I feel you are a piece of my fingerprint, as I can’t recall life without you. You add an extra weight to my shoulders which is where my stress rides. As soon as I have you figured out, you change. I thank God each day for those whom understand this dark, hidden and shaded part of you. So often I feel judged, looked down upon and less because of you. I have to explain to those in healthcare that 100% perfection is unrealistic and I regularly feel judged by nurses and doctors if I open up this conversation at work and in their respective specialities, as their patient.
You allow me to set limits and use you as an excuse. You were so inconspicuous, I didn’t even realize I was under your wrath! For years, I thought I wasn’t smart enough and that I would be a dis-service in healthcare, but slowly I have realized you were wrong. My soul is fueled through the service of others and I refuse to treat someone with disrespect, prejudgement and assumptions. Diabetes, thank you for sparking this fire - you are the driving force that will make me good at this chosen career path! I have fallen victim to you in sports, with relationships and as a parent. You even lowered my blood sugar so drastically that I couldn’t walk this past year. Remember that time in college that I came-to in the ED with a Dr. chewing me out really close to my face, accusing me of drinking too much the night before. I grabbed him by the shirt and asked if he smelled anything resembling boos oozing out of my pores. Case in point Diabetes. I’m glad I have God on my side, coupled with a few Angels, human watchdogs, a bad-ass husband and a few chosen ones who have been or are blessings when I was down with you diabetes!
You cost me a fortune every year and you make me resist change in my life because I fear how much it will cost me. Can I afford the copays? Wait, can I afford the insurance to have the copays during these times? I have been misquoted, misdiagnosed as a Type 2 Diabetic (twice) and talked down to by uninformed customer service reps. Speaking of costs, my favorite Endocrinologist is a Tier 2 provider (which costs me more money) but after firing 3 Tier 1 Endo’s, it’s worth the extra money to have the team who specialize in reigning you back in. Sometimes even you get me so distraught, I need to trust those on my defensive team against you. You are the reason:
I’ve started a list of things I will do when I see this disease cured. An Ironman is the only feat on that list, one that I do not feel diabetes would allow me to do in my current state. Maybe I will change my way of thinking someday or maybe I will rein-in on my dream.
Diabetes, I’ll talk with you in an hour when I’m ready for lunch.
Female, Age 34
Diabetes, Type I
Brianna Schiavoni, LCSW
“Ms. Schiavoni has given a voice to many people who battle various diagnoses. Through this therapeutic and empowering writing project, participants can finally share their story and reclaim their power over that diagnosis!”