Yesterday was a beautiful, sparkly day, a cold day, the day before the Pope resigned, the Lunar New Year. Yesterday I ran 6 miles, programmed my first website, made lasagne with Ryan. I thought about the blood in my veins and how, after twelve years with diabetes, I still see it - every day. And how trivial that seems. And how funny it is to get used to adhesives on your stomach. And how, over time, you grow to really love those little sticky patches, because of what they do for you. And how tiresome this narrative must be, the preexisting-conditioners-speak-out-story, the let-me-show-you-how-tough-I-am story.*
I saw a new endocrinologist for the first time in several years. While reviewing my blood sugar charts he said something about a common trend toward hyperglycemia after meals, and completely without prompt, I burst into tears. He waited a beat and then said, "I certainly hope this isn't causing you psychological stress."
There are a lot of ways to interpret that. What this man doesn't know is that I am a master at interpreting things a thousand different ways. It is, at times, my job to do just that. I looked at him and said, "This shit is frustrating." Because the truth of it is, no matter how boring that narrative gets, it's there for you like any terrible reality tv show or late night drama. Yes, the last twelve years have been amazing. I have gotten to travel the world and study things I care about and work with really interesting people and live in beautiful places and spend time with my family and friends and fall in love and go on adventures. And on a good number of those days I've been downing Gatorade on my bike or waking up shaking in the middle of the night or taking an injection because my site doesn't work. I imagine other people's bodies as these machines that tick involuntarily; mine is a watch that must be wound, every two days, using a 7cm needle.
Know that this is not a call for sympathy. This is an acknowledgement that days can go by and years can pass and we can accomplish great things while still honoring, for one day, that nine or ten or eleven or twelve years ago our lives were unaffected in a way that they no longer are. That this is, for better or worse, a reality, one that occasionally causes stress, but one full of awe, and honesty, and true, real love.
So that was yesterday.
*I want to mention, too, that when other people living with, well, whatever it is we humans live with, share their stories about their own conditions, I feel a kinship and compassion so strong that I know this narrative will always have its place.