Tag Archives: perseverance

Diversity of thought.

As I was growing up, I imagined that at some point, I would be part of a group of friends and colleagues who retained the things that made them unique, while embracing solidarity in the things that made them alike.

Let me tell you, that did not seem possible for a long, long time. In my twenties, a lot of it was my fault. I had exactly zero social skills in those days. It seems like for longer than I care to remember, I had the market cornered on saying the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. Possibly.

Toward the end of my twenties, I met two people who really taught me a lot about communicating with others, and a lot of what it means to show empathy for another human being. And they taught me the importance of listening. Not just listening because every article and blog post on connecting with others says that listening is important. But because others connect with you when you listen. I have learned so much from these people.
In addition, I began to read a lot more than before, and my interest in history and challenges that people have overcome has helped me see that successful people are not successful 100 percent of the time. Once I realized this, I could begin to make sure that, as the song says “temporary setbacks / are part of what I’d planned”. I could be nicer to people because I wasn’t as worried about appearing to be the most successful person in the room every second of every day.

It’s not like I was a jerk or anything; at least not intentionally. It’s just that I started to be more open to considering other viewpoints, listening to what others had to say. Then one more important development happened:

The internet blew up.

Now I had access to viewpoints from around the globe, something I had been seeking for a long time. Granted, a lot of the viewpoints you read on the internet are completely whacked out, even in the diabetes community.
but many are not. In fact, some of the most insightful, most poignant nuggets I’ve found have been from quiet little corners of the web where, statistically, few ever go.

Has it helped my diabetes? Sure it has. I’ve certainly learned a lot. I’ve been saved from mistakes thanks to a couple of things I’ve read over the years. And I hope I’ve been able to help people learn, and find help, and find support, shouting through my own window onto the information superhighway.

I’ve also been lucky enough to connect in person with many I’ve encountered first via the web. I’ve been able to prove something that was told to me by someone long ago: that privately, most people are pretty much the same as they seem in public. Through this DOC, that means I’ve been able to meet many wonderful souls who continually teach me a lot about being a person who practices both perseverance and empathy in equal measures.

In the end, I’ve been lucky enough to find those special, unique people who share a lot of my goals and hopes for the future. Whether I’ve met them in person or not, I am invested in the things that are important to them. I am hopeful for their futures too, because what’s good for them, and good about them, is good for me too.

So remember to listen. Let your empathetic side show. Invest yourself in the success of others. You’ll find that you’ll learn a lot, care a lot more about people, and find more friends than you could ever imagine.

Friday pep talk.

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As we all know, diabetes is a strange beast. Sometimes our BGs play nice, staying within range, and those of us who practice pre-bolusing actually remember to do so all day. Other times, we’re subject to wild swings, lows that just won’t come up, or highs that can’t be brought down no matter how much insulin we throw at them.

Likewise, we’re stuck with the constant requirements of managing (to the best of our ability) a condition that never plays fair. People not living with diabetes don’t always understand that this disease is not as simple as do a calculation, take a certain amount of insulin, eat perfectly, and our numbers will be awesome all the time. And there’s that little tiny voice in the back of our minds that we try to keep silent, warning us of possible complications. On top of that, let’s face it: We’re human. We’re bound to make a mistake or two (or three). Yuck.

Okay, so we know that things aren’t always perky, right? What do we do about it?

Far be it from me to give advice (famous last words). First, let me give an appreciative nod to this amazing post by Briley at inDependence. In addition, I’m hoping a few reminders here will help you in a moment of diabetes stress. Think of it as a Friday diabetes pep talk.

Yesterday may suck, but it’s yesterday.
That’s the best part of awful numbers, stupid people who think cinnamon will cure you, and CGMs that go kaput in the middle of the night. It’s over. I’m not saying forget about it… that’s impossible. What I am saying is be glad that the moment is over and you survived it. Whether you think you are now or not, you are stronger for it, and the future is unwritten. Carpe Diem, baby.

You count. Diabetes doesn’t.
This is one of those sayings where, sometimes, you have to keep repeating it to yourself over and over again before it sinks in. But like I said, if you’re surviving, it also means you’re living to see another day. For some people, and for some circumstances, that’s not just something… that’s everything. Particularly in America, it’s easy to hide what’s going on. We don’t like to show weakness. We like to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, move on. That can be good (see above). The reality, however, is that occasionally it’s good to stop, take a moment or two to compose ourselves (even if it takes all afternoon), and then move on. Doctors are learning more and more that our mental well-being is just as important as our physical well-being. Let’s prove to ourselves that we’ve received that message. Let’s remember that how we feel about things does matter. A lot.

We have more resources than ever before.
In the past month, we’ve seen advances in diabetes technology that many couldn’t see coming a year ago. Meanwhile, there are more diabetes organizations, conferences, and informal get-togethers where peers (you and me living with diabetes) can meet and commiserate. On top of that, there are more diabetes blogs where people like us are sharing our stories, and what was once a fun, quirky Twitter chat has now become a Wednesday night institution. Heck, in just the past week I’ve seen a number people get late night diabetes help and support via Twitter, myself included.

Diabetes takes a lot away from us. It also gifts us with perseverance and empathy. Perseverance to endure the tough times and continue on where non-pancreatically-challenged individuals might indeed falter. And empathy that allows us to recognize when someone needs help and then do something to lift them up. I almost never encounter others with these qualities. Yet they are almost universal in our world.

So why not use our unique qualities to make a great life for ourselves and our diabetes friends going forward? YouCanDoThis. Bring on the day.

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