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Picking One Word

January 27, 2011

The interwebs are just brimming with diabetic social media (much like the developed world is brimming with diabetes, so go figure). There’s no end to diabetes blogs, chat rooms, forums, and twitter groups relating to all things insulinary. Events like World Diabetes Blog Day actually exist.

This morning, while reading my favorite hip-and-cool-type-1 gal’s D-blog – she really is the Carrie Bradshaw of diabetic bloggers (and her name is Kerri….) – I learned about a twitter feed earlier this month that asked the D-community to fill in the blanks to this question:

“My health in one word is _______.”

To this, Kerri replied: “My health, in one word, is VARIABLE.  As are my emotions related to it.”  You can read more of what she had to say on that here.

Here’s what I have to say on that.

My health, in one word, is mine.


Until eight months ago, I’d never really thought of my “health” as an entity in and of itself. I was, after all, an invincible mid-twenties gal who eats a lot of kale and brown rice and rarely gets colds. I might think about my weight, as something I felt neurotically, socially-conditioned to fret over without any real medical reason to. I might think about trans fats. I might think about the benefits of buying organic produce over pesticide-ridden foods, or the antioxidant effects of chia seeds and raw cacao.

It felt good, in both an abstract and literal way, to look after my body. Squeezing in a quick jog or visit to the gym felt like necessary components of a balanced life that I’d gladly abide by. I lived a healthy life, because all these elements felt both theoretically and practically good.

But I don’t think I ever really thought about my health.

Which is pretty crazy to think about, because if asked to rank priorities right now – career, family, relationships, etc. – there’s not a doubt in my mind. Health is number one.

Sure, I’m long past the early days post-diagnosis where I was terrified to be outside a 2 mile radius from my pharmacy. There was definitely a period of post-diagnosis stress disorder, which is normal and had to run its course. My diabetes now far from controls my life, and I am pretty well “used to it.”

But the reason why diabetes doesn’t control my life is, quite simply, because I control it.

My relationship with my health is so … direct. I draw blood from my finger about twelve times a day and manually manage the secretion of an essential enzyme. I do the mental math that most people’s pancreas’ do for themselves. I am in an intimate relationship with my blood chemistry. I am so, so, so close to my health.

Life changes so fast. I no longer worry about eating that cookie or not because that one cookie might make me fat – I think instead about whether my blood chemistry can handle a cookie or not. Ice cream binges? Not worth it anymore, no matter how depressed I feel. Sure, I can “feel like crap,” but not crappy enough that I want to jeopardize my blood sugar that, when it spikes, could well be shaving years off my life. While I absolutely love running and biking and skiing and do all those things for pleasure, I’m also banking on those things keeping me alive for longer, inshallah. Those chia seeds and raw cacao?  I run a tight ship around here, and I’m feeding this body nothing but premium petrol.

My mortality has been felt.

One word to describe my health? My health is mine.


If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it still make a sound? If my body performs its many organic functions but I don’t think about them, does “my health” still exist?

It took a twitter post to make me realize that “my health,” as a concept, did not exist until eight months ago. And now it is so lusty a companion-presence in my life, that I cannot help but shout out matrimonial ownership from the rooftops of every building:

My health is mine.

My health. Mine means I’m the boss. I will love and protect it, nurture and strengthen it, feed and empower it by any means necessary. But I will also respect its limits. I will humbly be reminded that nothing is forever, and that this, too, shall pass.




4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2011 12:53 am

    I LOVE THIS. “Mine” is a perfect word to describe your health, and I love the sentiment of “I control IT.”

    Thanks for the shout out, for your word, and for your terrific post. 🙂

    • January 28, 2011 9:49 am

      Kerri! My very own blog crush, in the flesh! Thanks for the comment, and for all YOUR terrific posts. 🙂

  2. January 28, 2011 1:09 pm

    Well, not so much in the flesh. More like in the comments. 🙂 Nice to meet you! (And I’ll be in Canada for several meetings this year – would love to grab a cup of coffee and say hi!)

    • January 28, 2011 2:35 pm

      Please hit me up if you’re in the Montreal/Ottawa/Toronto area! It would be a real pleasure to sit down and share stories. Lovely to meet you here.

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