Over the past twenty-six years we have become one. Sometimes we struggle to differentiate our intricacies from one another. I, the person, the whole human, will often try very hard to separate my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions and my actions, from you, the chronic illness.
Twenty-six years ago you robbed my parents of the wind in their sails of having a perfectly healthy daughter. Over the course of the past twenty-six years you presented yourself in ways that affected more than blood sugar swings. Your ability to weave yourself around every. single. moment without ever showing your ugly face, is truly admirable for something that to many is simply a word.
Twenty-six years ago, you decided that my challenges in life would be interwoven with a consistent underlying question of "was it the diabetes?" You changed every relationship I ever have had, including the one I had with my very own body.
It's hard, you see, to love a body that, some days, feels utterly broken and non-responsive. As the autoimmune illness rears its ugly head, and throws us around every corner; I feel a sense of epic accomplishment when at the end of the day I can sink in to my bed knowing that I survived again.
I do well, pretending like you aren't there. Some days, if it weren't for my insulin pump, others may never know you are woven through every cell in my body. Some days, I don't even let newcomers in to my life know that you exist. That must rile you, and churn you. Some days though, some days over the past twenty-six years you stepped in to my light and overtook me. You have landed me in the hospital, on the sidelines, and on the couch. I never let you win, you won't ever win, but some days you're stronger than me.
Twenty-six years of scars line my abdomen, legs and arms. Sometimes in the shower I look down and at the very same moment feel a sense of pride that I am winning, and a sense is sadness that your evidence is always there. My speckled finger tips, and pock-marked skin are a constant reminder that despite how wonderful I am at knocking you on your ass, you will always fight back.
Twenty-six years ago you changed how I would proceed in the future. I didn't know it then, but damn...you made me a fighter. I don't think I would be who I am today without having the knowledge that I can never take no for an answer. I became a feisty, fearlessly independent woman at the tender age of 7. I matured quickly, faster than I should have. I learned as a child that in order to succeed in life I needed to first kick your ass in to place, and proceed with fury. For twenty-six years I have been doing just that.
The connections I have made with other friends battling the diabetes demon are incredibly deep. I have woven these friendships in the deepest part of my soul, a part of me you can never touch, no matter how hard you try.
For twenty-six years, you have tried your hardest to win.
You will never win.
I am forever victorious, thanks to you.
Happy twenty-sixth birthday. I am sure you will be around for many more, so sit down and buckle up because I am not done keeping you in your place.