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Diaries of a Diabetic Girl.

The last time I cracked the binding on these journals was back in 2009, when I was cleaning out the apartment I was living in at the time.  I happened upon them again last night, while searching for something in the attic.  (I never found what I was looking for up there, but I did come down with a bunch of stuff I wasn’t looking for.  Going into the attic is like going to Target.)

As I wrote a few years ago, these journals span the better part of ten years, starting from when I was about eight years old and going into my junior year of college.  They’re old, and tattered, and it’s fun to flip through them and see what was top-of-mind for a ten year old.  In the earlier journals, diabetes is rarely mentioned.  There are mentions of attending Clara Barton Camp, but nothing really specific about diabetes or insulin injections or any of the tasks I knew I was tending to at the time.  (I was busy being “just a kid” and not “a kid with diabetes,” which is the kind of childhood I was happy to have.)

But one entry, from back in 1999 when I was in college, talks exclusively about diabetes, and the period of burnout I was in.

“I have been diabetic for 13 years (this September) and I don’t know if I’ve taken the best care of myself.  I have eaten a lot of the wrong things.  I don’t exercise enough.  Even though I still test, I am reluctant to test and last week, I saw a 50 and a 350 in the same day.  Not okay.  I hate taking my insulin shot.  I’m really scared of lows, especially after the one when I couldn’t find the honey jar fast enough.  My A1C runs at levels that makes my doctor raise an eyebrow sometimes because she knows I’ve been thinking about having a baby some day.  I went to the Joslin Clinic last Thursday and they said I need to start thinking now about having babies much later.  Which is hard to think about, since I don’t even have a father for these not-yet-made babies.  Am I screwing up my chances of having a baby by having trouble controlling my diabetes?  It’s a weird place to be in, worrying about stuff that won’t happen for a really long time, but that’s how diabetes is – makes you worry about all the crap in the future that other people might not think about until it’s actually happening.  Must be interesting, not banging your head against a crystal ball all the fucking time.”

I wish I could send that girl a note, the 20-year old me who wrote with painstakingly neat handwriting (shocking, compared to the scrawled EKG graph my pen produces now), and tell her that just a decade or so later, she’d be sitting at her kitchen table and drinking coffee, having just sent her three year old daughter to school for the morning.  That even after crossing the line into “complicated,” it’s still okay.  The payoff seems irritating at times – “Work hard and the reward is … to keep having to work hard?” – but the alternative is unacceptable.  Life with diabetes often means trying, and continuing try, even when you don’t want to.

I’d also suggest that she stop cursing so much back in the day, because surely she’d kick that habit as an adult.

Surely.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dan #

    Hi Kerri,
    A famous British writer wrote the shortest response to a Time Magazine editor regarding What is wrong with the world? The response was …..”I am”. Your feelings are you and they are important. The challenge is what we do with our mind and our actions to reconcile our feelings.
    You continue to move forward, share your successes and failures and continue to educate yourself to the best methods available. Yesterday is history and we cannot change it. It is a building block for building a better today and tomorrow. Have a great 4th and as always have a great day.
    Dan

    07/3/13; 11:31 am
  2. Jessica #

    “Work hard and the reward is … to keep having to work hard? – but the alternative is unacceptable.” Best line ever. I am putting this on my fridge.

    07/3/13; 11:34 am
  3. I love you, cursing and all – don’t ever change :) This working hard for the reward to continue working hard is kind of a bitch, but we do it – for ourselves and for our families. Some days, the only thing that makes me pick a green vegetable over some pizza or chinese food is thinking about my little girl. How wacky is that? But, it shows the truth – we make miniscule choices every single day that affect us and our health. And, it’s freaking a lot of work.

    07/3/13; 11:45 am
  4. ria #

    what we all want to say, you know how to put into words, right down to the swearing….
    “tell it like it is”, an old 70′s proverb………….=)

    07/3/13; 12:14 pm
  5. I agree with Jessica. “Work hard and the reward is … to keep having to work hard?” – but the alternative is unacceptable.” I could not have said this any better. I’m going to quote you all over the place :)

    07/3/13; 1:54 pm
  6. Laura #

    I just have to tell you that after suffering through where to place my sensor so it did not puncture through the skin-tac that your video was brilliant!! Oh yeah…just swipe skintac on the paper that holds the sensor in place. Why did not my CDE think of that?!? I have been making little pen marks and trying to place it exactly in the mark….almost impossible. Thank you so much for this wonderful tip!

    Sorry to post it here where it does not relate but I don’t know where else to share my joy about it. :)

    07/3/13; 2:29 pm
  7. I wrote about something like this yesterday (the diabetes thing, not the having a baby thing… as if that has to be pointed out… but I digress). Imagine how prescient you were writing about it 14 years ago. Believe me, I know how much it sucks having to still think about it 14 years later.

    07/3/13; 3:43 pm
  8. Larry Here #

    The “work hard” quote is great, of course. But, really, it applies to life w/o diabetes just as much. That’s just the way the world is. We all have to keep working hard.. or, well, The Alternative. Great post, as usual. I’ve been sportin’ my Six Until Me shirt whenever possible lately…

    07/3/13; 7:06 pm
  9. That last line is just epic. Pretty much sums up what I hate most about diabetes. The constant planning and thinking and not living in the moment.

    07/3/13; 7:40 pm
  10. I love this line:

    “It’s a weird place to be in, worrying about stuff that won’t happen for a really long time, but that’s how diabetes is – makes you worry about all the crap in the future that other people might not think about until it’s actually happening.”

    So true.

    07/3/13; 7:49 pm
  11. “Life with diabetes often means trying, and continuing to try, even when you don’t want to” i like this, it captures the whole frustration involved, and at the end of it all we wish we had the assurance we’d make it this far.

    07/6/13; 4:17 pm
  12. “Work hard and the reward is … to keep having to work hard?” – but the alternative is unacceptable. Life with diabetes often means trying, and continuing try, even when you don’t want to.” Well said!

    Thanks for sharing!

    08/8/13; 3:41 pm

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