I was talking to a friend the other day about living with diabetes. That it's kind of a never ending assault of sharpness on your body, all so that you can live. That it's about enduring the actual hurting of yourself, because it's good for you in the end. That on a primal level at least, it's all very counterintuitive. Which prompted my friend to raise an interesting question. If you have to do all tis unpleasant stuff to live, in that light, what's the opposite from that necessary fact, she asked? What's the antidote to diabetes if you will? What's the physical antidote to the reality of the physical experience of diabetes, she asked? Hm. Now there's an interesting question I'd never quite considered in that way. I'd always thought about what would help me to live with this disease, but I'd never thought of it as an opposite kind of mechanism. The more I think about it, the more I think that this is a great question. A smart and healing question. If I have to endure the regimen of diabetes to live well, what can I do to offset and sooth some of the physical impact it has on me?
What my friends question has also helped me to see is how compartmentalized I've become around the pain and discomfort of the maintenance of this disease. I say to myself that it isn't constant pain, so the sharp sting of inserting the pump port into my body isn't really a big deal because it will soon pass. The discomfort of an itchy site or the ache of cold insulin going into my body, well that's not ongoing, so it doesn't really matter. The fact that my finger tips are so scarred that I need to find new places to take blood tests, places that still have active nerves that jump when the clicker plunges in and succeeds to draw blood, well that just goes with the territory. I say to myself that I should feel ok because I have less discomfort because I only have to change my site every 3 days instead of take 6 shots every day, as I did before I went on the pump. It's less physical invasions, so the pain that is there, doesn't compare. It's come to not count over the years, because it's just so necessary. Necessary to live, so it's necessary to endure. Right?
Huh? Wait a minute here. Less pain is definitely better, but it's still pain. Less shots are definitely better, but it's still a physical invasion every 3 days, year in and year out. Plus there's the cumulative impact of all these tiny acts of violence. 6 shots a day for 16 years, 4-8 blood tests a day for nearly 22 years, insertion of a port into my stomach, backside and legs for over 7 years, thousands of low blood sugars and high blood sugars. That's a lot of "not so bad" stuff. A lot.
So in that light, my friends question is starting to take on some real importance to me. What's my antidote to the physical assault of diabetes? I'm struck with the fact that at this point, I'm not really sure.
Is it a massage every few weeks?. Not massage work, but rather, a massage just to relax and feel good.
Or maybe it's water. I remember how it felt when I was a young girl growing up in California floating in the waves at the beach. I imagine that physical feeling could possibly be an antidote to diabetes. Weightless, buoyant, floating in a calm, undulating sea. Maybe I need to try to find some of that in the near future.
Or maybe it's lying in a hammock on a 70+ degree day, somewhere sweet smelling, with a cool, refreshing breeze blowing around me. That perfect temperature, not too cool, not too warm, calm, quiet and complete. Yep. That would work too.
Even as I write this, I'm amazed at how much better I'm feeling, right now, this very minute. By just imagining what the antidote might be, I feel better. The idea that there are things that could possibly counteract some of the persistent physical noise and discomfort of diabetes is exciting. Seeing this idea as a filling in of what's been taken away physically by diabetes really helps me. In the absence of a cure, the question then becomes how can I soothe the tired, diabetes impacted body I have? What is my antidote?