I know we’ve both had a lot going on lately — you’ve been off doing your own thing, taking up hobbies like knitting and jogging and vital organ vandalism — and I’ve been, well, trying to live my life. Working a lot, you know, so that I have the means to take care of you.
I almost expected this morning — maybe even the whole day — to pass without incident, but you remembered. First thing this morning, you nudged me awake with a case of the cold sweats and a bit of blurry vision. You’d brought me a gift: a blood sugar of 48. “Happy Thursday!” you said. “It’s 20 years later, and I’m still here!”
And to think they said it wouldn’t last. Remember those first few months we spent together, diabetes? When all those professionals predicted we’d be done after five years — 10 at the most? But we proved them wrong!
I feel like our relationship has changed so much, but we’re still going strong. And we’ve been through a lot together. Remember when you used to come to middle school with me, and we’d have our secret meetings in the science teacher’s office before lunch? I’d check in with you and give you what you asked for, and you’d behave so well. We played volleyball in high school, and that went surprisingly well, except that I never learned how to serve overhand. And then there’s that time we almost got in big trouble, remember? I left my purse on top of my car in the high school parking lot, and the principal found all the syringes in it. She got pretty mad, and I had to promise that I wouldn’t bring syringes to school in my purse anymore. I blamed it all on you. That was a close call; I bet we wouldn’t get away with that today.
I’ll be honest: a lot of people ask me how I can stand living with you. And there’s no easy answer. It’s true, diabetes — you’re hard to love. From the outside, it probably looks like you’re cramping my style. But you’ve made me who I am, and there’s a lot I wouldn’t have learned or experienced if it wasn’t for you. Because of you, diabetes, I’m extra grateful to have a job with good health insurance. Because of you — and our friend the pump — I’m more appreciative of the luxury of sleeping in on a Saturday, or eating whenever I damn well feel like it. Because of you, I can look at things in life that don’t really matter and see them for the insignificant blips that they are. And because of you, I can recognize the dietary redundancy of mashed potatoes served next to creamed corn, where most would simply see a delicious plate of home-cooked vegetables.
Oh, good times. I’ve been talking this anniversary up for a while — I’m sure you’ve overheard me. I asked everyone what we should do to celebrate, but I still don’t know. I appreciate your flexibility in the face of last night’s beer/french fries/funnel cake feast, and I hope you see fit to extend that generosity into the weekend. Part of me thinks we should treat ourselves to a ticker-tape parade or a hobby farm — we’ve earned it, right? — and another part of me feels like we should just celebrate at home like we have so many other times: watch a movie, share a few glasses of wine.
I mean, it’s not like you’re going anywhere, right?
Here’s to the next 20 years. I can only hope our relationship continues to change for the better. We’ll keep learning to work together, and maybe I’ll get a few more devices that can help us improve our communication. Know this, diabetes: For all the complaining I do, the waking up in the middle of the night, the rage bolusing and carb counting, I know that you’ll always be mine. For better or for worse, diabetes, I can’t imagine what it would be like to live any other way.
[image via natalie dee]