Monday, February 13, 2012

Are You Okay?

I know that worry has existed as a human emotion almost as long as humans have been around. I know that worry from others is a sign that you're not alone in the big bad world. I know that worry sounds like a four letter word to me.

Worry. Care. Concern.

Whatever you call it. However you see it. I feel like those three words sear into me sometimes. Sometimes, I just want to scream until my lungs are empty: I AM OKAY.

Just because I have diabetes, it does not mean I am some fragile little glass figurine that will crack if you tip me the wrong way (and yes, I believe the same thing about be a woman. I can do almost anything my brothers can do). I am strong. I am vibrant. I am resilient.

Worry is needed sometimes in limited quantities. The only person I let get away with it rampantly is my mom (because she's my mom. Worrying can make her overbearing, but she's connected to me).

I will unabashedly declare that I have diabetes, because I want people to know in case something happens to me. I want people know that I am strong enough to do or try whatever I set my mind do (school, climbing, the presidency (just for Simon), whatever!).

There are different reactions. Public and written all over your face. Private and whispered around guarded corners. Everyone has an opinion. And they're entitled to it. But I wish they knew me better (AND ASKED QUESTIONS) before they formed them.

My first class my freshman year was Engineering and Design. I had it with the Assistant Dean of the college in a computer lab where no food or drink was allowed. Instead of pestering the guy later, I just raised my hand and asked if it was alright if I brought juice and water with me because of my diabetes. Of course he said it was okay. What I didn't find out until I was nearly graduating (from one of the college secretaries at that) is that as soon as the lecture was over, he stumbled into the college's front office in a panic about what to do if I passed out in class or some such traumatic medical event arose. The funniest part of this story is that I was his preceptor for three years after my freshman year teaching right alongside him, and I don't think he was ever showed that fear (I hope he realized it was unnecessary).

I've started a bootcamp training program. My trainer looked like she was filled with questions that she never asked when I told her I'm a diabetic. And she asks at least 5 or 6 times during a 50 minute session if I'm okay. I can see the look of concern in her eyes just for me while she's scanning the room of us. It drives me a little nuts, but I know the longer I stay with the program and the more she gets to know me, the less she'll ask. I know she's got that same sense of panic as that professor, because she wears it on her face.

Sometimes, my blood sugar is low and I need help. But more often than not, I figure it out myself. I don't know if it's the stubborn streak in me, or something else all together (maybe it's just the phrase). I am fiercely independent most days, which can cause trouble once in a blue moon. I've been lucky and blessed so far. Without taking it for granted, I just wish for one day I could look around and know that no one is worrying.

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