I read an article in the Washington Post today. It was about a boy who was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was 8, and how that changed his childhood from carefree to one of limitations and responsibility, which sucked.* 

He’s right, of course, but for me, it went far beyond that.

The thing about diabetes is, it’s not fatal. It can be if you don’t accept all those limitations and responsibilities. But it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps the boy (now man) in the article had limits on Halloween and pigging out at pizza parties, and he had to carry the equipment and juice everywhere, which would be a pain, but I suspect he still had the luxury of a child’s perspective. He wasn’t old enough then to be told that he was going to die if he didn’t follow the rules. Things changed for him, but he didn’t have that particular monkey on his back for a while. I hope.

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Drink Up

Ah, water. The most constructive and destructive force in nature. Too much and it will destroy your life (hurricanes, sinkholes, floods). Too little and it will, well, destroy your life (drought, wild fires). It’s all about balance. The human body just can’t live without it.

Dehydration is a danger to everyone in the summer, but especially for those with chronic conditions. It can cause, worsen, or be a symptom of heart disease, hypoalbuminemia (too much albumin in the blood), hyper-/hypothyroidism, cancers requiring a certain course of chemo (cisplatin), and my own lovely monsters, diabetes and kidney disease. If I’m outside too long, I’m dehydrated. If I travel on a plane, I’m dehydrated. If I get sick to my stomach, I’m dehydrated. If my blood sugar is high, I am dehydrated. Around 66% of adult bodies are water, and if we don’t replenish what we use, it can make our conditions worse.

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We Need To Talk

My body has been under attack for 36 years, by enemies both foreign (me) and domestic (itself). This week, I stood in front of the mirror and took a good look at it, for the first time in a while. Part of me marvels at how strong and functional it still is after all that. The other part of me hates what it’s become (in large part because of what I have done to it) – fat, scarred, tired. I’m not sure which thoughts are dominant. It’s a big disconnect.

As in any relationship, nothing good can come of disconnects and lack of communication. We need to find our way back to common groundSo I wrote my body a letter, like I used to do after a big fight with my mom. Acknowledgement of fault, airing feelings, and sincere apology are the only way forward if the relationship is to survive. And I’m so much better at writing feelings than I am at speaking feelings.

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Mea Culpa

I have an apology to make. I muted someone on Twitter based on a gut reaction and an assumption.. I didn’t want to get into a Twitter conflict, and I have been trolled before by people looking to get me to give medical advice, so I hit mute and went about my day.

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Last week I found out that they need me to come in for additional, more detailed imaging of my left breast. It is hard to keep myself from considering worst case scenarios. Well, the worst case scenario. I can’t even type it. Cancer.

It’s a cruel, horrible process, the waiting. You get a call that sets off a claxon of an alarm bell in your head, then they tell you next to nothing. It forces you into a state of hyper anxiety that can’t be eased until you know one way or the other, which could be a day, a week, a month, depending on your schedule and theirs. For me it is going to be eight days. A very long and distracted eight days during which I have to pretend -- even to myself – that everything is normal.

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Bracing for the Worst

Today, all I want to do is curl up with a book and pretend the world doesn’t exist.

I had two routine procedures last week, a mammogram and an ultrasound of my kidneys and bladder. On Saturday, I picked up several neglected voicemail messages. The radiology center had called asking that I call them about one of the procedures I’d had. With my history, I couldn’t help but worry. These are the times you really hope it’s about billing.

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