Diabetes Art

D-Blog Week 2013 – Day 6: I don’t paint, I don’t write poetry, I don’t play any music. I could sit and come up with something because I’m creative, but instead I have chosen to share a poem about resilience, the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like.

I believe we’re all resilient when living with a chronic condition. We get knocked down, we get back up and keep on going no matter what. Mostly because we have no choice, but also because it makes us stronger.

Invictus
by William Ernest Henley (1849 – 1903)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Listen to the poem on Classic Poetry Aloud.

Freaky Friday

D-Blog Week 2013 – Day 5: Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions?

This is a tough one. If I had the choice, I would prefer to have NO chronic condition. Mostly because the word chronic means it’s a pain in the butt you have to live with every single day and most likely has no cure. I thought about it, and the first thing that came to mind was hypothyroidism… but I already have that, got diagnosed when I was 17 and taking that little hormone pill in the morning doesn’t take much of an effort. But there’s not switching; instead I got lucky and got both. So no, I wouldn’t switch, nor I wish diabetes or a thyroid disease on anyone.

compassionThat being said, when you deal with a chronic condition and have the chance to share your experience and communicate with people who are going through something similar, I’m completely convinced that it makes you more compassionate. Being part of the DOC and interacting with other people who are dealing with diabetes has definitely made me more open, less judgmental, and more prone to walk in other people’s shoes. I’m less quick to anger when someone disagrees with me, and I understand we all have pain at different levels.

I’m the person who likes to help, I’m the person who wants to be there for a newly diagnosed patient, I’m the person who will never give anyone the pity look because I hate pity looks. I’m the person who will try to empower others and give them the tools they need, at least when it comes to sharing their story.

We all struggle daily but when we know exactly what that struggle is like, I believe it changes us in a positive way.

Accomplishments Big and Small

D-Blog Week 2013 – Day 4: We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you’ve made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small – think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered, making a tough care decision, etc.

Self-acceptanceI think my biggest, most recent accomplishment is self-acceptance. I’ve spent most part of my life being extremely hard on myself, or letting other people’s opinion of me affect me. I’ve let it destroy part of who I am to the point that I let others convince me I had to be different in order to be happy.

Truth is, the moment I stopped and accepted myself with every single one of my flaws (physical and emotional) I finally understood that I don’t have to be different, or think differently, or change who I am or how I feel.

So what if I’m overweight? That’s up to me to deal with and change if I want it to change, not because of what others may think of me. The more people I meet, the more I realize they’re looking way beyond my extra pounds.

So what if I deal with depression and anxiety? I didn’t choose it, I do the best I can. I’ve been dealing with this since I was 19 and yet I’ve managed to live a normal life. People who have judged me or given up on me because of it were simply not strong enough… not as strong as I am.

So what if I have diabetes, hypothyroidism, PCOS and can’t conceive a child? Well, tough luck… but this is what I was given and I can’t let it keep me from being happy. This is me, this is my body, I do the best I can.

I could go on and on, but one thing I can say out loud is that I may not like myself every day of my life, but I certainly like myself way better than I used to. And that, for me, is my biggest accomplishment.

Memories

D-Blog Week 2013 – Day 3: Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere…. your or your loved one’s diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share.

There isn’t only one memorable diabetes day for me. This condition has given me enough memories to write a book. Starting by losing my father to its complications, to being diagnosed in a bizarre way, and then becoming an advocate. But since I’m being asked for one memory, I guess I will have to tell the story about how I became a co-host for the DSMA en Vivo show… or just the first day of the show.

After months of discussing the idea with Cherise, we finally were ready to launch. I had already been a guest on the DSMA Live show, which was really funny, and I still listen to the podcast sometimes just to make fun of my Spanish accent. But being a guest and being one of the hosts are completely different. As a guest you can goof off, you’re the sensation of the show and people want to listen to you. As a host there is so much more to think of, and let’s be honest… have you heard the first En Vivo show? I personally think it was a disaster of sorts.

First my speakers volume was all the way up, so I was getting this horrible feedback that I had no idea of what to do with. Then it was so improvised and my first time on the “radio” that it all felt like talking mostly to the wall. My Spanish is impeccable and I tried really hard to come up with something good to say since we didn’t have a guest, but when I listened to the podcast I felt so much shame with all the ummm’s and ahhh’s.

As the show has progressed, I think I’m getting better at it. I still notice a lot of my very Colombian accent and I’m trying to come up with a more neutral way to talk. But that’s another story. Right now I just feel proud of what I do with Kiki every other Tuesday, and we’re seeing the results. I love having an outlet for my advocacy efforts, and I feel like I’m a valued member of the DOC.

 

We, the Undersigned

D-Blog Week 2013 – Day 2: Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate). What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?

My petition would be for schools, work places and the like to be fair and understanding about people with chronic diseases with diabetes. I can’t believe the amount of crap I read about people being treated unfairly at their work, or not being given the considerations they need at school. This year has brought more personal stories from friends and family who are either afraid to disclose information or who feel they don’t have the same opportunities.

I recently read a story about a girl who couldn’t make it to a school trip because, I quote, ” the school isn’t insured and also they can’t touch the girl if she has a hypoglycemic attack. All they can do is give her painkillers and a plaster.” Today I read another story about a child who can’t get admitted into a school because he has diabetes. I could go on and on about this kind of stupid situation.

Are we really just going to sit and see this happen, or are we going to demand educational institutions to get their staff trained and ready to comply with the needs of children with diabetes? Diabetes happens, it happens a lot, there is no cure, you better get with the program.

As for work places, I really don’t want to say much, but in my personal experience it isn’t nice to tell your superiors your blood sugar is low and having them treat it like you just need to sneeze. We need more education, and as patients we need to be firm… really firm.