I know for a fact that there isn't a single diabetic that hasn't felt at some point stigmatized. Whether it be our own thoughts or the thoughts of others. I know this is VERY true for all those D Mamas out there that are constantly educating ignorance regarding the world of Type 1 Diabetics. But, as we have so well demonstrated, "WE CAN DO THIS"!
I also know that I am so proud to know so many people that have triumphed through this ignorance, knowing that although we are fighting for our lives in days both good, and bad, we are never less.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to hear a speaker at our annual Utah Assisted Living Association Conference. Her name is Meg Johnson. She is an amazing lady who is a c7 quadriplegic with use only of her arms (not hands), neck and head. Her story is amazing. She reminded me so much of residents I have worked with in the past both young and old. Although her condition is so different from our own, the moral is the same. "Different, not less" and "It's all in our attitude".
We all have bad days. Bad days no person, mother, father, or loved one should ever face. We all face plant from time to time, and wish our lives we different, or as they were "before". We all dream for a cure, and I honestly believe we will one day find one, because we won't give up until we do.
Meg recently blogged the following story (link here)
"Anyway, with my blank mind, I was changing in the dressing room – the big one for wheelchairs so we can shift around and stuff. All the other dressing rooms are tiny. I wore boots and couldn’t zip them up so I moved out into the aisle to find someone passing by to zip them for me.
The next girl who came walking by was very willing and we got them all zipped up. She was about my age. She walked with a tall walking stick and I asked her about it and she looked down at me and said, “Oh, I’m a cripple.”
My blank face must have said what I was thinking and she elaborated for me. “You know,” she said, “a maim. Maimed. Crippled. Halted. Whatever you want to call it.”
She continued to tell me how difficult it is being her and having to keep up with doctors and medications. She kept telling me how difficult it was to be her. She said it over and over.
I asked her several questions about marriage, hobbies, activities and stuff and they all ended with the same negative answer: she can’t because she’s a “cripple.”
It was quite the weird exchange and I left feeling very sad for her. As I rolled through the hallways toward the exit, I wondered what I was supposed to learn from this.
I remembered a quote I’d heard on the plane ride home from FL this past Monday: I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.
I changed the quote to teach me what I needed to learn: I cried because I had no strength until I met a woman who had nothing to be strong for.
And the strength I came to find found me.
Good thing I’m not a cripple. I don’t think I could handle it."
This really made me think. This month as we are more aware and united than ever, the thing thing that stands out in my mind is that we are united, and together we are strong. Life is tough, and sometimes just sucks. We have lost loved ones along the way. We have gone into dark places, and rescued our fallen. We have laughed, cried, and embraced each other. WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP!
We are stronger than most because we have to be, and our attitude towards fighting D is our strength. I am so proud to hear stories everyday of people who live their lives with such vigor. People that show the world that we can do anything. This November I am THANKFUL, and grateful with all my heart, to know amazing Men, Women, and Kids who are my D Heroes! My prayers and Thoughts are always with you!!!!
Hold your head high and know that you are SUPER AWESOME!!!