A Marathon of the Diabetes Kind

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I hate running. I absolutely hate it. I can remember dreading sports carnival season when I was in school. Although I never stood a chance in hell of making the cut, I still had to try out and run a lap of that dreaded 800 metre track. Despite how slow I was, every year I dreamt of being able to keep up with my classmates. I would start running. I would enthusiastically try to keep up with the others. I would be able to keep running for the first 100, maybe even 200 metres. Even though I felt like I was killing myself to keep up, my classmates just seemed to effortlessly speed past me.

And I was left behind. Then I would give in to my body’s urge to slow down. I would be puffing and panting. I would be able to feel the pulse in my chest, beating ever so rapidly. I would have to walk some of the distance. And if I was extremely lucky, I’d even get to see some of my classmates overtake me on their second lap. Eventually when I was the last one left on the track, everyone would start cheering me on, more out of pity than anything else. I would start to pick up the pace as best as I could, despite my body telling me otherwise. I would cross that finish line, and collapse to the ground with exhaustion. I could never go the distance.

I feel exactly the same way about my diabetes. Diabetes is like running a marathon every day. Except that a marathon of the diabetes kind has no finish line. I can’t slow down because I’m exhausted, emotional and frustrated. I can’t pull out of the race because I know I won’t get the results I want. And I can’t stop running because I don’t like it anymore.

That finish line keeps moving a little further away the closer that I get to it. There are the obstacles of life that get in the way, and keeping that finish line in sight seems nigh on impossible sometimes. There are so many points where I just want to stop running. There are so many points where I don’t know if I can dig any deeper.

But there is one small difference between that primary school race track and the diabetes one.

In a marathon of the diabetes kind, I am lucky enough to have a whole team of people who are cheering for me. Not out of pity because I’m in last place, but because they genuinely care. My wonderful family, for one. The family who believe, perhaps more than me, in my chances of a relatively normal life. And possibly even a cure at some point down the track. My healthcare team. My diabetes educator and my endocrinologist, who I know are on my side. Who I know I can talk to honestly and without judgement. The people in my life who care enough to ask how my diabetes is going, even though the question annoys the hell out of me! And the wonderful Diabetes Online Community, who are a never ending source of support and encouragement.

Diabetes is always changing. Diabetes is always throwing obstacles onto the track, in the hopes of knocking me sideways. But so long as I have people on the sidelines to cheer me along, that finish line will always be in sight.

Photo: A feeling of achievement while running my diabetes marathon at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney this July.

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