I will admit right here, right now that I admire people who accomplish incredible physical feats while also doing the whole diabetes thing. Climbing Everest? Hell yes! Ultra marathon? Hell yes! Hang-gliding across Iceland while knitting a sweater onto your body as it hang-glides? Hell to the absolute yes, why hasn’t anyone tried this?
And I’ll also admit right here, right now that I may never be one of those Everest climbing, ultramarathon’ing, hang-glide-knitter PWDs. Not because I can’t or shouldn’t but because my goals don’t rest in that arena. And that’s okay.
Sometimes the inspiration I’m searching for doesn’t come from the big, incredible-feat stories. They inspire me like whoa, but not as much when I was sitting looking at my stupid CGM graph that was frustratingly elevated while traveling yesterday. I needed someone to post a shitty CGM graph at that moment, so I could see that I wasn’t the only one not rocking “perfect” blood sugars, and that I could also regroup and move on.
I mean, I know I can regroup and move on. But it’s nice to see your own struggles/successes reflected in the stories from others.
The inspiration that I benefit from daily comes through social media, via ordinary, everyday stuff. These folks aren’t necessarily posting photos of their pump sites from the top of a mountain (although some do), but are showing their regular lives with diabetes. What they’ve overcome that day might have been an insurance battle. Or they finally paid off a medical bill that’s been looming for months. They might be snuggling their baby, who may have been marked as an impossible dream. Putting in a pump site on their arm for the first time. They might have just crossed the finish line on their first 5k, or gone for a run for the first time in their life, or went for a walk around their office building on a lunch break, making time for exercise even during the work day because they are worth it.
Ordinary as f^ck! And yet heroic, to me.
It’s parents of kids with diabetes shouldering the burden of the disease so their kid can roll through their childhood as unaffected as possible. It’s the adults with diabetes fighting back against societal stereotypes and insurance denials and insulin access issues. It’s the voices of people with type 2, who remain the majority of PWD but are woefully underrepresented in the online community. There are so many “small stories” that are making big differences, and I wish they were perceived as sexy/aspirational/inspirational as summiting a mountain.
I’m sometimes daunted by the Big Things being accomplished at times, wondering where smaller stories fit into the narrative of diabetes. Like, am I weird if I feel accomplished for renewing all my prescriptions? Or from losing 4 lbs of relentless baby weight by way of just walking? The small victories seem so small sometimes, especially on days when diabetes lives a little large, but they remain victories nonetheless.
Props to everyone who is doing something powerfully positive with diabetes … like living with it. Whether that’s climbing a mountain. Or raising a family. Or hang-gliding across Iceland while knitting that sweater onto your body as you hang-glide around. Or making toast. These stories – all of them – show diabetes in the context of real life. And all of these stories are inspiring in their own way.
It’s not about attention. Or accolade. Or high-fives for big deal things. It’s about looking at how diabetes is presented and seeing your story – the good, the bad, and the ugly – represented.