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A Year of Kaddish

October 30, 2010

Lately, I have two insatiable addictions: Grey’s Anatomy Season 6, and reading type-1 diabetes blogs. Today I came across this post from a US-based diabetic. Written over a year ago on World Diabetes Day, he is venting the very emotion I’ve been refusing to let loose since my diagnosis: anger.

“It’s good that people are living long, healthy lives with T1,” he writes, “but quite frankly I’m tired of it. The week has been particularly trying and I’ve fought high blood sugars on and off all week and I know that affects my attitude. But still I ask, can’t we find a cure?”

Not long ago I wrote about how nervous a cure makes me. I’m still learning to live with this thing, and have basically rearranged my whole world to guard my diabetes with my life. I’m scoring brilliantly on my A1Cs. My nurse, dietician, and endo all love me. Even the gal organizing the Team Diabetes race thinks I’m a hero. I rock diabetes.

But frankly I’m tired of it, writes the man who’s been living with T1 for 41 years. And I wonder – when will I let those same words slip? What’s it going to take for me to say, “shit, I’m fucking sick of this.” Maybe when I’m working full-time again, and I still have diabetes. Maybe when I celebrate my five-year anniversary with T1, and I still have diabetes. Maybe when God-willing I try to have a baby down the line, and I still have diabetes.

It’s not going away. It’s not going away any time soon.

Grief, they say, takes a year. A friend advised me weeks after my diagnosis that maybe I come up with some kind of daily ritual for the next year to deal with the grief of my diabetes. “Like the equivalent of saying Kaddish every day,” she suggested, referring to the Jewish prayer for the dead. I guess training for this race is my Kaddish, raising this ridiculous sum of money and blogging about my failed islet cells is my Kaddish. But what will happen when this year has passed, and I enter life-without-mourning, humapen in hand? I will still have diabetes.

So maybe I need to work on this anger-thing. Or maybe just let it work on me. For now, I’m gonna go out on my daily run. I’ve got a 10k to do in a week and I need to train. Cuz I’m in mourning. This is what I do.

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