This morning as I was getting ready for my day I was jamming to O.A.R.’s “Heard the World….”. I especially like the line; “How you're caught up in the fight of your life.” Earlier today, singing that line in the shower it made me feel powerful and think that, yeah I do feel like I am caught up in the fight of my life with diabetes, but that’s okay, because I am strong. I was in such a good mood: it’s Friday & the weekend is just about here, I have some fun plans & I woke up happy.
Now I am fighting back tears, trying to keep my composure at work. Every cell in my body is aching to scream its hatred of diabetes. A friend from church who is only in her mid-fifties, and has had diabetes most of her life, is being taken off life support today at 10:00 a.m. Her family, close friends and the ministers will be by her side. That provides some comfort.
Since I work in a church, I get calls more often than most people about someone dying, but typically it is one of the older members whom I only recognize by name. This one hits close to home. I knew this woman. She had “my” disease. We compared pumps and other diabetes info. Last fall, at the annual hayride I talked to her & her husband about how the daily struggles of diabetes were for me and she really listened and best of all she knew where I was coming from. She gave me all sorts of information, one of which was telling me about Dlife, which led me to this world of diabetes blogs. She left information for me about support groups and articles she thought I might find useful. She always had a smile for you.
It’s now 10:10 a.m. I wonder if its over. God, why her? Why diabetes? Why?
“She didn’t die from diabetes, it was her heart,” a helpful co-worker explained. I replied that people don’t actually die of diabetes but rather from the complications caused by or worsened by diabetes. Don’t try to tell me this disease had nothing to do with it. She had diabetes for 50 years; before there was blood glucose testing at home, before the DCCT Trials, before insulin pumps and I find it hard to imagine that disease didn’t take a toll on her body. The same helpful co-worker offered that she didn’t take good care of herself citing that she would eat all sorts of pastries etc. at Coffee Hour on Sunday mornings. Some people just really don’t understand. I would be willing to bet that her HbA1c was much better than my own.
I can’t push the thoughts away; the thoughts that this is what the end of my own life will look like. That the same comments will be exchanged by those who knew me. These lyrics will not stop running through my head;
“How you're caught up in the fight of your life.
Nothing's gonna save me.
I'm hanging from the nearest tree.
Nothing's gonna save me.”
They have taken on a different meaning than this morning. I have never personally known a person who had diabetes and then died. This is a disturbing and depressing first. Don’t worry, dear reader, I am not on the brink. This is just one of those times when life’s cruel, hard truths are thrown right in your face and it makes you think about the fragility of life and, in this case, makes me hate the disease that taints our lives.
I am, we all are, survivors and will endure. When you come across this please say a little prayer (or whatever it is you do) for my friend who managed to survive for more than 50 years with diabetes and then smile at how far we’ve come because I think she would like that.