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Imagining Life Diabetes-Free.

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.

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Kathleen #

    Awesome Post. Thank,you !

    02/7/17; 8:40 pm
  2. It’s like retirement, sounds great until you sit looking at TV at 10 AM thinking what the hell is this about. I am not holding my breath, it but I am holding it for my grandchildren. Someday they will not have to worry about, as for me, I will be fine either way.

    02/7/17; 8:45 pm
    • Emily Scott #

      Kerri, I enjoy your heart-felt messages. I am TID over 60 yrs. Just in the last five yrs. have I realized that other people sympathize with people who have to forego sugar and take shots, but they do not comprehend the constant mental connection to every blooming glucose level and that every hour or less involves a shot, test, meal measure, exercise, etc. It is a job on top of everything else. I am afraid to think about it too much because I would feel tired, old, angry, lonely, etc. Yes, we can do most everything we have to or choose to do, but it is often harmful to the health we need to watch and can involve so much planning. Yes, I can try to climb Mt Everest if I have the desire, but I would need lots of back-up!! Those rascal lows can be a mind-blower. And the too highs can bring out the angries. Both are over-whelming and exhausting. I tell people to take care of their pancreas, don’t eat fruitcake, milkshakes and anything highly condensced.. We diabetics are supposed to impersonate a pancreas. That is ridiculous!I heard that there is now an artificial pancreas. I have to check it out. Have you? You are a pro at tech. I have been busy with breast cancer. I did not like the usual surgery, chemo, rad that cancer centers offer. I went o Plainview, Long Island, NY. for excellent laser surgery by Dr. Vincent Ansanelli. See Facebook. None of the hardships of regular surgery and beautifully done. I will catch up on your columns and see if you have tried the artificial pancreas. Your baby boy is Very Cute!Thanks for writing to us all, Emily Scott

      03/2/17; 4:00 pm
  3. Sharon K Chrisman #

    Oh gosh. Love. LOVE.

    02/8/17; 12:10 am
  4. Debbie E #

    This is a wonderful blog Kerri! Yes, it’s about all the things we’d be able to do without T1D. Oh wait, we ARE ABLE to do all of those things and even more. I’ve had T1D for 27 years. In fact that’s how I met my amazing husband. We both have T1D and are able to communicate with “diabetes ” languages other couples may not have. I guess my point is that I’m more capable of not letting things hold me back now than I would’ve before my diagnosis. I feel like I may not be explaining this very well. But I do know that I’m much more focused regarding diabetes than I was ten or twelve years ago. Of course the technological advances made during the last fifteen or so years, have certainly made it easier. Thanks for writing this post Kerri! I’ve been reading your blog for years but I don’t think I’ve ever commented before.

    02/8/17; 1:05 am
  5. Laura Gibson #


    02/8/17; 2:49 pm
  6. Bonnie Christianson #

    Yes this is a truthful blog and your thoughts made me think. I try to be very positive while paddling along.

    02/9/17; 2:22 pm
  7. Martha #

    This is heartbreaking and poignant in the best possible way. You are quite the writer! 🙂

    02/9/17; 4:39 pm
  8. Spot on! The Steel Magnolia reference made me feel better knowing it’s not just me! Glad to have your writing to remind us all that we are not alone in this, thank you!

    02/9/17; 9:06 pm
  9. Tracy #

    Where did you find dresses with pockets? I WANT!!!!

    All that cool imagery and that is what I take away…bad Tracy!, no biscuit for you!

    Thank you Kerri, you always make me smile. I know I am not alone.

    02/10/17; 7:43 pm
  10. Nicola #

    Thank you for this, made me smile and brought tears in my eyes 🙂 I am paddling and living 🙂 Paddling has been made easier by pump etc but still hoping that someday just floating would be enough 🙂

    02/11/17; 4:44 am
  11. Grainne #

    I really don’t know what I would do! It’s been so long that I’ve lived with diabetes that I think I would be a bit lost. I’d have to figure out who I am all over again. Do I dare wish for a diabetes free life?

    02/11/17; 11:32 am
  12. AHH! “What would it be like to not be paddling so furiously?” THAT is the most unexpectedly perfect way to depict or describe (or whatever is the right word for this sentence) a day-in-the-life of type 1 diabetes.

    A relative recently said to me, “You described diabetes as a part-time job once…” with a smirk on her face like surely I was ready to take it back. “Umm…yup! Still is!”

    Paddle, duckies. Paddle.
    “Just keep paddling.”

    02/13/17; 6:02 pm
  13. T1DNLM #

    Kerri, without knowing you personally I believe you are here to help people more than you may realize. It could be an awesome blog post, to being a voice for a community in my opinion is not often heard or recognized, to helping someone like me navigate the channels to get a Tandem pump or deal with T1D pregnancy. We all have a purpose, a meaning, a destiny and yours touches a lot of people in a really significant way. Don’t want to be cheesy but thanks for all you do, it means a lot.

    02/14/17; 3:02 pm

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