Chris is brand new on the DOC scene, and I'm thrilled to have her posting today. Her blog, Canadian D-gal, is a really worth a read. I'm also really looking forward to trying her recipe from the first batch of D-Feast recipes!
I was diagnosed with diabetes in the summer of 2002 at the age of 22. Before diagnosis I was a regular adventure seeker. My hobbies included rock climbing, scuba diving, Mountain biking, Snow boarding, backpacking… the list goes on (AND ON). None of these things stopped upon diagnosis. Just the preparations became harder. Suddenly it was more than just throwing on my shoes and going for a run.
I am not one for jewelry; I find it annoying and cumbersome. I once owned a Medic-Alert ID bracelet that looked like a sports band. The bracelet didn’t last long before I just stopped wearing it because it bothered me. Over the years I have continued to be just as active in the outdoors as ever but have never really stopped to think about the repercussions if something did “HAPPEN”. I am with people sometimes but more often than not I do these things alone. And anyone that knows me well knows I am constantly pushing my limits and biting off more than I can chew. Often barely making it home some days. I've been known to make a phone call or two because I've ridden my bike too far and can't make it back. I can’t count how many times I had to walk the rest of the run, or stop on the side of the road during a ride. Sure I can go everywhere with my cell phone but that is not always trustworthy.
I have never uttered the words “WHAT IF?” What IF something happened? What IF I wasn’t able to speak? I've never asked that question because I was terrified to come to terms with the reality that something could easily happen. I’ve managed to go 8 years without running into an emergency situation that I couldn’t handle. With my lifestyle and stubbornness, that surprises me. However, putting myself out there almost every day in compromising situations I feel like I’m a walking talking emergency waiting to happen. Maybe I’ve done well for myself over the years but I’ve come close, on a few occasions. I’ve got to stop going along waiting for something bad to happen to give me a reason to look out for myself. After all, I’m usually alone and there is nobody there to look out for me but me. I’ve got to stop giving myself the benefit of the doubt and DO something proactive.
I thought about medic alert jewelry but I just couldn’t bring myself to actually wear any of it. I thought about those shoe ID tags but I do so many different things I’d have to move it around from running shoe to cycling shoe to roller blade to hiking boot, or buy many of them. It didn’t seem like the right thing. A Tattoo seemed like the right decision for me. NOT only do I never have to worry about breaking it or loosing it. I don’t have to wear jewelry! It’s there through all the running, bouncing, spinning, sweating, swimming etc. It will never fall off or get damaged or scratched. It’s clear and legible and obvious and PERMANENT! No matter where I go, or what I do, it will always speak for me when maybe I can’t. So I researched and designed it for a long time and this past Saturday I had it done and I love it! It has a recognizable medic-alert logo with the red symbol. It also has the blue universal ring to symbolize diabetes. And in clear text it says DIABETES TYPE 1.
More important than anything else, diabetes is life-long. Unfortunately it’s not going away any time soon and THAT, my friends, is the ugly truth about it. My tattoo is more than medic alert, This will speak for me for the rest of my life.
I love this post, because it shows how different we all are, and how we make life with D work for us. I myself would never get a tattoo, but I think Chris' is clean and tasteful, and if I ever were to get one, it would probably be something rather like this!