Today I celebrate the five year anniversary of my diagnosis where I changed instantaneously into a person learning to manage a chronic disease. My d-day is followed by my nephew's b-day so I remember while keeping perspective. My altered reality is defined by four letters, LADA. My learning curve has been steep over the last five years as I reshaped my life. Rather lament the curse of my disease, I celebrate the gifts that it has brought me, ones I sorely needed.
It has brought me the gift of community, my personal learning network, pLN that mirrors the virtual support and information that I get from my professional learning network, PLN. My pLN has brought me DSMA and the DOC, replete with people whose lives mirror my reality, managing a chronic disease. They have taught me that there is no perfect and to stop stressing about achieving it. They have taught me to take one day at a time. They have taught me to laugh. They have taught me more about my disease than all the research and books that I have read or doctor's visits that I have had. I have never met a single one of them face-to-face yet, but their words matter.
It has helped me uncover the gift of time. We make time for what we value. It's true. I believe it. I know it. When I went to get my ACL fixed, my ortho said, "So you're an exercise enthusiast." "No!" I retorted. "It is a prescription for my life." I literally use ten units less of insulin a day when I work out. Exercise matters. I am able to see how much it matters. I must move for the rest of my life whether I am enthused or not. I hate exercising, but I love the community. I love moving with my fellow Gladiators, walkers, runners and ultimate players. They motivate me and move me. I make time.
It has brought me the gift of clarity. I see the visible effects of every choice I make as evidenced by my blood glucose readings. I must keep calm and carry on. Stress doesn't do my body good. I worry less now. I had to learn it and I had to practice it every day for the past five years. I am still learning. I figured out that I needed to put myself first. That too I practice and get better
at seeing every day.
It gave me the gift of courage. Without courage, I would not have started blogging as part of documenting my journey of pursuing balance. I needed balance most. I still seek it daily. I get better every day, but blogging helps me navigate the path. As an English teacher, I love the venue that all writers can experience via publishing. Teaching blogs and diabetes blogs helped me navigate my professional and personal life. I hope my words have that same power for others. Of all the gifts I received over the past five years, the most important is that I learned how to live not just how to survive.