Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Freedom of choice

When I heard the news, I was devestated. Only weeks to live, if that. I was sure of it. After all, that's what it means to have a disease, right?

When I was nine, I was diagnosed with Type 1 (then, called Juvenile) Diabetes. A week in the hospital, and several education classes later, I found out that some diseases aren't as deadly as I originally thought.

Not that diabetes is great, or anything. The fact is, diabetes can be deadly. Even debilitating, as it is the number of cause of amputations and blindness. But I must emphasize the words "can be", because, in my experience, it doesn't have to be.

I'm actually thankful for my diabetes. When I look at the road I was on in terms of eating as a kid, I think I would be risking a heart attack today. But, thanks to my diagnosis, I was forced to learn about healthy eating habits. I was forced to have to be mindful of my daily choices. Sure, having to give myself multiple daily injections, not to mention countless finger pokes, isn't exactly fun. But I'm alive today because of it. Not only alive. Healthy.

Keeping tabs on my diabetes is a chore. Only, I don't see it as a chore. It is a part of my life. It is who I am. It is who I will be for the rest of my life. I don't foresee a cure in my lifetime. But new tools and treatments are being developed constantly. (Including my very own diabetes software, Logbook DM.)

I switched to an insulin pump three years ago, and have never been sorry. Almost. Because, you see, having more freedom in what I eat has led to me eating more unhealthy foods. More fat, more cholesterol. Sweets are even the problem. I put on weight in the first time in literally fifteen years.

It makes you wonder about freedom, in general. Sometimes having the freedom to do something doesn't mean we should. Sometimes not having the freedom to do things is actually a benefit to us. I'm not even totally sure of all the implications that has on my life.

But I make choices everyday. We all do. Sometimes we are kept from making choices. My diabetes kept me from certain choices for a long time. And I was better for it.

So there is a thought. Rather than focusing on the negative implications something has on our lives, try to see what insights, what benefits that negative thing has for you. Because I can either live with diabetes, or die with it. My choice.


Jay said...

I feel the same way. I often think about the way I ate pre-diagnosis. It's kinda scary. I just ran across your blog today. There is a small group of diabetics that blog regularly on the topic. Many of them are linkd off my blog. Welcome!

I switched to the pump about 2 years ago. There are days I woul rather be on my Lantus/Novolog injection set, rather then getting tangled in tubes. Overall though. I am quite happy with my setup. I am actually working on a post to my blog with all the stuff I use.

RyanBruner said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jay! And it seems we hail from the same general vicinity!

(I know Martha O'Connor, who you have linked on your web page. We both are part of the same writer's board.)

Kerri. said...

Hi Ryan. Nice to meet another diabetes blog hound.

I started on my insulin pump about a year and a half ago (Minimed Paradigm 512) after 17 years of multiple injections. It's made a serious difference in my A1c and my attitude towards diabetes, in general.

Feel free to stop by my blog (www.sixuntilme.blogspot.com) and offer up a cameo.

This O.C. (Online Community) is very supportive and I'm so thankful that you guys are all out there. Makes me feel less alone as a diabetic.

Which is pretty key.

Martha O'Connor said...

Hi Jay and Kerri! Fancy meeting you here. :o)

Ryan, we are loving our son's insulin pump, too. But as you say, it makes it just a little easier to say yes to ice cream after school.... good & bad, I guess.

PS~I recently blogrolled you!

RyanBruner said...

Hi, Martha!

Thanks for taking a gander here! :-)