By: Tyler Stevenson
I was in the parking lot of the mall, walking past wheelchair parking, when I noticed a man using the lift gate of his specially equipped van. There he was, lowering himself and his motorized wheelchair down to the ground all by himself. As I walked through the mall that day, I couldn’t get the man in the wheelchair off my mind.
I just drove up, threw my car into park, opened my door, got out, and was on my way. Not him. The things he had to do and the time it took him to do them just to get out of his van started to make me realize how lucky I am. We take so many things for granted until we lose them. When I tore my ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in my right knee, a simple shower became a major ordeal; trying to get to class on crutches was a real struggle.
Every now and then we need to step back and reassess our attitude, look at our lives in a different perspective, and start appreciating what we have. Handling type 1 diabetes so that you maintain good health is no walk in the park, but when you compare it to the man in the wheelchair, it takes on a different prospective. I am sure, without a doubt, that he would change places with me in an instant. Testing blood sugar levels, counting carbs, taking shots, and dealing with my insulin pump doesn’t seem such a big deal when I think of living life in a wheelchair.
To take a shower, I just disconnect from my pump and step in the shower. I can’t even imagine how difficult that is for someone unable to walk. For him, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, or driving somewhere are all major ordeals. I have started to become more aware that there are people all around me who would trade their health situation with me in a heartbeat.
I think that sometimes life sends us a message that we are too busy to notice. That day, my message came in the parking lot of the mall. There are thousands of people less fortunate than me. Being sorry for myself for having diabetes won’t make it go away. Having a “Pity Party” accomplishes nothing.
There are many reasons for me to be positive even though I have diabetes. Everything I need to control my diabetes for the rest of my life is available to me, and that is a great thing. My disease is controllable if I want it to be. Will I still get down on the fact that I have diabetes? The honest answer to that is, you bet. Will I still wonder why I got it? You bet I will. Will I still feel that it is unfair and I didn’t deserve getting it? Absolutely! But none of those thoughts or answers is going to make it go away.
I personally don’t like being around negative, always complaining people. I believe that there is POWER IN BEING POSITIVE. Start appreciating and valuing what you have, and you’ll start having better days. I once read, “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” You may not agree, but it works for me. You might as well give it a try… what have you got to lose?