I was already in the midst of a transitional period of my life when I was diagnosed with diabetes. It was my first year out of school. I was driving on my own. I was working my first proper job. I had uni assignments that I had spent way too much time procrastinating on in the weeks before I was diagnosed. I can remember sitting in the hospital cafeteria with my accounting book and pencil one afternoon, desperately trying to catch up. I had exams just a few weeks away. I was about to turn 18. And on top of that, I had a shiny new autoimmune disease to manage and hospital appointments to attend.
Needless to say, there wasn’t really any time for me to stop and take it all in. I didn’t really have time to cry about the fact that I would need to have injections for the rest of my life. I didn’t have time to beat myself up over what I had done wrong to deserve diabetes. There was so much going on outside of diabetes at the time, that I really just had to get on with it.
Since then, managing diabetes has quickly become a part of me. Despite the fact that diabetes is still only a relatively small portion of my life, it feels like I’ve been doing it forever. And most of the time, I hardly even think twice about why I’m doing what I’m doing. The insulin injections, the finger pricks, the terrifying night time hypos, the infuriating morning hypers, the carb counting, glycemic index monitoring, the binge eating, the blood, the sweat and the tears that goes into it all. Doing diabetes is like driving a car with the radio turned up. I can sing along to my favourite song, and chat with the person sitting next to me without thinking too much about the actual driving part.
I have never really stopped and told myself, “I’m doing this because I have diabetes. I’m going to have to do this every day for the rest of my life.” And for that reason, I can’t really say that I live my life hoping for, or expecting a cure for my diabetes.
Dad has been reassuring me since the day I left hospital that there will definitely be a cure. Ten, fifteen years away tops. Definitely in my lifetime. Mum is always cutting out stories from the newspaper about the latest breakthroughs in the diabetes world. We always rush to the television whenever we hear a story coming up on the news at dinner time. People who I chat with in the Diabetes Online Community are so damn enthusiastic about a cure, or finding one. Folks who have lived with diabetes for a lot longer than I have.
Boy, I bloody admire their enthusiasm. I really do. I wish I could get excited about it, but I just can’t. I didn’t even realise people dreamed up cure parties in their minds, because I have never once thought of that day ever coming. In some ways, diabetes seems like too much of a “business” now, to be simply cured and over with tomorrow.
Right now, getting my numbers more consistent during the night seems real. Getting back to a happy place with my diabetes management seems real. Getting a little more fit this summer seems real. Cutting back on chocolate seems real (okay, maybe just possible).
I can write. I can speak. I can advocate. I can raise awareness. I can exercise (hardly). I can eat (always). I can live my life, to the best of my ability and be as happy as possible.
But I can’t advocate for a cure.
But I don’t think I need to, either.
All of you seem to do the job a hell of a lot better than I could. You make the impossible seem just a little bit possible.