Diabetes: Help or a Hurt?

May 12th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I wonder how living with diabetes has changed who we are. 

I know several nurses with diabetes, and I wonder if they would be nurses if they had not been diagnosed with type 1 in childhood and seen the ins and outs of medical supplies, bleeding, shots, hospitals, labs, and doctors’ offices. 

I know quite a few attorneys with diabetes and wonder if they would be attorneys had they not been diagnosed as a kid.  Diabetes can make you feel different enough that you feel like you have something to prove, and a legal career is often about proving something to someone else.

I know a number of people who work with others living with diabetes and wonder if they would do the same work with the same passion if they hadn’t been diagnosed with the disease.  Working with kids at summer camp, or working with adults and kids at the city recreation center, or pursuing graduate degrees in disease management and public health all seem to stem from an internal knowledge that the world is a pretty big place and we are lucky to share a corner of it with each other.  I think that internal knowlege stems from my living with diabetes.

I wonder if our inability to escape from our disease has been a help or a hurt. 

I am certain in my life it has been a help.  Living with insulin dependent diabetes has certainly given me discipline, and at a very young age.  Struggling to figure out a way to manage my disease and to stay healthy as well as pursue my law degree has shown me how my hard work can pay off.

Then again, some days my diabetes and my career feels like a heck of a lot of work, just to get to a point I can work even harder.  Not quite what I had hoped for, I admit.

I talk a lot about being able to separate your own identity from your diabetes.  It may seem like I’m being hypocritical since my passion is helping others deal with their diabetes in healthy ways.  I’m certain I wouldn’t have that passion if I didn’t live with diabetes in my life.

I wonder if I would have found such passion elsewhere. 

I guess it doesn’t matter, really, as I cannot turn back the clock, and I don’t want to try to turn it back.  I just think it’s good sometimes to acknowledge that sometimes the hard parts of our lives make us be better humans to ourselves and to each other.

Has your diabetes led you to a specific career, or has it helped you in the career you have?  I’m in a wondering mood today and would love to hear about how your diabetes has affected your path.

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1 comment

  1. MaiaJane says:

    I’m young, still in College (and with a recently dropped major as well…a REALLY blank slate!) and with all my talents, all my loves in life, the one thing I want to do for the rest of my life is help other Diabetics be themselves. Help them to put themselves first and their gimpy pancreas second. I just had my first Diabirthday. Diabetes was a gift, it gave me passion and a cause. It gave me direction.

    We’ll see where it gets me, and I’ll be out of luck for work if they ever do find a cure (not saying its a bad thing!)

    Maybe it won’t be how I make my money, but it will most certainly be how I nurture who I am and what I love.

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