It’s funny what you get used to.
Down for a writer’s week away from family and (more importantly) dog responsibilities with a newish friend, I am suddenly struck by how much of my life has been ritualized by my type 2 diabetes. What has made me aware of this are her questions – why am I removing my buns from my burgers, do I have to shoot my medicine in my stomach (ooh), so I go walking everyday?
All of these queries are naked curiosity – a very good thing in a writer – but they seem so beside the point to me, a long-tested warrior in the diabetes war. I mean, doesn’t everybody know this stuff by now?
Of course they don’t, because not everyone lives with a person with diabetes. But the questions have actually been interesting for me, for two reasons. For one, they mark me as different, outside the norm, if you will, and remind me of why I write about diabetes – to educate, entertain, and elucidate my point of view to the rest of the world whose blood sugars may not have done a number on their bodies. And two, the inquiries remind me of how much my rituals have become rituals, to the point where I don’t think about them anymore. Gathering my paraphernalia up at a restaurant, hiking my shirt to stab myself with Byetta is second nature: it has become as much a part of me as my green eyes and (dyed) brown blond hair. If I choose to fall off my plan, it feels odd, more than not brushing my teeth, less than losing a finger, but as though I’ve betrayed myself in some way, and I’m anxious to return to the steady routine.
This knowledge has taken a long time to settle in. But for better or worse, sitting with my friend’s naïve questions has been important to me in helping me redefine myself: as a person with diabetes who takes (at least most of the time) very good care of herself. Trust me, it’s not often someone as neurotic and self-critical as I am takes a bow or gives herself a pat on the back, but in this moment I’m going to say: YES!!!