World Diabetes Day is Nov 14th–and how do I feel about that?
World Diabetes Day is not something I’d admit giving much thought to, but then I clicked on a few links to read about so many people’s efforts trying corral awareness about the epidemic of diabetes in the U.S. and around the globe. Most of the planned activities and information is about Type 2. That’s not me, I thought. But scanning the Twitter postings, I still gasped when I read this mind-boggling projection: It is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans will get Type 2 diabetes by 2050.
Wow! That means that of nearly every family I know, one member of that family to whom I’m connected by blood or friendship will become diabetic. Of course, these projected stats are really pointed toward adults in their 30’s and older. But where I live in New Mexico, even now there is an epidemic of young people being diagnosed with Type 2 in their teens! In the last decade, the number of Hispanics and Native Americans succumbing to diabetes has opened an equal opportunity door to admit every ethnicity you can name.
Many of these new diabetics have to go on insulin. And despite the life-lengthening promise of insulin, it has a darker side. I know about that side because I’ve been taking insulin either through single daily injections, twice daily injections, four times-a-day injections, five-times-a-day injections, extra when-I’ve-been-sick-with-the-flu injections, and 24/7 insulin-delivered-through-a-pump “injections” for an unbelievable 46 years and 7 months. So despite its helpful properties to keep me going, it’s definitely not a cure for diabetes.
Just for the sake of having some admittedly distorted fun, I converted the length of time I’ve been taking insulin to try to ward off the evil complications of diabetes. That calculates to approximately 17,045 days or 2,435 weeks I’ve had the dubious honor of living with diabetes. Today, my blood sugar’s a little on the high side, and I am sitting here with time on my hands, waiting for the extra insulin I just took to help lower it. But who’s counting?!?
In a further push toward masochism, my curiosity got the better of my self-control (always my nemesis, anyway) which warned me not to proceed in this direction, so I then tried to determine the number of insulin injections I’ve taken over 46 years and 7 months. In just the first 15 years of having diabetes, my average was 22,000 insulin injections! That’s a human pincusion, for goodness sake; a government war-time experiment gone wrong, of sorts . . .
And how many shots have I taken in the remaining 28 years? Hmmm–impossible to calculate, as I’ve been on an insulin pump that delivers insulin to me 24/7. That is, when it doesn’t clog up, run down, get detached from my body for water sports, or been set aside the relatively few times I’ve been hospitalized and on a scene-stealing I.V.
All of this amounts to a staggering impact on just one person’s life circle. So the growing epidemic is, indeed, mind-boggling in its menacing march. Beyond my grumblings about who might be responsible for this plight and my occasional epithats at the obstacles thrown at me, I still have to laugh at the craziness of it all, the ups and downs, the behaviors and scenes engendered by diabetes. What other choice is there? Usually, the laughter restores me, keeping me sane from the worry than can be so consuming.
Yet it’s interesting that I also feel a sense of honor–appreciation, if you will–to be in relatively good health after so many years grappling with this demanding disease. To live through a challenging experience usually brings deeper understanding, compassion, and a skill-set many others need. It is my hope to share these lessons and understandings along the road toward conquering diabetes–in spite of and because of it all.
So World Diabetes Day, bring it on! I hope the team players win this one.
B well, b happy. Stare those demons down . . . and laugh just a little.
Until next time, kath