By: Meagan Esler
I was recently talking with my mom about my retirement plan: to be specific, about my worrisome lack of preparation for retirement. She consoled me by saying that I am still young and have a lot of time left to plan and save. It was then that I had a moment of total panic, as I realized that this is true only if my body continues to work. What if I develop complications from my type 1 diabetes?
Diabetes does that to you. It scares you and makes you ask yourself tough questions. Questions like: Why didn’t I take better care of myself after my diagnosis 18 years ago? The adult in me answers, “Because I was 18 years old, that’s why.” Kids don’t always make the smartest choices as they enter adulthood. Throw an unruly chronic and life-threatening illness into the mix, and things just aren’t going to go perfectly smoothly. Most kids that age are feeling invincible. They don’t worry about what might happen 20 years into the future. I sure didn’t: I was out seizing the day.
Now, though, I find myself worrying about that day long ago when I passed out for some unexplained reason. What exactly happened in my brain that day? I worry about all those years when I barely tested my blood sugars. Thankfully, I woke up one day and decided to change. I hope and pray that it wasn’t too late.
Now I’m old enough to know better, but that doesn’t mean I want to stop living life to the fullest, even with diabetes. I’m still young enough to want to have some fun and not let diabetes totally rule my days. Still, fun requires balance, and I need to keep my eyes on the prize: the years of good health I have left. I come away with the determination that I’ll do the best I can to have as many of those years as possible.
I can’t give up. I can’t worry relentlessly about all the “what if’s” that push into my mind. I’m going to do my best to live a long and healthy life despite my colossal screw-ups when I was younger.
In life you never know what’s just around the corner. Seize the day, but take the time to test those blood sugars, because tomorrow just might be even more amazing, and you’ll want to be there to find out.