: the time you could have spent preventing it, the time you’ve spent treating it, and the time you hope you don’t lose. Allow me to explain...
The Past: This is where a lot of unanswered questions lie for me. How long have I actually been diabetic for and just haven’t known it? Looking back, did I exhibit any symptoms that I mistakenly thought were “normal” and happened to everyone? (What do you mean, not everyone gets sweaty and shaky when they’re really hungry?!) Worse yet, was there anything I did that caused this? Did I give myself this disease? The last question is the worst because, speaking specifically in regards to type 1, there is nothing you did or didn’t do that caused it. Being an autoimmune disorder, type 1 diabetes just happens. Even though you know that fact and have probably been told it a million times, give or take, it’s still hard to let that question go and not feel directly responsible for your condition.
The Present: As I was making my seventh doctor’s appointment in 3 months, I wondered if I shouldn’t have recorded the amount of time I’ve spent at the doctor since being diagnosed. This thought only lasted for about 30 seconds before I realized how depressing it would be to know that number. Don’t get me wrong- the time spent getting my health in order isn’t wasted time, but at the same time it is wasted time. What kind of life is it when you have to dedicate so much time to being in dingy, outdated medical offices, wasting away underneath florescent lights? Call me crazy, but I want to spend as much time as possible living, like grabbing a PSL with friends, or shopping, or just sitting outside. Also, I’m pretty sure 78% of my mental activity is dedicated to diabetes: recalling and deconstructing blood sugar trends, carb counting, and general thoughts. Corny analogy coming at you: Diabetes is like a bee and my mind is like a flower- the bee is always pestering the flower, like diabetes is always on my mind.
The Future: I’m beginning to think that the easiest part about diabetes management is the present because you can immediately react to the current situation and move on, the past isn’t that bad either because there is nothing you can do but learn from it. The future is when it get’s scary y’all, all the what-ifs come knocking when I think about myself 40 years from now. Will I still be able to see? Will I still have to buy a left and right shoe? What about kids, will there be any? There is potential for me to be in really really bad shape 40 years from now (or sooner) if I don’t take care of myself now, which makes high BGs now a little more anxiety-inducing than they should be. There is hope though, because in the future there can be change, miraculous change. Maybe there will finally be a cure? Or, if not a cure, a readily available artificial pancreas that helps diabetics lead normal, healthy lives? Thinking about the future, for me, is the hardest part of all this because so much of it is unknown, from the diabetes itself, the treatment of it, and my overall health and quality of life.
We live in a world that, for the most part, is surprisingly indifferent to how time is spent. Hours are wasted on social media, watching TV, sitting in traffic every day without a second thought to how it could be better spent. As I sit here, thinking about how I’ve spent my time and how I plan to spend the time I have left, I’m determined to spend it wisely. I’m going to read things that make me think, watch an Oscar-worthy movie every once in a while, hang with the people who matter, and hopefully manage my disease in a way that affords me an ample amount of time to do all of those things.