Picture of me watching astronauts on the moon on television

While some politicians believed the money spent on the space program could have been better used on Earth.

I always thought the Astronauts demonstrated that there wasn't anything a person couldn't do, with enough courage, hard work, and planning.


Growing up during the beginning of the space age, watching the astronauts walk on the moon gave me the hope that science could solve any problem. Including finding the cure for Diabetes.

Since It was discovered that I wouldn't fall over dead every time I strayed from my Diabetic diet, my parents eased up on the weighing of foods.

Following the rules worked out fine until there was nothing left other than following rules. What my family and I were experiencing was a form of burnout from Diabetes.

I suspect this happens in a lot of families and individuals with this condition, it can almost make denial a form of irresistible temptation. This results in many people to “fall off the wagon”, so to speak and eat anything, cake, sweets, junk food, in a fatalistic “I’m going to die from this anyway, so what’s the difference” attitude. Things didn’t go this way for me, thankfully, we just ate sensibly, and I would “tweak” my insulin dosage as best I could based on the amount of food and energy I guess-timated in an equation to keep me from experiencing too many low blood sugars. I also tried to be as physically active as possible.

The trade off for this was that I never expected to reach the age of thirty.

This wasn’t because I felt that I was grossly mismanaging my health by not following all the rules. It was because I felt there was something else, much more troubling going on in my life. We received a monthly subscription to a magazine about diabetes. It showed this condition in mostly positive terms, which is understandable since to a newly diagnosed person this condition can be a scary prospect, and for good reason, because it can be. It also seemed friendly to children, parents of children, and older type II diabetics. Other than that, I felt it created a facade of “normalcy” that I suspect few experience in the real world.
I could imagine all of these publications if read by someone who didn’t understand English, and ignoring the many ads directed to health needs may have been mistaken for lifestyle publications for bland and middle-class white people.
You could find scads of diabetic success stories, such as: “Brad , the semi-pro golfer” and scores of testimonials all reiterating the theme “I don’t let diabetes run my life”! There were recipes for “lo-calorie” potato salad or “sugar free” tapioca pudding, yum!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be too harsh on what I am sure are all well-meaning publications. It’s just from scoping through various diabetic news groups and message boards currently on the internet, I find few postings about diet pudding or personal testimonials about triumphing over diabetes. What I do see is a lot of anger about this condition not taken seriously by an under-informed media, that continues to contribute discrimination, lack of access to affordable heath care, and the snails-pace rate of progress towards a cure.
The worst effect that came from my life when I compared it to world of Diabetes inc. was that I felt my problems were though some personal lack of character on my part. Either that, or I had been cursed, tainted, or was a down right bad person since my there were so many problems and difficulties I had to struggle through, that the average
person, or by comparison, (with the world of Diabetes inc.) that the average diabetic was fighting with.
This wasn’t my world,as I wondered if would never have a normal life.

Still I wanted to have a life.
Normal or otherwise. I wanted to accomplish something, fall in love, have ecstatic sex, create great art, fight the good fight, break through barriers, go where no man had gone before. I lived my life with a sense of urgency and passion.
I would sit in school and watch personal, social, romantic, and sexual doors open to those around me, but remain closed to me, waiting, working, and hoping. In this regard, for all these years, nothing has changed. Though I’m happy to say that I am still alive. .

Almost every night I would hear my father awake in our living room coughing, I would sneak out of my room, and I would see him sitting there with his head in his hands, an open six pack of beer on the table as he smoked one pack cigarettes after another. Every year he had mortgage the house to to pay the bills including those for my doctor visits, medical supplies, and the strain was taking it's toll.

Image of me as Mr. Spock from "Star Trek" caption "in order to survive, I learned to master my fears. Since I was expected to control my body anyway, it ws only logical to attempt the same for my emotions.

The financial costs were never mentioned in our Diabetic magazine, just stories of happy and well adjusted families and their adventurers as they traveled around the world with their handy Diabetic recipe books, and other Diabetic paraphernalia (all featured in ads within the magazine). Everyone looked so at-ease in accepting their condition.

I sometimes wondered if my difficulties stemmed from having a bad attitude, perhaps I was I using it as a crutch or an "excuse" when the truth was that there was a problem with me. Since I didn't know of a time when I wasn't grappling with Diabetes, it was difficult to sort out my life with it, from who I was as an individual.

I began to feel overwhelmed by having to deal with too many too many problems all at the same time. I call this phenomena “crises-o-rama”, and it is an appropriate description of much of my life with this condition.
As a teenager however, was disturbing to me that adults described these years as the “best time of your life”.

As I entered High School my father developed severe Emphysema. It was an additional family burden, and caused my condition to shift the control of my Diabetes into a "back-burner" status, since we had contend with my father's numerous and urgent health crisis's. We were also strapped for cash, so I stopped seeing a specialist and went to my family doctor, and even on those visits, the main topic was usually my parent's health issues, although after one appointment he mentioned reading an article that said some experts were confident that Diabetes would be cured in "about five years".

I liked this doctor a lot.

 

 


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