Type One Diabetes. It can be unpredictable, it can be inconsistent, it can be uncontrollable, it can be unmanageable, and it can be scary.
Some perceive the horror of diabetes as purely the threat of complications. Diabetes neuropathy, amputation, ulcers, blindness, and kidney failure are plastered every place diabetes is mentioned. Whether it be TV or print ads, doctors’ offices or unsolicited information from the general public.
But for someone who puts forth even a minimal effort towards managing their diabetes, such as testing their blood sugar and taking their insulin, these scary complications seem so distant.
I will not be intimidated by my disease or the complications that may develop. What will happen, will happen, and if I am doing my best to manage this disease, I cannot control the future. But these complications from diabetes, are not what people with diabetes are really scared of.
Scary? Is being surrounded by people who have no idea what to do during a diabetic emergency.
Scary? Is having a seizure if I’m alone in my dorm room.
Scary? Is unexpectedly going low while driving because hypoglycemia is synonymous with driving while intoxicated as well as unintentionally injuring someone.
Scary? Is being burdened with stigmas and discrimination if you reveal such a huge part of you to the wrong person.
Scary? Is Dead in Bed Syndrome.
Scary? Is knowing I could pass the genetics to develop diabetes down to my children.
Scary? Is not having insurance or the means to afford supplies that keep me alive.
Scary? Is knowing that the rate of diagnosis is rising at epidemic levels and WE can not do anything to prevent it.
Scary? Is having to spend hours in the Emergency Department fighting DKA, and then not being able to pay the bills.
Scary? Is knowing people with diabetes are and feel alone.
Scary? Is not being able to control your emotions, losing control of your thoughts, and regretting a decision because you fall victim to a low blood sugar.
Scary? Is knowing a simple cold can turn into a serious and immediate sickness.
Scary? Is not seeing the light on the other side of this never-ending tunnel.
But you aren’t lectured on these kinds of fears. There isn’t a treatment or pill to relieve these pains. These are the fears that are seldom talked about and are discovered on your own without warning.
The fears that follow us around day in and day out, may deem us worthy of the title “dare devil”. But unlike traditional daredevils, we, unfortunately, don’t seek out fear or adrenaline, we succumb to them. We do not thrive off of these fears, they can paralyze us. These are not thrilling-adrenaline-inducing fears people enjoy. These are the gut-wrenching-keep-you-up at night kind of fears that can consume your life if you let them. It’s the kind of fear that no one knows about because it is hidden from everyone on the outside. We did not choose this fear but none the less we stare these horrors right in the face everyday.
Somehow we muster up the strength we didn’t know we had to conquer the unconquerable. We find the fight within us to EDUCATE ourselves and FIND SUPPORT in others, to not let fear be the puppet masters of our lives. We live life unscathed by this fear knowing that the fears we face today, will be the fears we face tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives. This takes more strength, courage, determination, and faith than any dare devil can ever know.
Bob Marley sums it up best with his quote, “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.”