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Why Diabetes Has Me Singing This Classic Queen Song

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HEY! DIABETES! You blood-sucking, effort-zapping, pancreas wrecker,

There are no endearing terms for you, but I just wanted to get your attention. And, of course, you counter by attacking me with the lethargy brought on by low blood sugar. It interrupts my tirade against you, making me get off this chair to go eat some blood sugar-raising, weight-gain inducing carbohydrates, just so I can slam you down with my pen.

You think you are the mighty one, but I have to wonder who is stronger and tougher.

Me? For keeping you at bay for 38 years? Or you, For erratically showing up whenever and however you want?

Thanks for helping to upend my moods, my energy levels, and my self-control. You are no friend of mine. Incessantly, you hang out like a filthy slob in my life — wreaking havoc with my attempts at normalcy, shattering my attempts to reasonably control my health by jumping to attention when I eat too much or having an over-energetic exercise session.

Just when I think you’re not paying attention, you wake up from your comfortable position on the couch and rush to the forefront of my brain again. You’re always there, aren’t you?

Some days, I just plan to give up on you. Some days, I try to eat better and exercise and still feel like giving up on you. Some days, all seems well and I feel I might be able to live with you. Some days, I do not even want to know what you are up to while I am trying to eat better, exercise a little more and simply enjoy life as it comes. Every day, I’d like to forget you. But I can’t.

No matter what I do, it’s a dance of conflict. I throw you a well-prepared, carbohydrate-counted, portion-controlled meal and you pitch back at me high blood sugar. I shove some insulin at you and you bite back with a dose of fatigue and irritability.

This is not sissy fighting. It’s Rocky Balboa and Paul Blart (form the movie “Mall Cop”) all mixed into one. We take turns at being the heavy hitter or the survivor — both reaching for destiny, one with a powerful punch, the other with a desperately weak attack. Most often, it seems I am Paul Blart, searching out the hair-infested, dusty sucker salvaged from under a desk in a feeble attempt to treat hypoglycemia.

Some days, you beat me up mentally as I consider all the strategies needed to spar with you. Is my purse equipped with a blood sugar meter, mentos to treat low blood sugar, and insulin pens and needle tips to treat highs? Have I been drinking enough water? Am I out walking or running or lifting? Or, am I lethargic at my desk, wondering why I feel like cat crap?

My defense mechanisms rage as I sigh and wonder if you will pick your next fight with my kids, who share my genetics, and those of their ancestors. Then you win and I get sucker-punched into a stressed-out mode that drives up my blood sugar. I wish you would just leave me alone.

At the height of it all, though, you freakin’ unwelcome bedfellow, I think to myself —

Would I strive so hard to be healthy? Would I eat the way  I do (apples and peanut butter vs. the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard at Dairy Queen – extra large) or exercise as much (huff and puff) if I didn’t have to worry about you winning the fight?

Would I have a nice family of five kids if it weren’t for you hanging around to “help” me be healthy during pregnancy?

Would I even care as much about living as I do?

You see, I care a lot every day, and you are my excuse for doing so. Yes! It’s an edge-of-the-table arm wrestle with you all the time. I’m not giving up because I know neither will you.

Since I am a person and you’re just a thing, I’m claiming victory. Every day for the past 38 years, I’ve won. So, let me hold hands with all of the diseased of the world. Can you hear us? We’re singing Queen’s “We Are The Champions.”

“We Are The Champions. And we’ll keep on fighting to the end. We are the champions. We are the champions. No time for losers, because we are the champions… of the world.”

Yeah, you’re the loser, diabetes.

I’ve got this.

Originally published: March 30, 2015
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