“Write about unexpected blessings of your health condition”
Guys, guess what?! This is my last post for National Health Blog Post Month and I’m only one month late in finishing!
Oh, well. It’s been a fun two months of posting but I’m kind of ready to be done and start doing some more random ramblings. I’ve been jotting down blog post ideas throughout the month for when I finished NHBPM, so stay tuned for those.
Anyway, onto the prompt.
I’ve written about my views concerning my diagnosis and how I’m actually grateful for it. That’s right, I said it.
But Liz, wouldn’t you rather be normal. Don’t you want a functioning pancreas? Do you like having a dysfunctional thyroid (my answer to this one will ALWAYS be no- good with the bad)? Don’t you wish you could eat a handful of popcorn, Cheerios, crackers and chocolate chips without worrying about your blood sugar? Do you like getting an astronomically high number after eating a breakfast that contained only 15 grams of carbs? Do you really like gaining weight for no apparent reason while simultaneously feeling lethargic?
Ok, I know absolutely none of that sounds like a blessing and if I’m being honest, it isn’t. It downright sucks if I’m putting it bluntly. But getting diagnosed with a chronic disease is a life-changer. With that life-changer came new perspective and new goals.
Life could be much worse. Also, life could be better. I used to spend a lot of time stressing out about the little things. My diagnosis has given me clarity, peace and a little bit of zen. I quickly realized that the things I was stressing about just weren’t that important. Sure I still stress about things, but I don’t let that stress overpower me and that’s the important thing.
I’ve learned to breathe. Yes, I know we, as humans, breathe automatically and without thinking about it but if you’ve never actually sat and focused on your breathing, then stop reading and do it. Simply closing your eyes and mind to everything but your breathing for 10 deep, slow breaths will help you de-stress and feel instantly better about life and whatever it presents.
You only get one body in this life. Mine happens to have a crappy pancreas and thyroid. That woke me up and made realize that I should take better care of my body. “My body is a temple.” I now take exercise and healthy eating seriously. I work out about five days a week in the gym, take daily walks during my lunch break and try to eat as little refined flour and sugar as possible. Of course, I do indulge and eat too many cookies or too much chocolate. Maybe I really didn’t have to go back and seconds (or thirds) of the crap dip. But life is also about enjoyment. You have to remember that.
Speaking of bodies…. I, like most of American women, have days where I absolutely hate my body. I have days where my body is alright, days where I feel a bit better about it and days where it might be ok to let someone see me naked. I’m working on body love. I’m not a size 2 or even a size 4. I don’t weigh that magical 120 and my measurements look more like a tiered cake than an hourglass. But I’m strong. My endurance is pretty good. I can rock the hell out of kickboxing, dance my ass off in Zumba and yell at Jillian Michaels while Shredding. I can keep pace on the treadmill and drip sweat on the elliptical. I can join the big boys in the weight room. I can do all of those things, and I do do all of those things. I might have a jiggly butt or a few rolls when I sit down, but those things don’t define me. They don’t make or break how attractive I am. This type of thinking didn’t happen overnight. It came throughout the past year and combined with all my other ways of thinking, I think I’m doing pretty good.
Diabetes is a life sentence, that’s true. But it’s what you do with that life sentence that determines happiness. I read all about diabetes burnout and people who didn’t check their blood sugar and swag bolused every meal and I’m right there with them. I can understand wanting to feel normal. Wanting to live a life without constantly thinking about diabetes, food, exercise, health, consequences. I was lucky because I accepted my disease right away for what it is and realized that from that point forward, I needed to live a healthier lifestyle. I needed to live a lifestyle that would help me, not hurt me. But acceptance is hard. I’ve found, though, that those people who finally accept their body and their disease for what it is realize that it actually can be a blessing and not a curse.