Monday, April 4, 2011

Writing the next chapter

His day began as normal, just another day with diabetes. Another fingerstick, another injection, breakfast and then in the car and off to work. There was an eerie sense of déjà-vu he hadn’t been able to shake ever since his diagnosis. It was the same routine just a different day.

She had commenced her afternoon in the usual fashion. It was an unremarkable subway ride home in The Big City. She had food on her mind, an unflinching high blood glucose, some bills to pay and hopefully at the end of the chaos, some time to post on her blog.

His lunch break came around all too slowly. Diabetes hadn’t really changed his eating habits but it was taking its toll in other ways. With every meal he faced the usual dilemma over how much to bolus and how to go on fighting “his war”- for that is what it had become to him, a private war...a lonely war, just him, his insulin and a three monthly endo. visit..

She arrived home to a quiet house. Her husband was away on business, so she had some time to herself. Almost unconsciously she turned on her computer and headed to the kitchen to open the fridge. Despite many years of experience she never considered herself a master at selecting insulin doses. She was still shaken from last nights low so she decided to proceed cautiously with dinner

His work day ended much as it had every day for the past five years. He locked up the shop and headed home. He had never thought he needed people but something about diabetes, found him withdrawing from his usual circle of friends. He felt misunderstood. He was alone. He wanted sympathy but most of all he just wanted someone to understand the war, to speak his unspoken words and validate his feelings of confusion and loss.

By the time she sat down at her computer it was nearly midnight. Her blog was essentially a journal of her life. She talked about her day at work and the inconvenience of living with diabetes. It was a part of her routine but it had never ceased to be tiresome. She chronicled her anger at yesterdays misjudged bolus, her
fears of an upcoming endo visit and plans for the week ahead. It had seemed a fairly unremarkable entry to her but she posted it and headed off to bed. It had been a long night and she had another hectic day ahead.

As a last resort and in desperation he headed on-line in an attempt to make sense of things. His family hadn’t been interested, his local doctor knew only A1Cs, lipids and insulin but he knew the mental toll diabetes was taking. He was skeptical to begin with. He browsed through so many listings about wonder cures, healthy living with diabetes, diabetes this and diabetes that, until he stumbled upon her blog As he read he felt the tears running down his face. Page after page he read, seconds turned into minutes and minutes into hours as he found his experiences retold in her words.

They lived on opposite sides of the planet yet somehow he had felt an overwhelming connection. It was well after midnight when he went to bed but that night he had a spring in his step. That night he was understood. That night someone had put words to his thoughts, had described his low blood sugar, his confusion and his anger. The next day the routine would be no different but he had found himself understood and with that, in a strange way renewed.

This is my personal account. My version of how I came to find a home in the DOC. Your stories are writing the next chapter. Somewhere out there, the next me is looking for you. The irreplaceable “diabetic” you. They want to hear your story as only you can tell it. You might hear their muted cries in the form of a blog response or tweet. You may unknowingly pass them by in cyberspace as you read the same stories but they are there…. and they are looking.

The battle to find a cure goes on in laboratories around the world but the real life stories of people affected by diabetes are yours and they are mine. Within and without the DOC are people longing for connection and understanding. You may not have the power to find a cure but you have your story. It is a story of heartache, of defeat and of triumph at the same time. It is played out in the events of everyday life and it, like you, is so valuable.

You may well be writing the next chapter in someone elses life.

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