Mind, Body, and. . . Spirit?

An Angry Tiki Head

| Mar 2, 2010

When I was undiagnosed and sick, I was very angry with God.  I didn't understand why I was weak, fatigued, constantly thirsty and hungry, scarily thin, and mentally foggy.  I prayed and prayed for an answer.  I cried, I cursed, and I yelled.  Nothing.  For a year and a half.  When I received my diagnosis in a local emergency room, I felt instant relief.  Finally, I had an answer, a name, and some hope.  But soon after, the anger reappeared, this time because God had failed to pass over me.  I had done nothing to earn this fate. Why me? 

My first year with diabetes was a roller coaster.  For about six months, I experienced the honeymoon period, during which I didn't need very much insulin to combat the food I consumed.  Diabetes wasn't so bad.  When that period ended, however, I was struck with the reality of my disease. I was totally dependent upon insulin and my own abilities to test, count carbohydrates, and use my insulin pump.  Even though I was surrounded by a loving family and supportive friends, I felt frightened and alone. 

As my second and third year with diabetes passed, I grew more confident in my identity with diabetes, my diabetes control, and my approach to my health and life in general.   I accepted my disease and decided to choose living over existing, doing instead of complaining.  That determination and passion for living a life of both self-control and possibility stems from my faith.  

Raised in a Christian home, I was brought up to believe that God is good, that He loves me, and that all blessings come from Him.  There are no coincidences, just divine appointments orchestrated by God.  Those things were easy to believe when my life was seemingly perfect. Before my diagnosis, I was plowing through graduate school on my way to a promising career and enjoying my newlywed life, including monogrammed towels and lazy Saturdays.   I set goals, and I accomplished them.  I went to church on Sundays, read my Bible for inspiration, and believed that the world was generally good.

When I learned that diabetes was my new destiny and that there was no cure, only a lifetime of management, I was devastated.   Where was God now?  What was I being punished for? 

As I matured in my disease, however, I realized that first, God wasn't punishing me.  My disease has become a way to connect to other people with chronic diseases instead of living in my happy-go-lucky bubble.  Many people are battling health problems, and I have been given an opportunity to educate, inspire, and encourage others.   But this opportunity only came from joining the ranks. 

Second, diabetes can be a blessing.  Without it, my husband and I would probably not have chosen to build our family through adoption, and without adoption, we wouldn't have our beautiful daughter.  Her smile and her curiosity inspire me to manage my disease well so that I can be there for all her tomorrows and celebrate her life. 

Third, diabetes teaches me something useful every day.  Before my diagnosis, I thought I was living a healthy life. Now, with much more knowledge, I am motivated to continue learning what I can do to improve my health and the health of others.  I'm also learning to be patient, flexible, and cautious.   Diabetes never ceases to surprise me.

In essence, I learned that God is not my enemy, but my ally.  I was wasting my time and emotional energy fighting a faith that could help me calm down and focus enough to tame my diabetes. I combat diabetes with everything modern medicine offers:  an insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitor, a meter, a healthy diet, and plenty of exercise.  However, I realize that diabetes isn't just about one's physical well-being.  Diabetes is about living well from the inside out, and that means I cannot face this disease alone.  I need God.

I believe that the lessons from my childhood were not in vain.  They laid a foundation that has carried me through the darkest days of my life, even when doubts and anger overtook my mind. Though I will never understand why I have this disease, I know that a life of faith and the blessings that come from diabetes are gifts, and I thank God for that.

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Posted by Anonymous on 2 March 2010

You're so blessed to have such a full life and I'm happy to have you in my life. If you want to learn more about bringing the mind's power into helping alleviate your dis-ease you should check out Louise Hay's "You Can Heal Your Life." --Camille

Posted by Anonymous on 2 March 2010

I'm glad to read that you came to accept diabetes. That makes it much easier to deal with and control. But if there was really a god, he would not allow someone to get diabetes. And if a god did give someone diabetes, that is not a god to worship.

Posted by Anonymous on 2 March 2010

Isn't it amazing how such heartbreak can also bring such joy? It seems, diabetes has been your catalyst for positive changes, amazing growth and a new life's purpose. Hopefully, though, you will only be blessed with this one challenge (seemingly impossible and downright infuriating at times), right?!

Posted by Anonymous on 3 March 2010

What a wonderful story of the stages you went through but came out successful on the other side. You can live well with diabetes if you make a decision to do so.

Posted by Anonymous on 3 March 2010

Very inspiring article and not just for people with diabetes but anyone trying to live a full rich life despite obstacles. Thank you.

Posted by Elaine on 3 March 2010

Rachel that is a wonderfully written narative. I am a CDE and when my boyfiend (age 46) was ill for weeks last summer he was much relieved to get a diagnosis of diabetes (B.S. was 1164 mgs. in the ER). We both believe that God brought him through that experience to help others. Elaine

Posted by Anonymous on 3 March 2010

WOW...thank you so much for sharing your story with Diabetes and your Faith...very well said. I have had Diabetes for 46 years now and God has been in my life through it all(and still is), he allows these things to happen to us, accepting this Disease from the beginning has sure helped me all these years. I couldn't haven't have done it without Him. I have had a very Happy Life. Thank you so much for posting this.
Laural/of Gilbert, AZ

Posted by Anonymous on 3 March 2010

What a beautiful article, Rachel. I have been a Type 1 diabetic for 66 years and my faith in God has kept me blessed, happy, healthy and thankful. I, too, have two beautiful adopted children. I pray that God will use your article to encourage others facing a life with diabetes!! Sandy

Posted by Anonymous on 3 March 2010

Thank you for sharing your beautiful and inspiring story. I am sure others will be blessed by the sharing of your faith in the midst of this journey with diabetes. As I am growing and maturing as a Christian, I am learning that Heaven is not intended to be here on earth, and that God does not punish us with disease or disaster, but He is present with us to help us grow and grow closer to Him during these challenges. May you be richly blessed, and share those blessings with those who do not know God, that they may come to seek Him and know him better through the testimony of your faith.

Posted by deafmack on 3 March 2010

Thank you so much for this beautiful story. There are times when having this disease makes me so angry, but you have reminded me that God has a reason for all this and I need to leave it in His hands of course still doing everything to be as healthy as possible even with diabetes.

Posted by AnnetteUK on 3 March 2010

When diagnosed as a kid 52 years ago I never questioned 'why me' but after witnessing the illnesses and deaths of family members, relatives, friends I say 'Why not me?' My webpage is below. I am a Harvard/joslin medalist and in their 50 year study... hopefully to one day find the cure for children :) Not for me...I wouldn't know how to live as a non-diabetic :) ~Annette~

Posted by radhunt on 3 March 2010

GOD certainly plays a large part in our lives.My wife,children(5),grandchildren(11)also help.I think GOD has given me a great wife to care for me for 55 yrs.Still use
frequent testing and multiple injections.No sense changing a winning a winning combination
GOD helps,but the more we know about diabetes the more we wll benefit.
READ, READ ,READ !!!!!!!!!!!11
Hope to meet annetteuk at joslin some day

Posted by Ines on 3 March 2010

When my son was diagnosed with Type I at the age of 4, I also questioned God... why him, why me, why us... Now he is 12 and we have faced many challenging moments ourselves but we have learned together that his diabetes is not a limitation but only an ispiration to live better, eat healthier and enjoy life at its fullest.

Posted by Rick on 3 March 2010

such a beautiful narrative of one coping with this disease. live long and well. Bravo and Amen.

Posted by Anonymous on 4 March 2010

Why not rely on yourself and others instead of a god? Like I said earilier, if there was really a god, he would not allow someone to get diabetes. And if a god did give someone diabetes, that is not a god to worship.

Posted by Anonymous on 4 March 2010

Yes you are the Mascot of the Trpitaka laying groundwork of my future Diabetes Foundation: The Mind, the Spirit, the Body.

Posted by Anonymous on 8 March 2010

Faith is believing in a God bigger than yourself and this disease. I'm sad that my daughter has type I, but I am not sad for our newly adopted grandchild or my daughter's growth in her spiritual walk. She's gone through many valleys, risen to many peaks, and gone down many pathways all with God and her Christian family by her side. I continue to see Rachel's strength grow as her family grows, as her faith grows. I am proud of my daughter as she continues to faithfully move forward, laying a foundation of experience, celebrating life's blessings, and facing each day with new beginnings and hope for a healthier tomorrow.

Posted by Anonymous on 19 March 2010

What a beautiful testimony of God's Love. So many times we determine God's Love based on our circumstances. Instead of being conformed to the challenges that face your illness you became transformed by His Love for you and how to embrace your illness. There is nothing too big for God! Thank you for sharing. Romans 5:8

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