cause i don’t shine, if you don’t shine

Heather Gabel


how long does it take to be considered a veteran?
how long until one can be honored with a certificate of completion?
what governing institution would offer the PhD in diabetes management that each pwd has been working their buns of steel off to achieve?

i’m 23.
i might be wise beyond my years, but i’m not yet wise.
i might be professional, but i’m not yet a professional.
i’m no veteran, but i sure as hell have served.

i’ve had diabetes for nearly 12 years.
this december, i will have lived longer WITH diabetes than i ever did without.
and on that glorious day i am going to strut to the frame shop with my self made certificate of achievement and say, ‘i need a frame for my PhD, please!’

i’ve been around teens with diabetes lately. some of them have been living with diabetes longer than i. some of them less. but for each one – regardless of the number of years they have, i want to hug and say THANK YOU for existing, thank you for living with diabetes and being such a great team player. i want to tell them that this CLUB is better because they are in it, and i want to tell them that it gets easier with time.

we all have to work for our degrees, for our honors and awards. we have to put in hours and feelings and love into our bodies, the bodies that decided they didn’t want to work for us.

but boy, i’d tell them that with all that time, all that energy, we become the smartest people in the world, the most empowered people in the world.

i would say this:
becoming diabetic, empowered and moved by the effort i was forced to put forth, was one of the best things to ever happen to me.

i would mean it.

today, i mean it.
tomorrow, i’ll mean it.
even the day after tomorrow, when diabetes decides to not play by the rules and i feel like crap, i’ll mean it.

being diabetic describes me.
it moves me.
i’m strong
i’m intelligent
i’m thoughtful
i’m ambitious
i’m careful
i’m fun
i’m honest

and if you are a person with diabetes, you are too.

come on, strut with me to the frame shop.

be proud.

we work for this, we can decide it is an honor to live with it and take our perks as they come.

cheers to life with diabetes.

for bringing us together and holding us tight.

move onward, my friend, onward.

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