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Good Enough

I was recently asked if I had experienced a “good” childhood. I didn’t know how to respond because my first instinct was to laugh, and that would have been grossly inappropriate. Yet, so was the question, because it is impossible for me, or for anyone with a chronic illness acquired in childhood, to answer honestly. I don’t believe anyone wants to hear the truth: No, because I don’t know how to define “good”.

Growing up with type 1 has meant a series of good and bad days, many tied to blood glucose levels, many, however, not at all. When my diabetes management was under control I was free to focus on other elements of my life, to be a child, which was certainly good. I do not have statistics that indicate the percentage of these days, but that doesn’t really matter. Memory, as I’ve written about previously, has a way of figuring its own statistics.

“Good” for me could also mean something vastly different than for someone else. I had it good in the sense that my mother was a nurse, which made figuring out this illness much easier. However, I have met children with diabetes whose parents are nurses or Certified diabetes Educators or doctors, and they feel smothered, as if who they are as a person has been lost to the label of a disease. They are primarily “patient” and a problem to be solved. I see no good in that.

I believe it boils down to perspective, as I think almost everything in life does. Currently our economy is failing, people are at their wits’ end, and yet, research indicates that society feels somehow better at being relieved to no longer participate in the rat race. When you have diabetes you are always in the race. As the adage goes, “There are no days off.” But we can all make the best of each day, for good or bad, regardless of complications or blood sugar fluctuation. This is life, yes our unique life. But life, inherently, is good.

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