I read an article today – Imagining Life Diabetes-Free. This quote gave me pause: “She said her mom equates living with diabetes to being ‘like a duck on a pond: it looks graceful and calm just swimming along, but below the surface, you don’t see the paddling, and all the work it’s doing to keep moving forward.”
What would it be like to not be paddling so furiously? I tried to give that thought pattern a go.
I pictured waking up in the morning and leaning into the baby’s crib to give him a smooch, then rubbing the sleep from my eyes while shuffling into the bathroom to brush my teeth. No checking my Dexcom graph immediately upon waking, no pricking my finger and challenging myself to put toothpaste on the toothbrush before the result comes up on the glucose meter.
I would put the little Guy on my hip and go wake up Birdy, not worrying if I was impaling my son’s buttcheek on my insulin pump. No low blood sugar would keep me from bringing my kids downstairs in time to eat breakfast before the school bus came roaring by.
Super wet diapers or requests for more than one glass of water at dinner would not make my stomach drop and my heart feel heavy.
My day would consist of emails that had nothing to do with diabetes and video calls where I didn’t keep a juice box just out of sight. I’d breastfeed my son without concerns about going low afterwards.
I’d go for a run with only my car keys and my phone – no glucose tabs.
Lunch would be a meal instead of a math problem (If my blood sugar is 103 mg/dL and I’m eating 15 grams of carbs and I pre-bolus 1u of insulin, will two trains leaving at the same time from New Haven have enough glucose tabs on board to bring me up, should I start to tumble?). I’d plan my meals around what people wanted to eat and when they wanted to eat it.
I’d think Steel Magnolias was a really sad movie and that Sally Field is a tremendous actress instead of wondering for decades if it was going to be me.
My body would be absent the scaly, itchy rash that comes up as a result of my diabetes device adhesive allergy. My fingertips would be smooth and unblemished. If I had a brief millisecond of clouded vision, I’d think, “Meh – something in my eye,” instead of “DO I HAVE DIABETES IN MY EYE?!”
I would think dresses with pockets are cool instead of finding a cute dress with pockets and buying that same dress in every frigging color available.
I’d only have one pump at my house.
Bank account balances would ebb and flow as a result of non-diabetes purchases and responsibilities, without that nagging need to have a clot of cash for constant copays, premiums, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. That need for medical insurance would be a source of stress but not a point of panic.
I’d see cupcakes and giggle about how they’re “diabetes on a plate,” blissfully unaware of how fucking ignorant “diabetes on a plate” sounds.
I’d worry about the future like everyone else instead of worrying like everyone else and then adding the unscratchable need to have three year’s worth of insulin and syringes in my house at all times.
I’d fall asleep at night and expect to wake up in the morning, without issue.
I’d have a family and friends and would travel and write and experience things that are scary and exciting and a mush of both …
… wait a fucking second. I have a family and friends. And I travel. And write. And I experience things that are scary and exciting and a mush of both. Diabetes does not keep me from living the life I want. It’s an enormous pain in the ass at times and I have uneasy feelings about what it will look and feel like twenty years from now, but I am still here.
Imagining life without diabetes sounds nice and I can’t wait to find out what it will be like. But I’m holding my own either way. Paddling on.