Yes, all ~347 million of you.
That’s a big salutation, I know. But that’s the point. This disease is a BIG DEAL and there are a lot of people in this world that identify themselves as a person with diabetes. This disease is deadly. There is no cure. It doesn’t come and go. It moves in and it stays put. Forever. So, I just wanted to take a quick second to acknowledge the silent fight that each and every one of you is putting up every day, not just today.
I don’t know a lot of you. In fact, I hardly know any of you. And that’s really too bad because I think I would be infatuated with nearly all of you. But since I don’t know your names, or anything about you, I figured I would just…
Say hi to all of you who wake up in the morning and your first thought can’t be “Good morning to me.” it’s, “What am I?”
To all of you whose finger tips are sensitive, callused, and covered with tiny dots. No one notices, trust me.
Everyone who looks at a bagel and sees the number 75. Eat it anyway. Life’s too short.
Those of you who have had to sit, talk down the panic, sweat, and weakness associated with a low. I know it’s scary. But this too shall pass.
Hi to the kid whose grades are slipping because he can’t even see the whiteboard after 2pm. Dude, you’ve gotta cover your lunch. No one can fix that but you.
To the girl who just started a job in a new city and is crying in an unfamiliar pharmacy. She was told her test strip order can’t be fulfilled until tomorrow and she has 1 left. Been there. 100 times. At least you got to buy a new bottle of shampoo while you were there?
Hi to the man that just finished his third marathon sans blood sugar scares. You’re a fucking trooper, sir. Congratulations.
To the student who just unpacked his suitcase abroad and realizes he forgot his back up meters back in the States. 2 of mine drowned in Costa Rica’s humidity, I feel your pain, bro. Every country sells meters. Also, it might be time to learn the metric system just in case.
To the middle schooler’s mom or dad who diligently cares for him and makes sure he’s safe during school and hockey practice. Eventually, those 11PM spikes will subside. He’s a growing boy. You are amazing and he will thank you soon enough.
Hi to the freshman in college who is afraid to drink at parties because she doesn’t want to tell her friends she has diabetes. Trust me, come clean, it’s so worth it to be honest. Party on, Garth! (Safely, of course.)
And hi, to the young dad who just lost his job and doesn’t have health insurance to cover the astronomical cost of test strips and insulin. There are resources for you, and just like everything else, you will get through this. You’re the strongest guy out there.
Hi to every the teenage girl who gets bullied for her weight and is too afraid to expose her ugly test kit to her friends at the lunch table – you are a beautiful warrior, girlfriend. For now, keep your head on straight and someday, you’ll show them who’s boss.
Hi to each and everyone of you who dedicates so much of your mental capacity to ensuring that your health and wellbeing is top of mind at all times.
Diabetes is scary. It’s obnoxious. It’s rude and interrupts our lives all of the time. It’s never convenient. Nothing ever goes the way it’s supposed to, and yet we have to be 10 steps ahead of it at all times. Plus, not all of us are numbers people. Hell, I can barely count to 10 (it’s after 13, right?), but our lives are entirely comprised of numbers: mg/dl, grams, percentages, units, times per day we stab ourselves, times per day we go, “Oh shit”, times per day someone looks at me when I pull my pump out of my bra (you enjoyed it, relax.). And it’s exhausting! It’s a lot of pressure! It’s a lot of work.
As if life isn’t hard enough as it is.
So, hi to each and every one of you; young and old, near and far. To all of you who keep your diabetes a secret, and those of you who blab about it on the Internet every day (sorry). Those of us who know all the facts and have the latest devices, and those of us who are totally clueless and overwhelmed.
There’s so much more to all of us than the pungent smelling vile of mystery that keeps us alive. Than carb counting and alcohol swabs. We are all amazing. We are all whole people. We have careers and boyfriends. We love music and traveling. Diabetes is just a part of us. It can’t stop us, it can’t keep us from living beautiful, adventurous lives.
You don’t have to say hi back. I get it, you’re busy! I just wanted to extend an olive branch just in case one of you needed it. Say what’s up. Congratulate you on doing everything you’re doing. I know how hard it all can be sometimes.
Keep doing you. People admire you. Your peers respect you. Your family is proud of you.