It’s been seven years. As you all know, it is more complicated than that, but it was seven years ago on February 4th (yes, I am writing this at 11 pm) that I was admitted to the hospital through the ER with DKA.
Last year, I closed my post with a picture of my friends and I after I was released and said that I “could never have pictured my life today“. There is a lot more to the story that I want to share.
My diabetes anniversary is a bittersweet (no pun intended) time for me for more than the obvious reasons. The best friend that saved my life is no longer a part of my life. It is a long and complicated story and I am not sure I could do it justice here. And that isn’t the point anyway.
Recently I have been reading a really great book called Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. There is a chapter called “the hook” that talks about the importance of forgiveness. She explains that when she is forgiving someone she pictures removing them from a giant hook like in a cartoon. Here are some of the best parts.
Earlier this year, a friend of mine made me really mad. Crazy mad. My (genius) therapist suggests that crazy mad is always covering over hurt and fear, so if were telling the whole truth here, she hurt me, and she made me feel scared. And thats worse that just making me mad. I felt small and scared and out of control. And I felt like my friend was making decision after decision to hurt me, Every time I heard from her or about her, it hurt. It was like there was a sharp glass on her hands, and every time she got near me, she cut me, ever if she swore she didnt mean to….I kept thinking about her, and the anger and the venom were starting to feel familiar. First I thought about what happened. And then the muscles in my neck and back scrunched up, and I felt bad at the base of my skull. Even if lots of other parts of my life were going well, there was this thing, this tightness in my shoulders and my neck. Then it got harder to breathe, and it felt like something was rotting inside me, the way something goes bad in the refrigerator…. The pain has softened ever so slightly, but it still seems like she did something wrong. How do I forgive someone who doesnt think she did anything wrong? Or who doesnt care?….This is why. Because I want my neck and my back muscles to stop hurting, to unfurl like window shades. Because I want to sleep instead of having endless imaginary conversations. Because I want my mind back. Because I want my life back. Because she is not the only one on the hook. Because every time I hang her up on that hook, the hook reaches down and grabs me, too. When I told Sarah that things had been hard in my head, I realized that Im the only one suffering right now. My anger doesnt hurt the person at whom I am very angry, but it hurts me. My friend Rory says something like bitterness is when you drink poison hoping the other person dies. My friend is doing great, I think, but I stagger around in a fog of anger and clenched jaws and fists . So I let her off the hook. I let her off once, to start, and felt pretty good about myself, until someone brought up her name at lunch, and then I got mad all over again, which threw me for a loop. I forgave her. Why am I still so mad at her?…. I realized that I had to take her off the hook every single time, not just one big time… And I still have to keep letting her off, every day, sometimes several times a day. Not for her sake, but for mine, because I want off the hook. Its hard work, and I dont want to do it, but I keep doing it. I keep letting her off the hook, because when I do, I can breathe again.
I am a different person now than I was seven years ago. In so many ways, diabetes has changed me. Some of those changes have been for the better, and some I could have done without. I think that is one of the most unique parts about being diagnosed at a later age. I can look back and see the differences so clearly.
So I’m curious. Do you think diabetes has changed who you are? Do you have the same friends that you had before you were diagnosed? And what about the hook? Do you struggle with anyone on “the hook” in your life?