When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my doctor and friends told me I was lucky. Lucky because there would be a cure in the next 5 years (but there wasn't). Lucky because it wasn't cancer, which was true (but still it was diabetes). They were trying to focus on the upside of the situation, which I appreciate and understand. And it's not that they were totally wrong either. But as I get close to my 20th year with diabetes, I am keenly aware of how much my life has been altered by it. I have made difficult choices about my health, my body, my career and my personal life, to live well with this disease.
I am also aware that I am, in fact, lucky. Lucky to live in a time where there are so many choices around my care: with the advancement of the insulin pump, short acting insulins, better blood testing technology and access to excellent information that helps me manuever through life with diabetes. Lucky too, because I have still been able to live a life with adventures and achievement and pleasure and love. In short, I know that I am lucky because I have been able to live these last 20 years.
But diabetes has no cure. Multiple shots a day or living with a machine attached to you 24/7 is not a cure. Far from it. In fact I am actively engaged in staying alive, every day, several times a day. Alive but not cured. This engagement is what is meant when diabetes is described as "manageable". The idea though true, carries with it the tacite implication that the management of diabetes is simple and easy because it can be managed in the first place. And in turn, the fact that a manageable process exists at all, should be reason enough to feel lucky and "kind of" cured.
All of which is totally true and also not true at the same time.
My own experience with management of diabetes is one of jumping through a series of hoops and rituals to THEN get to live. I take my blood sugar, figure out the nutritional components of the food I am going to eat, then figure out my insulin dose and deliver it. Thats the routine, on the good days, at least 3 times a day, every day. And then on the more difficult days (because I am tired or I'm getting sick or I exercised too much or not enough or I am traveling or my meal is late or my bloodsugar is mysteriously out of control or I make a mistake, because I've done the routine a thousand times before) on those days, I have much more to juggle, calculate, guess. Every day a new set of variables layered on top of the unending routine. I guess you can call this process manageable but I don't agree that it is simple or easy. It's just a process that you get used to.
So in the end, am I lucky? I would answer most definitely yes and also, most certainly no. Life with diabetes has taught me that luck is in truth, a relative thing.