politicians believed the money spent on the space program could
have been better used on Earth.
thought the Astronauts demonstrated that there wasn't anything a
person couldn't do, with enough courage, hard work, and planning.
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.
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.
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 Im going
to die from this anyway, so whats the difference attitude.
Things didnt 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.
trade off for this was that I never expected to reach the age of thirty.
This wasnt 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 didnt
understand English, and ignoring the many ads directed to health needs
may have been mistaken for lifestyle publications for bland and middle-class
You could find scads of diabetic success stories, such as: Brad
, the semi-pro golfer and scores of testimonials all reiterating
the theme I dont let diabetes run my life! There were
recipes for lo-calorie potato salad or sugar free
tapioca pudding, yum!
Dont get me wrong, Im not trying to be too harsh on what I
am sure are all well-meaning publications. Its 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 wasnt 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
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 Im happy to say that I am still alive. .
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.
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.
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.
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.