Tag Archives: SuperDiaheroes

Recognize your inner superhero.

Is it the warm weather, or is it just that I’m getting older? I’ve recently experienced a couple of lows that were just energy-zapping. Those “I see it coming, here it is, I don’t want to move, now I need to move, and eat a bunch of stuff/drink juice/inhale glucose tabs” lows. Then, when it’s over, I experience the “I’m so tired I just want to curl up in the corner where the sun is shining through and sleep for about ten hours” hangover.

That’s what it feels like too… like a hangover. Knocked on your butt, your body is punishing you for too much insulin. Or too much exercise. Or not enough carbs. Or because your body has a history of punishing you, and every now and then it wants to assert its authority for no bloody reason at all.

That’s when we become heroes. Doesn’t make sense, does it? But think about it.

We find ourselves in a dangerous situation. Life-threatening, even. A crisis all our own, like our human body has encountered its own kryptonite. Things might be touch-and-go for a little while. But we fight back. We use whatever means at our disposal to drive the enemy away. We MacGyver solutions, we will ourselves to persevere.

And then we go right back to our regularly scheduled lives.

Hopefully, this little scenario doesn’t play out too often in your life. When it does, and you overcome, don’t forget that you are a force of nature. Diabetes cannot stop you, and you are living proof. In fact, diabetes has tried to stop you, and you didn’t let it.

It’s not in your most recent hypoglycemic episode. It’s not in your last hemoglobin A1c. It is evident in the life you lead, the job you perform, the people and organizations you help succeed, in the family and friends that surround you, and the simple fact that you are still here.

I see you. I read about you. I live with the same disease you do. Trust me when I say that when you overcome those lows, you are succeeding at something that would humble even the most confident of individuals. I recognize that about you. I hope you recognize that about yourself.

By the way, you might want to check yourself in the mirror. I thought I saw a little of your superhero cape showing in the back.

The people we look up to.

It was three weeks ago that Tom Hanks revealed he’s living with Type 2 diabetes.

Tom Hanks is maybe my favorite living actor. Everything I’ve ever seen him in… He plays all of his roles so well that I have no trouble believing him as the character he portrays on stage and screen. I’ve got to think that’s exactly what an actor is going for when they play a part. If there was a movie star I’d really like to meet (other than maybe Sandra Bullock– for obvious reasons), it would probably be Tom Hanks. So the news of his diagnosis really hit me. And since then, I’ve been trying to find something profound to say about it.

Then, last Monday, Karmel Allison, who writes over at asweetlife.org, has lived with Type 1 diabetes since age 9, and is now 21 weeks pregnant, nearly passed out while standing behind the President of the United States. She was there because she wrote a fantastic post about how she views the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) as a Person With Diabetes. The President’s speech was about his signature piece of legislation. I haven’t seen anything from her that specifically says it was hypoglycemia, but in the video it sure looks like hypoglycemia to me. Anyway, that part really doesn’t matter… does it?

At any rate, I was on the road from Charlottesville to Baltimore when all this happened, so I didn’t even find out about it until the next day. And yes, I read the comments after many of the stories about the event posted on the web.

I was shocked. I was horrified at the mean, awful, hateful things written. Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, you have to admit that the vitriol spewed in her direction was ridiculously mean. Other than what I saw posted from the Diabetes Online Community, I did not see one positive, one semi-empathetic comment. Not one.

Meanwhile, Karmel has kept from writing awful, vindictive things in response to these hate filled attacks on her and our President. Her Twitter account has been almost silent since the event. Even though she has a right to be angry and lash out at people who hate her only because of her proximity to the leader of the free world during a speech in the rose garden, she appears to have taken the high road.

What does this have to do with Tom Hanks’ diagnosis from two weeks earlier? And what do these two events tell me? Just this:

Our heroes can and do develop diabetes.

Our heroes can be and are affected by diabetes.

Our heroes remain strong and retain our respect despite diabetes.

These words apply to everyone out there telling their story through laughter, advocacy, sadness, athleticism, schools, careers, successes, and failures too. Tell your story honestly, with empathy for all and resilience against all odds, and I will always look up to you.

And no amount of hate can take that away.

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