As far as I can tell the above is fairly true.
I mean maybe you’ll find a natural wall, like a sand bar in the ocean, or maybe even a wall made by overgrown plants or something. But for the MOST part, walls are wo/man made. You gotta have a guy/girl laying the bricks, putting that muddy glue cement stuff, then putting more bricks and so on and so forth till you get yourself what we call a wall. No, this isn’t a Home Depot sponsored post or anything. It’s the best metaphor I could think of to get my “diabetes is like something else in life that everyone can understand” point across this time.
SO, “Why are walls like the D?” you might be asking yourself. Well first off, not a whole lot (High fives to all my Lewis Carroll that caught that blatant act of intellectual property “borrowing”!). Where the walls come in for me in this particular metaphor is not so much in my T1D itself but rather in how I chose to deal with it. How everyone in my life did really.
FIRST LAYER OF METAPHORICAL BRICKS
Those first few weeks back from the hospital after I was first diagnosed. I wasn’t allowed to eat anything regular. It was all light this and low-fat or low-carb that. These things, by nature of course, aren’t very filling and so I was always hungry despite adhering to an eating schedule that a train conductor would have been jealous of. I couldn’t even have more than one bottle of crystal light at a time. Despite zero carbs + zero carbs ALWAYS equaling zero carbs, the fact that they TASTED sweeter than the nutritional info would lead one to believe meant that I couldn’t risk it and was only allowed one bottle.
FIRST LAYER OF GLUE/CEMENT GUNKY STUFF
I remember the very first person that I told about my T1D after a couple days after I got out of the hospital. I was in Pennsylvania at the time but actually lived in Texas/Mexico (long story) and a friend from school back in Texas had been trying to get in touch with me by phone (this was back in the early 00s when middle schoolers didn’t have cell phones or texting and AIM wasn’t that big of a deal yet so when I say phone I mean house phone). I was kind of looking forward to it because I hadn’t been able to talk to anyone my age about my newly acquired T1D. So I call him up and tell him and the first thing he could think to say was:
WHAT! I’m not going to catch it am I?!?! You don’t have any other weird diseases do you?!?!?
That was the last time I voluntarily told anyone anything T1 related for the next 10 years
And my layers of bricks and cement gunk slowly grew up and up from there as the T1 years went on. Now I wouldn’t really say that my T1D itself is a wall. Yes it is an obstacle but it’s not one I asked for so I characterize it more like one of those naturally occurring walls that I mentioned earlier: something that is wall-like but lack a few of the wall-defining characteristics. Namely the obstructing of one place from another place in order to make them separate and distinct. I refer to that story about my parents and carb counting as a layer of brick because I see ALOT of Parents of D teens and children struggling with this very same argument. I know they are just trying to protect their kids from the dangers of too many carbs and sugars but I can only see it as limiting their exposure to the very carb-FILLED world. They aren’t ever going to be ready to take care of themselves if they have such a warped sense of what food and eating are. They’ll either be SUPER strict with themselves and not be able to adapt to a VERY unpredictable food world OR go on serial-carb-killing spree once they have the carb police off their back.
I see my friends rather douchey response to my diagnosis as gunky cement and a reflection of how society still has no idea what we as a community have to go through despite the growing prevalence of Diabetes. It makes me feel stuck in a place that I don’t like being in. A place between ignorance (That’s neat that your Grandma/Uncle/Dog died/lost their foot/can’t have kids…I guess???) and misinformation (namely from most if not every portrayal of Diabetes in popular media from Steel Magnolias to ConAir AND that tool bag Wilfred Brimley!). And there I am stuck in the middle, where I could easily inform people and set the record straight but at the same time am afraid to because despite knowing how their misconceptions are just that, STILL not wanting them to associate me with the TERRIBLE D that everyone seems to hate or be afraid of in anyway shape or form.
SO. These walls of mine. They did pretty much what they were meant to do: they kept me from having to deal with my D while still allowing me to resent and hate it while not letting me deal with it. IT WAS GREAT…..said no me ever. Remember how I said that the D itself was more like a naturally occurring nature-wall or something (sorry this has been a rather long metaphor and I’m trying to wrap it up). Just like your typical sand bar or collection of shrubbery, the D is fairly simple to surmount. You just GET OVER IT. You accept it for what it is, a bump in the road, and you just keep on truckin. Granted it can be a lot more difficult than that at the same time it can also be just as simple.
I, and a few of you I am sure, have the D. But that doesn’t mean I, or any of you, have to let it have us. Just keep on truckin and quit putting up walls (maybe even set up an umbrella or take a walk…for example). We are at such a unique point in history where medicine and technology have converged to allow us so many more options than our D fore fathers and mothers had. Hell I’m riding a bike across the United States! (insert shameless self-promotion here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/biking-my-t1-diabetes-cross-country/x/5447754)
Are you telling your D what’s what yet?