Who Would I Be Without Diabetes?

I was reading Riva’s fascinating article on Diabetes Daily, partway into the article she asks,

“Who would you be without diabetes?”

I immediately stopped reading to think about my answer.

I’ve lived with diabetes a little more than 4 years. Many adults with type 1 diabetes were diagnosed in childhood and had type 1 as a companion growing up. My pancreas failed at age 22 giving me a vastly different perspective on who I am with diabetes in the equation and with diabetes out of the equation.

Although I’ve met some wonderful people through having diabetes and learned a lot about my own body and truly being healthy, I would not hold onto this awful disease if I could give it up. I wouldn’t hold onto bruise finger tips, devices attached to my body, risk of damaging my kidneys, eyes, nerves, etc, and the possibility of not waking up every morning, just because some part of me feels defined by having a non-functioning islet cells.

I’m a really healthy sick person. Having a chronic illness pushes me to take excellent care of myself, yet still I can’t get anything more than a standard life insurance policy because the numbers say I’m more likely to die young. I’d rather just be a really healthy person and drop the “sick” part all together.

I’ve worked very hard to not let my diabetes become my identity. I was Rachel for 22 years, then diabetes entered the picture, and I was (and am) still Rachel. I have a really crappy health condition and if I could give it up in a heartbeat, I absolutely would. Continue reading