Talking about diabetes.
You will never hear me say “Why me?” I know why me. I come from a long line of diabetics. My family had a history of insulin syringes, degenerative eye diseases, lost limbs, and deaths. I remember my mom telling me stories of my Godmother and her struggles with the deadly disease and how it cost her both legs. Did I listen? Well, I remember the convo with mom like it was 10 minutes ago, but did I listen? Obviously not, as I look down at what used to be a complete left leg. Was I listening when I went on a forty-year self-destructive odyssey which saw my once-slight athletic frame devolve into a 280 lb. tub of shit? Seriously, I think I defied the Laws of Cocaine because I managed to balloon up in weight (and I wasn’t any taller). This despite the Crystal Caverns I called nasal passages. Was I listening when I shoved drugs into my stupid head for all those years? I might have been listening, but I didn’t hear anything BECAUSE I WAS ON DRUGS. But back to the subject. I went through all the stages of the grieving process, despite proclaiming to anyone who would listen, that I was different. I’m a big boy. Right?
Well, the truth is, you can not help but go through the entire process because it helps make you stronger after you do. One of the many health professionals that I have seen told me that “Every single day you are either working FOR recovery or AGAINST it.” Of course with my inherent distrust of doctors, I thought he was full of it. But it’s true. Once I reached and continue on with acceptance, I made the decision: go for it, or just carve out a limited little niche on this planet as an amputee? I decided to go for it because for no other reason than to extend my time left in this sphere of existence. It is why, when I stopped drinking, I really stopped drinking. Don’t get me wrong. I loved liquor. I didn’t stop because I didn’t like the taste. But now, when I look at booze, I see a skull and crossbones. I understand there are many amputees who just “dial it in” and let their new condition dictate what they can NOT do, but to you I say, just pick out the most important thing to you and see how getting better and relearning to walk will help. For me, it was easy. As an old-school Mexican macho male, it was so emasculating having my wife help feed, bathe, and generally take care of me like a baby. So I started “kicking it up a notch” as Emeril Lagasse might say. My physical therapist gave me a plan to kick-start my comeback. He said do 5 sets of 10 reps, I did 10 sets of 20 reps. My orthotist said walk 100 steps a day. That became around the block twice daily. Why? Why do I wake up every day and plan for a brighter tomorrow?
Because if it buys me five more minutes on this earth with my true love Karen, it’s all worth it.