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Reykjavik? Why yes!

August 16, 2011

I fly to Iceland tomorrow to participate in what will be the culmination of ten months of planning, plotting, venting, blogging, racing, sweating, and fundraising.

How did all this get started?

When the D-bomb got dropped on Planet Pearson some fifteen months ago, I wasn’t really quite sure what to make of it all.  I wasn’t really crying about becoming diabetic, or getting upset.  I was just dealing with it.  Pretty attentively.  Pretty devoutly.  Perhaps at the expense of other things.  But what thing can be more important than the most non-negotiable fact of my staying alive?

One thing was for sure though.  My life had changed, and I was a different person.  Had I had a baby (not an incomparable sudden responsibility to be handed), I’d no doubt be sending out emails, updating facebook statuses (stati?), and registering at a bunch of baby stores. People would know.

So I decided to do the equivalent outreach-thang with my diagnosis-news, and signed up for some crazy race in a random country with the Canadian Diabetes Association.  I may not have gotten me a baby shower, but raising 6000 dollars was sure as hell be a great way of announcing to my extended network that, yes, my life has changed.

And here I am, (not yet) packing for what should be a marvelous week in an awesome country. Will I make new friends with fellow Team D participants? Hopefully. Will I network with other diabetics? Maybe. Will I deepen roots with national diabetic advocacy initiatives? Probably. Will it all be awesome, life-changing, full of surprises and adventure, and just plain-old great? Most definitely.

I spent my whole summer at Bearskin Meadow Camp musing to people that I would not feel the significance, the impact, the importance of having found that diabetic community at camp until, in fact, I had left it. Sure enough, a week down the mountain and back in a non-diabetic-centric world, the hugeness of my summer at Bearskin is starting to sink in. I am changed by it, and better for it.

Similarly, I don’t think the magnitude of this Iceland trip will sink in until it’s happening – or until I’m back.  Right now, I can’t really process all the dozens of donation emails I received, the countless words of encouragement and support, the hours and hours of training I put in this past spring to get ready for my first Half, the many engaging comments I’ve gotten on this blog, the scores of people who came out to my fundraising diabirthday party, and the friends who listened endlessly to me talk and talk and talk this past year about my new favorite subject: my blood sugar. My friends who listened and cared, who understood, and who stood by me.

So for now I’m gonna focus on the little things: like making sure I have enough test strips to last a week, like getting a fresh vile of Lantus, or like learning how the heck to say Hello or Thank You in Icelandic before I get there (I’ve seriously never been so unprepared for a trip before, and I’m kinda loving it this way).  Gratitude, humility, tears-of-joy-and-overwhelmedness, and tons of geysers/hot springs/hot Icelandic men/smoked fish/hiking by fjords/dancing all night to Bjork and Sigur Ros – that’s to come.

And while I’m waiting for that, I extend a bottomless thank-you to everyone who helped, in so many many ways, to get me to this place.  And a strained-but-amicable thank you to my pancreas, without whose sudden failure I wouldn’t have learned these incredible lessons, lived these incredible adventures, or be the person I am today.

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