Tag Archives: influences

Influences

I was reminded recently of how much we’re influenced by our experiences. Our surroundings, the things we encounter as we go through life have a profound impact on our lives. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that.

Genetics play a role too, I suppose. But lately, I’ve been thinking about how I’ve learned, grown, been influenced, and influenced myself, the world I live in.

Small things have been a part of helping to make me the man I am. Big things too. In many ways, influences that seem small to me now may have, in fact, have had a lot to do in how I’ve come to where I am with my diabetes. Even my diagnosis.

I guess we’ll never know for sure about the diagnosis part. But when I’ve thought the past few weeks about how I’ve managed (or tried to manage) diabetes since early 1991, both well and poorly, I’ve been blown away by how much early and current experiences have been a part of that.

I grew up shy as can be, sometimes painfully shy. That led to some bullying, and being excluded from a lot of social situations growing up. By the time I was an adult, I was still a social infant in many ways.

In later years, that led to my insistence that I’ll never count on anyone for anything. Ever. So when I was diagnosed at age 28, I didn’t look for empathy, and I believed that it was up to me to live with diabetes or not live with it. I needed to rely on me, and no one else. I didn’t even want to go to the doctor to get my prescriptions filled, and where I could get away with it, I didn’t.

That helped me in a lot of ways, because I learned how to take care of myself from the very beginning. But in many ways, I also missed out… on innovations and changes in care and a hundred other things. I didn’t even hear of an insulin pump until maybe six months before I started wearing one, years after others had started. Until then, late 2009, I was still eating off of the old exchange diet and failing miserably.

Today, me and my diabetes are doing a little better. And I’m engaged with more people, inside and outside of the diabetes community, than ever before. I’m not only wearing a pump, I’m wearing a continuous glucose monitor full time. I’ve participated in clinical trials. I’m still working on improving my dietary choices, but I’m not doing too bad on that either.

I guess what I’m saying is that we all have things that make us what we are today. But we don’t have to let those influences rule us forever. I am faaaar from perfect. But I’m different than I was, hopefully in a good way.

My focus isn’t perfection. It’s being better. For me, for the people I influence, and for those who influence me.

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