On my website, Diabetes Teen Talk, I invite teens to send in their responses to questions I pose about living with diabetes. One question is about dealing with obstacles and how to overcome them. One teen wrote,
"Life is what you make of it and I am making mine memorable. I do not want to look down on life and wish things were different, because that is not who I am. I am special. I love my life. Taking shots several times a day is annoying, but cool. You get recognized for what you are doing. More and more people are starting to learn about diabetes and I believe that is what we need to get closer to a cure. Hope is the only thing we can give."
I love this quote because I feel that it completely incapsulates everything that the Diabetes Online Community is about.
We are here, together although many miles from each other, to share something so personal that most people only share it with their close friends and family: our life.
It is amazing that we as individuals can be so bold about something so fragile as the tangled emotions living with diabetes weaves in our heart. It astounds me everyday to read the published fears, and secrets, and joys, and frustrations and hope that the people of the O.C. share everyday.
Today is no different. Today, like so many other days, we sit down, write and validate the thoughts, the actions, the feelings that we all experience everyday.
Sometimes I wonder if it some secret power we are given when we or someone we love is diagnosed with a chronic illness. Is it because we view the chronic illness as such an insurmountable obstacle that we throw down all concern for what some stranger might think so that we might survive to see another day?
I believe I share more about my challenges in life with you, people I have never met (yet), than I do with most of my close friends and family.
We have such pride in our lives, though. You can see it in the way we speak of our children. The way we speak of our friends and our lovers. The way we speak of our accomplishments and our dreams. The way we speak of those who have changed our lives.
The way we stomp our feet in protest against Diabetes ruining a damn thing.
I am very proud of my life and I'm very proud of the lives of all of you, my Fine Blogging Friends and Resident Lurkers.
We are special people. We lead extraordinary, brave, frightening, ridiculously hilarious and quite possibly the strangest lives of any group of people I know. I mean, seriously, the kinds of things that happen to us on a regular basis are the stuff of movies. Or Reality TV. Perhaps Mr. Chris should pitch a show to MTV about a group of diabetics living in some posh apartment in a Big City, working together to climb out of the emotional wreckage to create a life of love, opportunity, excitement and laughter.
Now that would be a show worth watching.
"More and more people are starting to learn about diabetes and I believe that is what we need to get closer to a cure," she says.
This is true. It is true because we are no longer afraid to stand up and say, "I have diabetes and this is what it means."
We no longer allow the doctors and the politicians to dictate our lives. I know what diabetes is and what it means to me and I am here to tell you about it. Perhaps I can begin to dictate to the politicians and the doctors what their lives should be about: finding a cure. And fast.
But I disagree with her that hope is the only thing we can give. I think we can give much more than hope.
We can give information. We can give experience. We can give kindness. We can give understanding. We can give a shoulder to cry on. We can give a kiss on the cheek. We can give strength. We can give encouragement. We can give trust.
And we can give hope. We give these things to each other, and to ourselves, because we believe it will make a difference. It will lift us out of each dark place we find ourselves. It will make us stronger.
You have made me stronger.