The Unbolused Cookie

Embracing both the planned and the unplanned.

Dear Diabetes, Bite Me. Love, Gabe

Gabrielle Sharkey Oldfield

Dear Diabetes, Bite Me.  Love, Gabe
Thursday, April 21, 2016

The moment I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes my life changed. Now, for anyone who has had this happen to them or a loved one (type 1 or type 2), they know exactly what I’m talking about. I was diagnosed later than typical for type 1, at age 48. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, everything I normally did would now require math, blood glucose testing, insulin injections, and trying to anticipate how any possible unforeseen event might affect me. 

It is a pain, but it isn’t impossible. It is annoying, but most of the time I feel pretty great so I’m willing to live with the annoyance. It is expensive, but it is also better than being dead, so I will just count myself lucky to be able to afford insulin.

Diabetes has given me laser focus on my health and other than the whole incurable disease thing, I am the healthiest I have ever been. I hike, I kayak, I run 5ks, and I’ve done a half marathon. The worst thing about the disease, for me, is the constant and unending barrage of negativity. 

Seriously, I know the stats, I know the side effects, I know that I’m now at risk for every complication under the sun. So let’s move on and tell me something that may be helpful, compelling, life-giving. Tell me something that doesn’t make me feel like I’m constantly teetering on the precipice of heart disease, stroke, or at least an amputation of some sort.

Sure these things could happen. But maybe they won’t. Then what? What if I live and then continue living? Worse yet, what if I stay active, keep all my limbs, and never develop neuropathy or have a heart attack? Sheesh, I would so be giving diabetes a bad name. It almost makes me feel a little bad about doing so well.

I was blessed to find other people with diabetes who feel the same as I do and they have much to do with my success. The support of people living with this disease is what makes the difference. For anyone else, it is just a theoretical knowledge of what they learned in medical school or found on Google. You can appreciate the effort, but nothing beats hands-on experience. 

Things CAN happen, but I’d rather not speak that over myself like it is a foregone conclusion. I continue to pray. I continue to be a good steward of the health I do have, and I continue to lean on and learn from a community of people who want me to succeed.