Sunday, November 14, 2010

Life Support

I’m on life support.

If you’re a fellow PWD, then you are too.

In medicine, life support broadly refers to any therapy that’s used to sustain a patient’s life while they are critically ill or injured. I’d say that a purely decorative pancreas constitutes a critical injury.

Every time we take our insulin, medication, follow a healthy eating/exercise plan, or any of the host of other things we do daily, we’re choosing to live. We don’t talk about it much but we all know that if we suddenly stopped everything we do each day, we’d die. There’s no question about it. We also know that we can make our best efforts to take the best care of ourselves possible and diabetes may choose to take us unfairly at any time.

I said it last year on WDD and I’ll say it again – insulin isn’t a cure, it’s life support. 

I can’t count the number of conversations I’ve had with people who believe that all we need to do is test our blood sugar and not eat any sweets and we’ll be ok. Not so. It’s a delicate balance of insulin and/or medications and dietary planning in relation to exercise. It’s a balancing act. Every day we either end up on the glucoaster or we manage to dodge it but the possibility is always there. Nothing that we do makes our diabetes go away, it just makes our bodies function the way they’re intended to.

To the general public, if a PWD “doesn’t look sick” then diabetes isn’t that big of a deal and if a PWD does “look sick,” then he or she did it to him/herself. Not many chronic diseases work that way. Not many diagnoses come with people judging you at every turn despite the wealth of information available proving that their judgments are founded only in ignorance. Why does everyone insist on assuming that we’re diabetics because we’re sugar addicts? That we brought this disease upon ourselves because we have no self-control?

Yes, today is World Diabetes Day and I’m celebrating the fact that I’m not only living, but thriving with diabetes. My Endo never gave me the “we’re 10 years away from a cure” speech. I think she knew that I knew better and I’ve honestly never really thought about a cure for myself. I already have diabetes and in 2 1/2 short years, I’ve gotten as used to living with it as I possibly can. But I still fight and advocate and speak out for a cure. Why? So that no one else will receive the diagnosis. I speak for those who can’t and for those who, like I was, are completely clueless that they could even be a target for diabetes. So that no one else will ever have to experience the loss of a loved one to diabetes. So that no more parents will lie awake at night worried about their children in the next room. So that no one else will have to feel helpless at the sight of a loved one bravely battling their diabetes.

Today I celebrate living. I celebrate not letting diabetes get in my way even though it follows me everywhere. I celebrate the technological and medicinal advances that are allowing me to thrive. But I do so with the knowledge that today – World Diabetes Day - OUR Day, over 40 children and 4500 adults over the age of 20 will be diagnosed with diabetes.  We’ve got a long way to go.


  1. AWEsome post, Ashley. Thank you, and Happy WDD to you!

  2. Thanks Buddy! I'm glad you liked it. Happy WDD to you, too!