Diabetes is living on a roller coaster, where down is too much insulin; up, too little; steadiness, fleeting and rare.
Diabetes is riding blindfolded, with a bunch of well-wishers shouting at you from the safety of the ground, wondering why you haven’t tried the cinnamon cure.
Diabetes is, at the end, asking yourself: Who is running this thing? Why are those people yelling? And: I have to go around again?
Diabetes is saying “I’m high,” unreservedly, anywhere.
Diabetes is declaring “I’m low,” unreservedly, anywhere.
Diabetes is wondering how many strangers have deduced that you are on drugs or in the dumps. Diabetes is hoping it wasn’t a coworker.
Diabetes is calculating your body and food as would a carb-focused abacus.
Diabetes is feeling a little too proud that you can masterfully play the “How many grams?” game with any otherwise-inscrutable mound of starch. Diabetes is considering setting up some sort of fair booth.
Diabetes is realizing that the game is rather lame and only in your mind.
Diabetes is staring, confused, at rows of soup cans in your grocer’s aisle six, until you realize, “Oh yes, I must be having a low blood sugar.”
Diabetes is scarfing down three packages of smarties in aisle six.
Diabetes is pushing forward while your cheeks are full of candy.
Diabetes is watching as friends eat sweets, breads, and pasta without fanfare.
Diabetes is wondering: But don’t you. . ? What is the. . ? You can just . .?
Diabetes is wanting them to feel, without guilt, how lucky they are.
Diabetes is contorting yourself for real estate, on your skin, where there aren’t scars, for needles.
Diabetes is pausing, every time, before you throw a small metal spear into yourself.
Diabetes is realizing residential real estate, or maybe most other things, would be more fun.
Diabetes is wondering how fast you can get your blood sugar to come up before a meeting or an interview or an anything important.
Diabetes is scarfing down glucose tabs in a bathroom stall.
Diabetes is wiping sugary powder from your black pants. Diabetes is looking, ironically, like you have “a little bit of a donut problem.”
Diabetes is feeling, suddenly, like you’re underwater. Diabetes is wondering why your blood sugar is high: The lunch, the hormones, the pump, the stress?
Diabetes is dosing insulin to undo this unwanted metamorphosis.
Diabetes is wondering how long it’ll take to morph back into a human–and, until then, where to hide.
Diabetes is frightening passengers in airport security lines with your pump and tubing.
Diabetes is wondering whether to add to the fun with a devilish grin.
Diabetes is getting a pat-down-and-hands-swab, each time, from the TSA. Diabetes is being knocked down a peg.
Diabetes is asking the waiter whether there’s sugar in the salad dressing because you have diabetes. Diabetes is then requesting a soda, quickly if they could, for your low blood sugar, because you have diabetes.
Diabetes is tasting the salad dressing and realizing it’s loaded with sugar. Diabetes is wondering whether a fuss should be made.
Diabetes is wondering whether the confusion is your fault.
Diabetes is learning to abide health insurance hold music, and medical office hold music, and medical supply hold music.
Diabetes is taking on a second, unpaid position as a liaison among your health care providers.
Diabetes is repeating the phrase: “Yes, my doctor sent in the script.” Diabetes is wondering if she has.
Diabetes is building a collection of medical supplies that would rival any diabetic medical supply museum’s, if there were diabetic medical supply museums.
Diabetes is feeling panicked at the idea of increased durable medical supply copays.
Diabetes is knowing way too much about durable medical supply copays.
Diabetes is having not a single doctor, nor even a team, but a nation of subspecialists. Diabetes is considering whether you should rent a small pied-a-terre near the hospital.
Diabetes is educating some clinicians about diabetes–type 1, type 2. Diabetes is promptly being lectured by the clinicians who heretofore did not know much about diabetes.
Diabetes is googling your disease.
Diabetes is being confronted by a study that shows not even your fingernails are spared its scourge. Diabetes is conducting a hasty inspection of your fingernails.
Diabetes is learning to be careful about googling your disease.
Diabetes is hearing about other people’s fear of needles. And love of desserts. And hemp seed treatments. And footless, blind diabetic great aunts.
Diabetes is being subject to stranger’s assumptions-as-questions: “Did you eat too much sugar as a kid?” “Do you have the bad kind?” “How are you thin?” “Can you eat that?”
Diabetes is wanting to say: “No, you’re right, I shouldn’t eat this; I may die. I had forgotten.” Diabetes is educating instead.
Diabetes is looking forward, wondering if we will be cured. Diabetes is trusting it will be better.
Diabetes is looking back, asking what we’d be like without it.
Diabetes is, as we wait, considering its enduring lesson: find the patience, the strength, and especially the laughter; in hardship, carry on.
Originally published in The Huffington Post.