Violet, of Pumplandia fame, has suggested that I republish my posts from Ye Olde Blog. This one is called “Perspective” and touches upon the delicate balance of diabetes and physical love.
My body constantly makes its weaknesses known. I am embarrassed that, after you kiss me and run your hands down my body, that I have to disconnect the pump and put a pump cap on the site before we can continue having sex. The spot behind my knees becomes sweaty as you and I make love, and I wonder if I am aroused and sweaty from the athletics of lovemaking, or if my blood sugar is low. I wrap my arms around your shoulders. After we lay in an embrace for a few minutes, you whisper gently in my ear, “Do you need to test?” And I wish that you could enjoy my body and our intimacy instead of asking me to acknowledge my body’s mistakes.
But I test. And usually my blood sugar is low. And you trot off obligingly to retrieve some juice. I know exactly what it happening, even though my eyes are rolling in my head and my mouth is murmuring nonsense. We joke about work and talk about the trite bits of our days, and the mundane conversation tastes like chalk as my hypoglycemic mouth stumbles through the sentences. You stroke my hair and prompt me to stay awake, when all I want is to snuggle into the pillow and let the warm wave of unconsciousness wash over me.
I am afraid to get sick. People look at me and think that I am completely healthy. They don’t see the masked outline of my pump in my skirt. They don’t look at my fingertips and see the tough little pads of scar tissue. I wonder if I opened up my body and looked at the intricate organs inside, would some of them be rotted? Are my eyes hemorrhaging from the inside out? Will I wake up blind one day? Will my body keep me from becoming a mother? I used to worry endlessly that I would become pregnant. Now I worry that I won’t ever be. I know they can’t tell by looking at me, but sometimes I feel hollow. And sometimes I feel sick. But I don’t want to show it because one moment of external weakness could change the way you look at me forever. You said you don’t think about the diabetes. I can’t help but think about it every day, as I casually try and shove it back under the rug. I don’t want to think about it. But I know how my life might end. I know that someday I might be blind or on dialysis waiting patiently for a kidney transplant. And I know that if these ailments finally hunt me down and take me, I will feel guilty for not taking care of myself. For eating those secret snacks. For skipping the injections when I know I should have just taken the needle. For cheating. For calling it “cheating” and not forgiving myself for mistakes. My adult life, when I become sickly, will be riddled with regret and shame. I did this to myself. I just didn’t know. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror every day and see nothing wrong. My luck will run out.
I hope I am strong enough to forgive myself when it does.