Lemonade Life

Saturday, December 17, 2005

One Road Divided

Late-night thought rambles have made me sleep through more alarm clocks and miss more appointments and classes than I care to acknowledge. I had another one last night. Lying awake. Eyes glued to the ceiling or pursed shut begging for sleep. Mind forming beginnings and ends and middles of passionate speeches. Each roll-over tossing out a new revelation. A new declaration. A new epiphany.

If you were given the chance to go back to before you were diagnosed and had two roads to take, one was the road that leads you up to the point you are at now with all that has come with diabetes and the other will lead you to a life without diabetes, which road would you take and why? - Gina's Blog

I wrote that I would stay on this road. That I love my life enough that I wouldn't want to be a non-diabetic. But then Kerri pointed out that it isn't about whether or not we like our life or if we think this is a God or universal decree, but about whether or not we would choose diabetes.

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I am eight years old.

I am sitting in an empty classroom. Multiplication tables are stapled to the wall. Posters of international children holding hands smile down on me. Colorful paintings are taped to the window.

A man walks into the room. He is wearing a white coat and has a stethescope around his neck. He smiles and sits down. "Hello Allison."

I am shy. I don't say anything.

"I have a very important question." He hands me a piece of paper with the word Diabetes in 36-point font. Below is a list of symptoms and complications. There is a description of the day in the life of a diabetic. He opens a box and shows me a glucose meter and a syringe. He asks, "Allison, would you like to have diabetes, too?"

Honestly, who in their right mind would say, "Oh yes, please sir, I'd love to have diabetes!"

If I didn't already know this life, I would not choose the potential.

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However, as I thought more and more about this question, and thinking about all the different responses given (did you notice the ones with diabetes would keep while the ones without would not?), I thought, "The entire tone of this question makes it seem like a life with diabetes is horrible and a life without diabetes is not."

Why else would you even contemplate not having diabetes? Obviously, there are a lot of things about diabetes that we don't like and we want to get rid of it. But by saying we want to go the "non-diabetic" route, we're saying that we believe a non-diabetic route is: safer, healthier, nicer, easier, funer.

If you haven't noticed, there are quite a few non-diabetics who are crazy, messed-up, unhappy people. There are a quite a few diabetics who are crazy, messed-up, unhappy people. Life without diabetes is not necessarily a "better" life, and a life with diabetes is not necessarily a "harder" life. I think it all comes down to attitude, to cards drawn, to choices made, to faith.

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Joseph. Bailey. Brendon. Zach. Chris.

Brett. Brenton. Amanda. Hollie. Sydney.

Daniel. Clare. Kimberly. Kelsey. Nathan.

Kerri. Amy. Gina. Wil. Gary.

These are just a few of the people I know with diabetes.

The first line is your children. The ones most precious.

The second line is my children. The ones I used to babysit for. The ones I've watched grow up.

The third line is my friends from camp. The ones who helped me survive high school and finding myself.

The fourth line is you. The ones who will help me survive adulthood and everything that comes with it.

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Do I want these people to have diabetes? I don't know. I don't know because I don't know where the line is between taking away a disease and taking away a life. Life is full of challenges, of tears, of death, of hope, of courage, of bliss.

If you removed one thing, if you removed diabetes, is that really going to solve all problems? Will that prevent us from ever bleeding? Of ever crying? Of ever accomplishing our goals? Of ever meeting new people? Of coures not. It still happens. It's life.

This is Life. This is the only one we have. If when I was 8, I had been given the choice, I would not have chosen diabetes. But thank God it isn't a choice. Because who knows what kinds of lessons I would have missed out on? I don't know if I would have liked the other life more or if I would have liked it even less. I want to focus on this one. This is the one I'm on.

This diabetes road is a hard one. But looking at the world, looking at people, and looking at God, I really can't see how another road is anything particularly better. I can understand why people don't want diabetes. I can understand why people want diabetes. I'm sure at some points we wish we never had it, and I'm sure at some points we almost love it. But I think everyone does that.

This road is bumpy, and crazy, and messed up. But so are all of them.

I wonder where this Road goes.

9 Comments:

At December 17, 2005 9:41 PM , Blogger Megan said...

What a great post. It's amazing how diabetes get so much in our life that we don't know where we would be without it.

If I didn't have diabetes, my diet may not be as healthy as it is now. This could put me at risk for a slew of (potentially worse) diseases later on.

If I didn't have diabetes, I wouldn't have a blog, and I would know you guys and your inspiring stories.

If I didn't have diabetes, I wouldn't have the persistance, patience, and courage I have now.

If I didn't have diabetes, I would not be at the college I am at now (long story).

And it goes on and on and on.

 
At December 18, 2005 6:51 AM , Blogger Wil said...

Allison--

This a fablous post (again!). Gina started an amazing dialog, didn't she? I too noticed that not all, but most, diabetics chose to stay the course. These were people who varried greatly in the age that they were Dxed.

But the parents, 100%, choose the other road. I guess that shows you where the greater suffering lies.

This is one of the vew times I disagree with Six (a.k.a. Kerri). I truly belive that NONE of us would be the people we are today without D. Steel is forged in fire. I don't think she'd be even half as spunky if she had been on the other road.

Would we be good, intelligent, intersting people? Sure. We just would not be the people we are today, nor would would we have this vast spider web of family spread out across the world. People we can laugh and cry with; love and support; without ever having met in the real world.

Would I have chosen it not knowing what I know now? No. Probably not. But knownig what I do, I would choose it again.

Would I choose it for my son? No. But if it is his destinity to have it too, then I'll thank God I have the tools to help him and I'll know that there are many gifts for him under an otherwise evil tree.

 
At December 18, 2005 2:45 PM , Blogger Shannon said...

I'm so impressed that you are embracing the adversity of having diabetes. I get you.

If something like that pushes you to be the best person you can be both physically, emotionally, spiritually, then I can see how you choose the path where diabetes would walk along with you.

Of course I'm holding out for a cure, but I'm living life as though it will never happen. Therefore, I never give my son the hope because I don't want him getting frustrated with managing and living with diabetes, thinking there is a "better" life awaiting him without diabetes. I need him to accept his fate and live the best life he can while incorporating diabetes into his life.

Did that make sense??

 
At December 19, 2005 5:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question being, if you had the choice to go back in time and not have diabetes, would you still choose to be diabetic? It is a no brainer! Why would anyone make the choice to have a disease. The argument is made that the disease has made them strong and "durable", they have made better diet and health decisions.Your children and grandchildren will now have a significantly greater risk of developing diabetes. Selfish to even not think about that. Never mind that you think it has made you a better person. Everyone in the family lives with diabetes not just the diabetic.I believe that people will be strong or weak regardless of whether they are diabetic or not. I don't know how anyone can honestly say they would still choose to have diabetes if given the choice. Something is wrong with this picture.

 
At December 19, 2005 9:55 AM , Blogger d double e said...

I do not have diabetes, so I know I'm not really eligibile to weigh in with any real authority. That said, I agree that diabetes can make you stronger, or more compassionate, or more giving... or angrier, or unhappy.. or a million things--- and thats just my point... diabetes and every other life experience shapes who we are and what we do with our lives.

As a parent, I'd choose to take diabetes away from my daughter. I also like to believe that she will be shaped by my guidance, by her life experiences, by a million things-- and taking away one of them-- diabetes, or where she goes to school, or her bedroom furnitire, or Dora, or whatever-- itsnt going to change the person that she is.

 
At December 20, 2005 8:18 AM , Blogger Violet said...

What Dee said.

The gifts, or absence of gifts, that appear to come with any road in life actually have more to do with how a person chooses to respond to adversity than with the road itself.

I would opt for the path of less suffering for myself, period. I have faith that I would have grown as a person on a different road. Perhaps I'd even be a better person than I am now had I encountered different challenges. It's impossible to know, but I do know that I wouldn't willingly choose a disease that damages my body and my emotional health.

I don't feel I have the right to assess whether another PWD is "better off" with this disease. But I would suggest that humans can grow and develop character in many ways, and that physical and emotional suffering are not a prerequisite. If you have no choice, then the healthiest path is to try to grow, of course. But this conversation is about a hypothetical choice. If only we were each empowered to make it.

 
At December 20, 2005 10:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're lying.

 
At December 21, 2005 7:35 AM , Blogger Johnboy said...

My motto is consistent with Shannon's - to live life like there will be no cure, but hold out hope that there will be one.

I don't think that I would be the person that I am today without this disease. I wouldn't be living as healthy a life...i wouldn't be as connected with so many great people that share this condition...i wouldn't be as in touch with my own feelings.

But would I choose to have diabetes if given the choice, even knowing about what I have gained? The answer for me is no.

 
At January 01, 2006 11:54 AM , Blogger J said...

thanks allison look forward to being added to the oc website

 

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