By: Meagan Esler
My class was discussing why we cannot just do pancreas transplants so we can cure diabetes,” said a dear friend that volunteers for me at work. It is a lot more complicated than that, sadly. I was touched that he and his college classmates were discussing ways to cure us. As we chatted about the challenges of diabetes and our wishes for a cure, a few other volunteers gathered. When they heard me mention that I have had Type 1 diabetes for twenty years and that I take 5 – 7 injections a day to stay alive and healthy, they all looked shocked and a silence fell over the group. My volunteer said “Wow, how do you stay so positive”?
To be fair, there are times when I’m not so positive. I may not show it to my volunteers when diabetes is wearing on me at work. I wish I could say I’m always looking at the insulin vial as half full, but that would not be completely true. Life with diabetes does have its difficulties.
I try my best to stay positive though. It is too easy to become overwhelmed and saddened by our chronic condition. I do not want to let it rule my life. I want to continue being the happy girl I’ve always been.
So back to the question “How do you stay so positive”? There may be nothing I can do to end my diabetes, but I can try my hardest to focus on the good things in my life. Here are a few ways I do just that.
I remind myself that I am alive. That is a huge blessing and victory all by itself. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and poor choices with my diabetes. I know I am lucky. I am able to wake up and decide how I’ll treat each day, and I try to always choose positivity.
I don’t hold it all in. I frequently share my feelings with diabetes. I do it through writing, but you can share however you feel most comfortable. It’s so important to let those feelings out instead of keeping them inside. It is unbelievably freeing and is a huge part of staying positive, despite the inevitable challenges diabetes brings.
This next one is probably the key to living a positive life. I laugh. I laugh a lot. While I owe a lot of this to my hilarious husband (I always say he should have been a comedian), I also like to try to make him laugh as often as possible. Just the other day I pretended to be leaving for work without wearing any pants. I walked right through the living room half dressed with my purse on my shoulder, saying goodbye while acting totally serious to get him to crack a smile. Making others laugh is huge for your soul. I know it was a silly thing to do, but those silly things, they really make me happy. Allow yourself to be a little silly and see how much happier you are. Humor is right up there with insulin in keeping me alive and smiling.
I couldn’t explain all the reasons I am able to stay positive to my sweet volunteer at the time. I explained to him that I am unbelievably hopeful for a cure. Just knowing there are people like him and his classmates discussing curing diabetes are a huge part of that hope. I truly believe that my life is going to be beautiful diabetes or no diabetes. Every day might not be pretty, but I always have faith that there are always better ones coming up ahead.