This weeks GoBeyond post is a little bit different from normal. Usually I get photographs with a very short snippet of text–sometimes just a name, age and date of diagnosis. Being somewhat of a storyteller, there is part of me that is always left wanting just a little bit more. I acknowledge that’s just me being a bit selfish though–because these stories and photos are just little windows that we are given into the lives and ambitions of our fellow T1Ds. Even the smallest glimpse is a privilege.
This week, however, I received a couple of photos that opened that “window” a little wider and so I wanted to share that view with you in hopes that it inspires you (as it did me) to not be compliant with the “mold” into which we are constantly told to fit. You are not your diabetes:
My going beyond diabetes story for today (the long version):
Some friends, my husband and I went for a new climbing adventure on Mokuleia on Oahu. We knew the approach was steep, but it was STEEP. 2/3 was scrambling through fields of volcanic boulders. We had to climb most of the mountain to get to the one climbable section of rock on the island. And we were determined to make it work. My blood sugar dropped, I couldn’t stop shaking, and I was losing the ability to think through what I needed to do. Dexcom and my meter couldn’t agree on what was happening. We hadn’t even finished the approach and I felt defeated and betrayed by my body. I knew I’d I finished the hike i’d have very little strength left to climb, but I knew I needed to try. I’ve been in a slump for a long time, not wanting to take the time to go climbing or to deal with the disease. Sometimes the 2 don’t want to play nice with each other. I treated and pushed on. Having never climbed on basalt, I set a low goal which I did not meet. I was mad at myself, mad at diabetes, and mad at basalt for being so deceiving looking. It was yet another “make it work or give up let the beast win” moment. I opted for some scrambling, something I actually really enjoy and feel safe doing even on bad BG days. The result was I felt more motivated to try again, and was gentle with myself – I didn’t finish the route, but I threw down some technical moves that felt good. I fought to make today a win, but I did win!
Thanks for all the work you put into LV. It makes such a difference knowing I’m not the only one fighting through the challenges of being a climber with T1D.
Hi Steve, glad you’re back 🙂 Wanted to submit a photo for one of your posts… I posted it to my facebook world on 7/23/15 which is my dx anniversary. My caption:
“Today is Thursday, July 23rd. It’s the anniversary of the day my life changed–I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes–on THURSDAY July 23, 1992. Today marks 23 years. Strange, no? Not a happy anniversary, but certainly a major one. Death’s door literally opened, but I came baaaa-aack! In your face, DKA. And you too, BG of over 1200. Despite my resentment for this full time job, T1d has made me a …stronger person, no doubt about that. Here’s to being badass despite chronic illness! In honor of my anniversary, I’m throwing it back to last week, and one heck of a bike crash. ‘Cause she won’t hold me back; ’cause I’m fun like that!
We are not simply a product of the challenges we can’t avoid–we are the sum of the challenges we choose to face. It’s not just catchy wordplay; the way we see ourselves determines if we keep pressing forward even when there are setbacks. Even when there is fear. Especially when there is fear. Life is a challenge–and a gift. Each day, it feels like I am seeing tragic losses cropping up in my social media feed. Each time it startles me–because there are no guarantees that life will go on or that it will get easier. We can despair or we can find a way to take pride in our battle scars and steal precious lessons from the jaws of defeat.
This is diabetes. This is a battle for survival–and while medicine and technology are necessary to overcome our adversary–they are not sufficient alone.
If you want to share your story in an upcoming Go Beyond blog post just submit your photo and a write-up to email@example.com
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