I’ve always been of the mentality that the more you help people, the happier you will be. Maybe it’s a form of karma that I’ve attached my beliefs to. Whatever you call it, it’s something that I try hard to maintain and include in my daily life.
I am not a woman of luxury. I got married in a hand-me-down dress that was given to me the morning of my wedding. Though my husband did give me a beautiful diamond ring, it wasn’t something I asked him for. We have a very nice home, which we searched through thousands of houses on the Internet, seeing about 50 in person before making our decision. But, the deciding factor wasn’t only to be sure the neighborhood was safe or that the house reflected our personalities. It was heavily decided from the ability to make the mortgage payments on one income, should he or I ever need to be out of work because of unforeseen events. We try to be careful.
We have a hybrid car, but strictly because it saves over $200 per month in gasoline costs; it was the cheapest one on the market. My home is decorated by thrift store items and I own very few clothing pieces that weren’t previously owned. When celebrations and holidays emerge, I crochet scarves and make food as gifts. We don’t have a lot, but we are content.
I have spent a lot of time trying to figure what I could do to make life better for others, but I have my limitations. I am afraid to run long distances due to my history of severe low glucose events, so I struggle with running marathons to raise funding for less able people. I’m too scared, but have been conditioning to not only be able to do this task, but to also boost my health. A healthy me benefits everyone around me. I want to do my part in “saving the world.”
I try hard to share what little I have because as cold as it seems sometimes, the world has shared a lot with me. When I fell into a health crisis just last year, EMTs and paramedics saved my life and kept me and my children safe. I have a disease that requires a lot of maintenance and
I’m afraid to become a financial burden on the nation. I struggle with the guilt I feel from being a burden to my family due to my health.
My husband regularly checks my glucose while I’m asleep, whenever I ask him to should I feel concerned something strange is going to happen to my health during the night. He never complains. My two year old daughter has held my glucometer while I checked my reading during a sudden dip in my blood sugar while grocery shopping. My family is burdened by medical bills and prescription costs that are only climbing as our nation is attempting to reorganize its health system. My parents worry for my future and I will not ever be able to soften that feeling for them.
Without much to offer the world financially or physically, I set to work on bettering my health so I could at least give something back. I can’t easily build houses for the homeless or climb mountains to aid the sick. I can’t fly across the world to heal people after natural disasters. But, my blood is still good.
Today, for the third time this year, I donated a pint of blood. I’ve tried several times before, but was turned away due to low iron; I had enough for myself, but not enough to replace the blood I would give. Today I was given the green light. I laid on the table while listening to the kind phlebotomists talking and some classic rock playing on a radio nearby. Thirty minutes of my time and I had potentially saved several lives.
In the season of giving, I’ve found something very large that I can give back to the world, that doesn’t cost me a dime. Despite living with a body which doesn’t function the way it was designed to and a checkbook that is a little depressing, I was able to give the gift of life to a few strangers who would be facing some of the most scary moments of their lives. I couldn’t help but smile and I walked with a little swing to my step as I left the building.
In most cases, but especially this one, giving is a lot better than receiving. It’s the little things that add up to a lot. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and good health to everyone.
Katherine Marple was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14 in 1998. She is the mother of two small children, has battled insulin resistance, pre-eclampsia, and CGM and pump failures, leading to insulin therapy via MDI using Levemir and Apidra, and sometimes metformin. She is the author of two diabetes-related novels, “Wretched (this is my sorry)” and “Deathly Sweet.”