Diabetes is the invisible elephant in my room on a regular basis. As a type 1 diabetic, I think about it frequently even if my friends, family, doctors, and the people I encounter daily don’t see it. While diabetes truly is an invisible illness, my blood sugars affect everything I do or even think about doing. My diabetes elephant is there all the time. That elephant does not take days off or breaks. So when such an important medical issue goes unnoticed by a doctor after a lengthy visit, I see a red flag.
I recently noticed these faint little crinkle lines at the outer corners of my eyes when I smile. They aren't deep yet, but they're ever so slightly starting to emerge. The funny thing is that I don't hate them. In fact, I'm kind of proud of them. They are proof that I laugh a lot. I realize that a lot of women are trying to get rid of these little signs of aging, though I think there are a lot of good things that come with age. I believe some of the best things about a person, is the life experiences they've had and the lessons that come along with them. I'm turning 38 this month. My diabetes is turning 20. Here are some things about my diabetes that have really gotten better with age.
There's a lot of focus on weight loss as of late; not only in the diabetic community, but in the world in general. New ads for gyms and products claiming fast weight loss come out daily, women feel pressured to lose pregnancy weight within minutes from birthing their children, thin models are being airbrushed until they are nearly unrecognizable and diets are being undertaken without people understanding how/why/if it's really going to be effective. Some of my own friends are chronically doing near-starvation diets to shed weight. People seem to be focused on getting the fat off, but unless long term habits are improved, it's not going to stay off. It's great to fight the obesity epidemic, but we can't allow ourselves to go to the other extreme. Carrying excess weight isn't a good thing, but I think we're losing focus on the importance of health versus aesthetics.
Many people go through times when hopelessness takes them hostage. Drudgery and hardship engulf them on a daily basis. Suicidal thoughts start creeping in. The only relief they can imagine is ending their life, quickly. They feel they can no longer bear their imprisonment. Then their mind drifts to family and friends, and to the pain their suicide may cause. The question becomes, should they continue to live in pain and hopelessness? Or do they commit suicide and create unbearable pain for their loved ones?
Diabetes is a disease that has affected my family and me even before I was born. This chronic ailment has put my family through some scary times. Times that no one should have to face. Diseases like these affect far too many people of all ages. Seeing a loved one suffer and feeling completely helpless by not being able to take their pain away is the most disheartening experience anyone can go through. Sadly, this is a feeling I know all too well.
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