Diabetes and The Grand Canyon, Seriously?

DSC_0128There are so many things to be grateful for during this time of year. I am grateful for safe travel for family and friends from a far. I am grateful for my clients and their families. Today I am grateful to be sitting warmly indoors as I view The Grand Canyon through a floor to ceiling glass window. The natural beauty of this place, I have seen before. I am pleased that I can still be in awe of the beauty as the sun and Lights move and change the colors of this landscape. It is truly a wonder of the world.

What an incredible year 2014 has been! Each year that passes is full of surprises. Some of these good and some of these not so much. I have been honored to make new connections all across the globe. I have loved getting to know new clients all over the United States. Unfortunately, diabetes has no boundaries. I am excited this year to have been asked to help meet and educate others about diabetes and the importance of self care across the ocean. It will take a while to come together, but what an experience to be had! I have been honored as presenting guest speakers, mentors, and my favorite, getting to work with kids and teens frustrated by life with diabetes. I was that kid and still am from time to time. It helps to share with others which have walked this path before!

Looking across the Grand Canyon I am surprisingly reminded of life with diabetes. I know it sounds crazy, but it is true. At first glance The Grand Canyon always looks the same. Diabetes seems to feel the same for all of us that live with the daily demands that never stop. The routine can become frustrating and we do the same thing so many times a day that eventually we can’t remember if one blood glucose read out was this morning or three mornings ago. All of the testing, logging, recording, injecting and carb counting becomes monotonous as they start to run together. Always the same. Again, at first glance I always think the canyon looks the same.

I then take a step back and realize the reason the entire Grand Canyon formed was due to change over time. It never stays the same. The waters of the Colorado river are constantly running through and changing the foundation. The sun bleaches the colors and new plant life emerges. New wildlife arrives and makes this place home. Although this is a beautiful place, The Grand Canyon has some rough patches no doubt! There are easier hikes to take and the beauty can be found in the smallest of places and the most difficult to reach. Ask anyone that has done the trek down to the bottom and back up again!

Life with diabetes is the same. You heard me right. If you live with any type of diabetes; T1, T2, or the others, then you know that there is no way to avoid the rough patches all the time. We all have them and unfortunately more will come as these days pass. However the changes, rough patches, and sometimes painful growth, redirect our lives. Beauty appears in the form of new friends and connections, and a new respect for the people giving their time or energy to cure this disease. I truly wish this disease did not exist. I have however become stronger from this life. Once I finally understood that I could take some honor in meeting these daily challenges, I found it easier to comply. I know that I can get through most anything, despite the challenges. I can quietly not judge, but feel a sense of control when I hear others talk about how they could never do this, eat that, or inject all day. I am not confident about everything in my life. I have faults, make many mistakes, and am not proud of all my actions from time to time. Life is changing and diabetes doesn’t stop this fact. I am changing. Just like the Grand Canyon, diabetes seems old and the same from a distance. People say, “Oh, poor you, you can’t eat this or that.” that is so not the extent of the struggles we face! If you can stop your pity party long enough to take a step back, see your life like the canyon. It is ever changing by the impacts of this world. Science, technology, medication are just the start. The most important piece of erosion is within each of us. If we can find the courage even if only from time to time to take this thing by the horns and say, ” I got this”, we reshape our lives. We can erode the negativity and the can’ts and the won’ts. We can find beauty in the hard places and enjoy our trek. We can be proud of our changes. We all know these moments come and go, but the more we have that we control the flow of the river diabetes and it’s impact on each of us, the better!

From the outside diabetes looks old, boring, monotonous, always the same. The Grand Canyon always seems that way to me each time I visit. Being able to see the beauty of each takes time to step back and evaluate. Appreciate the constant change, evolution, and eroding of life in any form. Just remember the beauty that emerges as we go. It is not over, just a new path!
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