11 February 2009

Another Shower Epiphany

I was in my thinking spot, more commonly referred to as the shower, the only place I can get a period of time long enough to complete a thought in my head, reflecting on my last piece of writing and more over the tone of the last 4 months of my writing, when I realized that I had once again fallen into the depressing part of my emotional tide chart.  Just like the tides come in and out with some predictable regularity, so too I tend to fluctuate between the heights of optimism, a I-can-conquer all attitude, and the depths of my dark humor and despair.  I rode the tide of the dark side for long enough and decided it was time to see the moon pull on my side of the earth for a while. 

            The last thing I wrote was a simple exercise in letting the mind wander as I inspected me, 25 random things about myself.  I realized how easy that was and thought I might be up for a bigger challenge, 25 good things Diabetes has brought into my life.  I am sure I could rattle of a good 5 or 6 typical responses but to get to 25 I would actually have to think.  I thought it might be interesting to see how many would be up for the challenge to look at their own tragedy or trial and try to see how many they could come up with.  Maybe it’s just what the doctor ordered.  And so it is, 25 good things diabetes has brought…

 

1.  It wasn’t cancer or Leukemia.  Those were the other options my doc proposed that my symptoms would match. 

2. It has brought great discipline to my life. I have always been an undisciplined sort and had been praying that God would give me more discipline for about 2 years before he obliged.  Little did I know…

3.  It gave me a greater appreciation for what an amazing body God has designed in that it can balance the amount of insulin released from the pancreas, the amount of glucose released from the liver, the signals of fullness after a meal, the amount of stress hormones flowing around and the ever changing needs of muscle tissue for sugar.  And it only allows the amount of sugar running around in my blood to vary less than 40 milligrams in every liter of blood.  When I am left to the task I sometimes can’t get it to stay within hundreds of milligrams.

4.  It has allowed me to team up with some pretty amazing people who are charging and changing the face of diabetes.  People who challenge the notion that diabetics need to be mellow when it comes to pushing their bodies to the limit.  People crazy enough to do the Ironman Triathlon, to climb mountains and to run a 200-mile relay over 24 hours.  They inspire me to push myself harder every day I am out training.  Without diabetes I would never have pushed myself to join a group (I was never much of a joiner)

5.  It has made my life hard enough that I often get to the point where things are so bad that all I can do is resort to laughing at how ridiculously hard all of this is. What else can I do when my blood sugar is so low that I can barely control my impulses and have come within seconds of pouring an entire box of cereal over my head because it seemed like it might feel nice.

6.  Without Diabetes, I would not have found out so quickly how great my husband, Tony, would be at taking care of me and forcing me to talk about all that I was feeling.

7.  Diabetes gave me the ability to take off an extra 6 months during my pregnancy with Eli.  That was time that I got to be a stay-at-home-mom for my eldest, Shea, time I treasure.  It also gave me 9 months off when Shea was born. 

8.  Diabetes gave me a reason to write a book, or maybe I should say, be in the process of writing a book.

9.  25 is going to be hard…

10.  Diabetes really drove home the divide between spirit and body.  I can remember in the early days walking out of my doctor’s office in Los Alamitos and realizing my body was now broken.  My pancreas just didn’t work like it was supposed to.  But my spirit still remained as it was.  It forever divided the two in my mind.

11. If Diabetes is the worst thing that has happened in my life, I have led a charmed life.  There are many worse things that can happen.

12.  I get to bring my own candy anywhere I want, movies, meetings, etc.

13.  It has humbled me in a way that I needed big time.  Being an arrogant, pompous fool never benefited anyone.  I figured out real quickly that I was just as susceptible to harm and tragedy as the next guy. The invincible teen years ended before their time. 

14. Diabetes started my running, swimming and triathlon career.  When I was diagnosed my doc said I had to exercise everyday.  I was in college so I couldn’t really join any teams, wasn’t quite good enough for college ball.  So I did what I could do alone and with no equipment, I ran.  One of my friends got me into swimming at the pool at UCSD between classes and I already rode my bike daily (the result of personal budgetary restraints and expensive parking permits on campus.)  My competitive spirit put all three together and I started tri’s.

15.  My daughter is well trained in calling 911?

16.  I think it turned the balances in my favor in getting sponsorship with the Power Puff Girls/Cartoon Network for surfing.  I wrote some cheesy paragraph in how I am just like the Power Puff Girls because I fight my own monsters.  Yeah, I know, I played the D card.  But every now and then you have to.

17.  I have a great relationship with my doctor because I see him so often.  He is so comfortable that he’ll sit down and rap with me for a while about the good ol’ college days.  So when I do have a problem he always takes the time to hear me out.

18.  I can always look back and say the reason I got a C in O-Chem is because my sugars were in the 7 or 800’s when I took my final (even though when I took O-Chem C I got a C too but I was fine.)

19.  I never have to pony up a doctor’s note for an absence if my employer asks because I have a chronic condition.  (Anyone up for a Tuesday morning surf when the Santa Ana’s are blowing and everyone else is at school or work?)

20.  It has on many occasions forced me to face my own mortality.

21.  I have met a few good-looking firemen and paramedics when I have had to call 911 because my sugars had gotten too low.

22.  Diabetes makes sailing solo through the Florida Keys for four days more than a self-indulgent pleasure cruise and turns it into a chance to inspire others to do what people have told them they couldn’t because they are supposed to be good little diabetics and not push themselves to find new ways to conquer what in their Pre-D lives would have been commonplace and so easy.

23.  It gives me a cause to raise money for.  Insulindependence.com has this same mindset of helping Diabetics push themselves and inspire other diabetics to do the same. Check them out. (And if you want to help me, check out http://www.firstgiving.com/erinspineto.) Yeah I know it’s a shameless plug, but what can I say?  It is an advertisers world.

24.  Maybe diabetes has just allowed me to give you a reason to see the bright side?

25.  Diabetes gives me a reason to come up with 25 reasons that diabetes has been good to me and spend the last hour practicing some writing skills. 

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