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Revisiting: Undefined.

“You have diabetes  You seem fine.” “I am fine.”
Diabetes makes me walk the precarious fine line
Between “I’m sick” and “I’m not” and the whole in-between
That makes diabetes invisible, and yet so seen.

“Needles?  Every day?  I could never,”
You could.  And you would, and you’d do it forever
If that’s what kept you from good life or harm,
You’d never think twice of needles in your arm.

“You seem fine.”  “I am fine, at least I think?”
I try not to let it push me to the brink
But even my best days are still diabetic
And on some days I feel frustrated, mad, or pathetic.

I can follow the rules and try to appease
The needs and requirements of relentless disease,
But even my best days are burnt at the edge
By the efforts that work their way in like a wedge.

“You seem fine.”  I am fine, except days when I’m not.
But I do what I’m told, and I learn what I’m taught.
And I’ll keep working harder to keep from the claws
Of an illness that doesn’t do “rewind” or “pause.”

Will it stop me?  It might, I can’t lie – and that’s scary
But between now and then, I throw all these hail marys.
It’s life, and it’s mine, and I won’t let it bear
The weight of a heart and mind wraught with fear.

There are miles to run, and children to hold.
There are travels to have, and stories to be told.
Diabetes?  Intense, and it looms, and it’s giant
But I’m more than my pancreas.  I’ve become self-reliant.

I may host beta cells that checked out long ago
But I refuse to accept the assumed status quo.
I’ll work harder, think smarter.  I’m not resigned
To accept limitation.  I live life undefined.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rochelle #

    Kerri, can I share this? It describes so perfectly my emotions surrounding this frustrating disease, and the unfortunate ignorance that sometimes accompanies so many of those around me. Of course I would credit you and your blog 🙂

    11/14/14; 12:43 pm
  2. Tracy #


    11/14/14; 1:23 pm
    • Lorrian #


      11/14/14; 1:32 pm
  3. Kerri,

    I’ve read this poem of yours several times…I think my favorite line is:

    “But even my best days are still diabetic”

    I completely agree. They so are. Thank you for being our voice on so many fronts.

    11/14/14; 2:09 pm
  4. DennisD #

    This poem says so much – and says it so well.
    During well over a half century with insulin, I’ve experienced all these emotions.

    11/14/14; 7:17 pm
  5. Thanks Kerri. Your poem covers lots of territory. We’re both living with an invisible disease that is, of course, only visible at the worse times in public. Much of my energy has been spent finding ways to work around the barriers. Yes “even my best days are still diabetic” but that’s not stopping me and I know it’s not stopping you.

    11/14/14; 8:38 pm
  6. I love this. As I read, I’m moved to tears. Could be because I’m low, now remedying with a chocolate Kind bar, as a “treat”. And I’m reading while baking banana bread for a party tonight, knowing I won’t be eating much (though maybe more than is good for my blood sugar, or maybe I’ll get low after eating it… you never know for sure!), but still wanting to bake for my family and friends.

    I’ve lived over 38 years now of the day-in, day-out juggling, wondering, guessing, estimating, measuring, lows and highs, predictable and totally surprising…every day is diabetes day! I am healthy, never have considered having diabetes as being “sick”.

    Grateful for every day.

    11/14/14; 8:43 pm
  7. Sandy T #

    Kerri, This is perfect. Thank you.

    11/15/14; 8:15 am
  8. Heather P #

    You have a gift with words… you say things in ways I can’t. Love this poem- I am going to print it and put it on my fridge.

    11/15/14; 9:55 am
  9. Martha #

    This says it all. And so well.

    11/17/14; 4:42 pm
  10. Debbie #

    Love this, perfect!!

    11/18/14; 1:53 pm
  11. Charles Eldridge #

    I’d like to share experiences about day-to-day control of type 1. I use a Dexcom G4 CGM and am not sure how I survived some 36 years without it. You might think I could stay perfectly on track (between say 100 and 150), but I don’t. What are my excuses? First, there are uncertainties between food quantities, insulin and CGM readings. Most of the time 9 units of humalog will handle my egg/sausage/cereal breakfast, but the rate of onset of insulin action varies. When the timings between eating and insulin action don’t match, then the CGM will go up and down. When it goes down, I need relief, and drink orange juice. But then it comes back up higher, later.
    I use Lantus once per day. I adjust my dose so that my overnight level neither rises nor falls. In the winter, this dose needs to be about 13 units, but in the very warm summer, it needs to be 10.5 units.

    11/19/14; 10:01 pm
  12. This is my favorite part: “You could. And you would, and you’d do it forever”

    11/21/14; 12:00 am
  13. Beth #

    This poem is amazing. It speaks to me so much, and I don’t even have T1D. My husband has lived with it though for 34 years, and my 8 year old was diagnosed 18 months ago. Everyone asks “How’s she doing?– and I say “Fine.” She IS fine, but this poem eloquently describes her life of highs and lows… and just trying to be a typical kid. THANK YOU. I needed it.

    11/25/14; 1:35 pm
  14. I read this poem this morning, my 4th anniversary with LADA. You express so perfectly the ups and downs of living with diabetes. Thanks Kerri, for saying out loud what so many of us cannot express so eloquently. Diabetes took me completely by surprise and that continues to be the story of my life with diabetes-surprises. It helps-a lot- to know that others share this journey.

    11/28/14; 9:28 am

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