Friday, July 2, 2010

Who is This?

I find it difficult to relate to other people with diabetes. Wait, that's not right... I can relate to the people, but I find it hard to relate to their diabetes.

I read blogs where people talk about their lives with diabetes, and I'm overwhelmed by their... overwhelmed state. It's like it's ingrained itself into every minutia of their lives. As so many of them say, diabetes doesn't define them... but it sure does seem to shape their lives. Sometimes their entries scare me. Blood sugars of 500 because your pump malfunctioned?! Such horrible lows that you weren't with-it enough to trust the person trying to give you juice?! I read these and boggle. That's not me! They must be "brittle!" But... What if it is me? What if it's just a matter of statistics, and these things are bound to happen a few times in the lifetime of a diabetic? What if it's not happening now only because I'm having a little "honeymoon," and it'll start once my pancreas has utterly crapped out?

On the other side of things: when I talk to a friend who has had diabetes since she was 7, I'm in awe of how normal her life has always seemed to me... because I don't feel very normal right now. And though she and I have the same disease, we are in such different places at this point. She's such an awesome resource and I'm so lucky to know her, but sometimes I get frustrated about not even knowing the right questions to ask.

And I even have trouble relating to my own diabetes. A little over two months ago, I was just Elizabeth. Who am I now? I know I'm still me, but I'd be fooling myself if I thought a chronic disease didn't change me at all. It's like now I'm Elizabeth*, with the asterisk pointing to a footnote explaining all about diabetes and how it affects me.

But the thing is, I think I can get used to the asterisk... as long as it stays an asterisk. I would never have invited this into my life, but I'm starting to understand that diabetes is now a part of Who I Am. It's not Me, but it's one of the many, many things that make up Me. It's going to shape my life, but I have some control over how.

I don't really know this Elizabeth* yet, and that's disconcerting, but I'm starting to think she's an OK girl.

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