I have learned a lot of things in my 30 (almost 31) years of life. When I was a wee little one I learned early on that the best entertainment came from my big brother. I learned that if you beg long enough your parents are likely to get you that hamster, guinea pig, snake or puppy (even if it takes 10 years). In high school I learned that fitting in was not as important as being an individual...and that pink hair often brings stares. In college I learned to be adventurous and to try new things.
At 24, I learned that boys who sing Johnny Cash songs and play the bluegrass fiddle are definitely the marrying type. I've learned (or so been told) that even though I tend to be shy at first...once you get me talking you will most likely never get me to stop. (In fact, I am not sure my hubby has gotten a word in edge-wise since our wedding). And most recently I learned that no matter how hard I try I can't help but giggle when I see Waylon's new haircut.
I would have never guessed that what I have learned through the course of my life so far would prepare me for what I have endured over the last four years. I have to give credit to my parents who taught me to be independent, strong, and driven. They shaped me into the woman I am today...teaching me to take control of my life and be happy in everything I do. Their guidance during my formative years not only prepared me for the life changing event of being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes, it made me more open to the things I would learn over the next 4 years...and what I will continue to learn over the course of my life.
So here we go...My Pancreas Broke and All I Got Were These Lousy Lessons....
1. Exercising sucks. That said...it is so important to health and well-being that it's worth the burn...so making it fun and fitting it into your daily schedule is a must.
2. Support from family and friends is priceless and very much a necessity...not only in dealing with a life-changing disease, but in all other aspects of life.
3. Sometimes all you can do to feel better is throw your hands in the air, sigh, scream, yell, and cry...and that is OK!
4. When you are dealt a challenging hand, don't fold...be happy with the good cards and make the bad cards into something more manageable.
5. Needlework and sewing are great hobbies for a diabetic.
6. Growing your own food and eating clean and whole is not as hard as you may think and does wonders for your mind and body (and sometimes even your pocketbook!)
7. One of the most important jobs a person can have is taking care of themselves in order to be there for the ones they love.
8. I can prick my finger 10 times a day, give injections to myself and insert infusion sites...yet I am still a big wimp every time I get blood drawn at the doctor...is this strange?
9. Diabetes is a good cure for a french fry obsession.
10. Strength is not just measured in how much you can bench press or how many miles you can run...it's also measured in your ability to see a 350 and a 47 on your blood glucose meter in the same day and still have a smile on your face.
11. Feeling like you are all alone is the worst feeling you can ever have. Since my diagnosis, I have felt this many times. Finding someone who shares your struggles and understands what you are facing (i.e. another diabetic) is the best medicine when you feel this way.
12. I have an amazing husband (of course I already knew this...hence the "husband" part)...he is more than I could have ever hoped or dream for in a partner. He is supportive and understanding and loves me despite my broken pancreas....and my incessant talking!
13. When you have a disease that is typically misunderstood...people will often impose their thoughts and opinions on you (i.e. "Are you allowed to eat that?" or "Have your heard that eating cinnamon can cure your diabetes?"). The best thing to do in that situation is smile, provide the correct information, and understand that their questions and comments often mean they are just concerned with your well-being.
14. Multitasking has taken on a whole new meaning...who knew I could ever count carbs (i.e. do math which I am horrible at), talk about the garden with my hubby, fix dinner, calculate insulin, and plan tomorrow all at the same time.
15. I have learned that "life-long" takes on a whole new meaning when you add the word "disease".
Most of all I have learned to be in control without overbearing. To forgive myself every now and then. To pat myself on the back and remind myself that I am doing the best I can. To remember to live my life and to balance all that is important while teetering on the see-saw that is diabetes.