This past weekend I was at Camp Nejeda’s Survive and Thrive Bootcamp for Adults with type 1. It was an amazing experience and I hope to blog about all of it in the next few days. One of the workshops I attended was about the Invisible Elephant project led by Marina Tsaplina, the founder, CEO and Creative Director of The Betes Organization. This project is something I am very proud of being involved in as a Patient Ambassador for The Betes. The purpose is to bring a voice to the fears we face about diabetes complications. The project and workshop are in their infancy but already I can feel the impact it has had on the participants. As a participant myself, I have been thinking about our conversations and thoughts I shared about how I feel about my diabetes and the complications that have come with it. While every day is a challenge there are also some pretty amazing moments to be lived. I shared that after 18 years of living with diabetes I can actually say that my diabetes is a gift. I can not only say it but I can truly feel it. I want to take a moment (or a blog post) to thank it.
I know that we haven’t always gotten along and at times I really wish you weren’t a part of my life but I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for all of the amazing things you have taught me and brought into my life. You consistently challenge me and I have learned so much about myself, for that I am eternally grateful.
You took away my freedom. I had to learn self discipline and motivation. This was something I battled with you almost to the death. It took me 12 years to finally get it. Once I understood this lesson, I became free again. Funny how that worked. Thank you.
You took away my ability to physically feel the earth beneath me. This forced me to start asking others for help. It was very uncomfortable at first but I realized that others want to help. My family and friends would not let me miss out on things just because I was in a wheelchair and could not walk. I was able to experience the world in a different capacity. I am grateful for that period of time. Thank you.
You took away my ability to work full time at a job I loved. This forced me to do some very deep soul searching. It brought me to a more healthy relationship with you. It has allowed me to dream and then make those dreams a reality. I was able to find my purpose. Thank you so much for that gift.
You took away my vision and replaced it with the gift of sight. Losing my vision was one of the hardest challenges you threw my way. I was angry and did not understand this. It wasn’t until I understood that there is so much beauty in the world to experience through all of our senses. Life is not just about physically seeing things. My world was made more beautiful when I realized this. Thank you.
You made my body fail me. I was scared and did not want to talk about it. I felt like a failure. You brought me to a deep understanding of self and of family. You gave me the incredible opportunity to bond with another human being. You gave me a second chance at life. I could wipe the slate clean and have a new relationship with you. Thank you.
Thank you for these life lessons. Not everyone gets forced to be aware of their physical and emotional being. You have brought that into my life. I am a better human because of you. I have empathy, compassion, love and the ability to connect with others. You have brought so many wonderful people into my life. I can’t thank you enough for that.
Moving forward I will try to always look for the gifts you bring to me. Thank you for inspiring me and molding me into the person I am today. I would not trade that in for anything.