When’s the last time you relied on something to save your life? Everytime I leave the house with friends I look around to see what they pack before leaving. The classic phone, wallet and keys. Rarely anything more.
When I leave I grab my phone, wallet and keys. Then I look for the most optimal bag. I make myself a survival kit for any situation that may occur. This consists of insulin, finger prick device, more insulin if necessary, one, two, three or maybe more juice boxes, candy if I have it on hand and a lovely glucagon revive kit. On top of this, I wear my saviors 24/7; a Dexcom G7 that is always injected into my skin and a medical bracelet just in case I do actually need saving.
Some of you may have caught on. Some of you might have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. And that’s OK.
Type 1 Diabetes. My forever disease. Something that has plagued my life over the past three-plus years, and something that will plague it until the day I die.
Some days it prohibits me from leaving the house. Some days it doesn’t let me sleep. Some days I have to draw my own blood over and over again to see if my body is physically OK. Some days it causes me breakdowns, headaches, anxiety, fear. Somedays, I simply do not want to deal with it.
Everyday I have to inject myself with needles, over and over again. Everyday, I try my best to give myself the most optimal health. Everyday I struggle. Everyday is different. Everyday — I am different.
But also, everyday is a new day. Everyday I continue to learn. Everyday I try. Everyday I grow.
To most, this autoimmune disease is something completely foreign. Some only know the outrageous stereotypes of diabetics being overweight or not physically active. People don’t understand the struggles we diabetics face daily that were passed on to us by our messed up genetic pool.
I know the average reader isn’t going to understand the concept of insulin and why I need to constantly monitor my blood glucose levels at every single point of every single day. People aren’t normally aware of the dangers I face or what my long-term health consequences could be.
While there are plenty of negatives, this disease has brought me opportunities, awakenings, friendships, love and more. I believe diabetes has changed me for the better and I am a better person due to it. It has taught me that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and that the beauty in life is in the struggle.
It has taught me that, even through hardships, life will always have some positive outlook. What I want to share throughout this column is that diseases may not be visible but they are there. I want to inform whoever is reading this about the world of Luke Jackson and how no matter what happens in life it will always be chill.
Header photo: During a seven mile hike of battling high and low blood sugars, I reached the gorgeous overlook that proved to me it was worth it to keep going so I could keep learning how to overcome those difficulties. (Courtesy of Luke Jackson)
Write to Luke Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org