Making It Count
There are people who say that they wouldn’t give back their Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. I am not one of those people. While I agree that getting Type 1 has in large part influenced the woman I’ve become today, I would still give it back in a heartbeat. But I do wonder sometimes who I would have become or how life would have been different if the cells in my pancreas hadn’t suddenly stopped making insulin all those years ago. We’ll never know, but what I can say is that diabetes has given me a keen awareness of my own mortality - and that, my fellow pancreatically-challenged friends, has been a gift.
One of the inescapable truths about life is that you can’t get out of it alive. No matter who you are, no one is promised a tomorrow. We may not be able to control when it’s our time to go, but we can control how we choose to live.
When I was first diagnosed, I thought a lot about life & death. It seemed so cruel at 17 to be confronted with statistics about lifespan and the threat of complications, but it forced me to ponder some of life’s big questions. If indeed my lifespan was to be cut short for whatever reason – how did I want to live my life today? How would I want to be remembered? What would be my little dent in the universe?
I wasn’t going to wait for that elusive cure that I was annually told was only “10 years away”. I made a decision back then that I wasn’t going to live my life centered around my diabetes, but that I would make diabetes fit into and around whatever it was I wanted to do. That decision has served me well. It’s been a real pain in the neck to manage sometimes, but I can positively say that I haven’t let diabetes slow me down, and have done some pretty extraordinary things with it along for the ride.
It’s been 28 years now, and each year as my ‘diaversary’ comes around, I reflect on the year that’s gone by and how grateful I am to still be alive with the opportunity to have new adventures and use my life as a force for good. Some days are better than others, but I don’t intend to take any of it for granted.
What I know for sure is that life is short, and however much time we are granted on Earth – it’s up to each of us to make it count.
Mae West said it best: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”