Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Define? Or explain.

"Diabetes doesn't define you, it just helps explain you."

It struck me that he was right.

Darrell and I don't talk about diabetes very much. I don't remember ever talking about it when we were kids. We played with Legos and built army forts for the hamsters to live in. There weren't any big diabetes discussions and, quite frankly, we never really talked about it until I started the blog.

But during a discussion we had today, it came up.

"Diabetes doesn't define you, it just helps explain you."

Diabetes didn't make me smart, but being regimented and dedicated to achieving results on a medical level may have made me work harder in school. Diabetes didn't make me determined, but it may have contributed to my constant drive towards my ever-changing definition of success.

Such perspective is gained from a chronic condition, regardless of its complications. It doesn't define me, but the strongest parts of my personality may have been gently shaped by the perspective gained from having it.

Diabetes didn't make me love with such ease, but having tasted my own mortality makes every hug, every laugh, every kiss that much more needed and appreciated.

I hope so fiercely for a cure. I hope for a cure every time I see a press release about new research breakthroughs. I hope every time I test my bloodsugar that the numbers will always be in range. I hope every time I go to Joslin. I hope every day.

"Diabetes doesn't define you, it just helps explain you."

I didn't ask what he meant because I already knew. Diabetes isn't Me. It doesn't own me or define me or ruin me. He and I both know that.

When I wake up every morning and test my bloodsugar, when I prime the pump, when I calculate the carbohydrates in a meal, I know it doesn't define me. But when I am feeling anxious or scared about my medical future or just simply overwhelmed, I know it doesn't define me.

It just helps explain me.


At May 02, 2006 11:15 PM, Blogger Violet said...

I agree, K.

During the first months after my dx, I did feel defined by diabetes because it overwhelmed me.

That changed with time, and I think the change is important and life-affirming. I'm not exactly the same V I was, it's true, but who stays exactly the same in any case?

At May 03, 2006 1:38 AM, Blogger Carolyn said...

Kerri - I found this entry very powerful and meaningful. Thank you for putting those thoughts that I am sure we all feel into words.

At May 03, 2006 8:07 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

You've totally "defined" my perspective on diabetes. I could never put my finger on what it was that I wanted diabetes to be for Brendon...I didn't want it to define him for sure.

It explains him. That's what I couldn't put my finger on all of these years.

Thanks for writing this.

At May 03, 2006 8:38 AM, Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I think that it would be difficult to be defined by something like diabetes. People are so much more than that. Sure, it can help direct your life. And it certainly makes you feel more thankful for every second of every day. But I think that what defines you is a combination of some of the good and some of the bad. I think that you hit the nail right on the head with this one. Thanks!

At May 03, 2006 8:47 AM, Blogger Heidi said...

So true!!! Diabetes is always with us, whether we like it or not, but it doesn't define who or what we are. It is just a part of the entity.

At May 03, 2006 9:19 AM, Blogger caren said...


Briliantly written. It rings so true, at least for me. Well done.

At May 03, 2006 9:46 AM, Blogger Nicole P said...

This is a marvelous piece of writing, Kerri. I forwarded it to Bob because it puts a finger some things he and I have talked about many more than one time.

Hope you're well. oo, N

At May 03, 2006 11:31 AM, Blogger Kelsey said...

Thanks for once again giving words to our collective feelings. I agree with your comments about a chronic disease giving you perspective... it certainly does.

At May 03, 2006 12:52 PM, Blogger George said...

Such a simple idea that I have never thought of. I hate being defined by something I don't want. Your explaination was perfect.

At May 03, 2006 1:58 PM, Blogger cHoCoMiLkRoCkS said...

Do you really hope for a cure? call me a pessamist but i don't think it's gonna happen in my life time. Besides it would only be available in america, the uk is always like 10 years behind.

(i raise money for a cure, i just don't hold out much hope at all)

At May 03, 2006 3:27 PM, Blogger Flmgodog said...

Nicely said...
"Diabetes doesn't define you, it just helps explain you."

Sometimes I wish I could paste this on my shirt.

At May 03, 2006 5:00 PM, Blogger Vivian said...

Kerri- Thank you, what a great opening line for when we meet with the school each year to go over the 504 plan and train the new teacher. I agree with flmgodog, what a great Tshirt.

At November 17, 2008 3:31 AM, Blogger Henry Brown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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