On The Brighter Side…

I was reading a post written by a fellow blogger last Monday. The blog is called “Diabetics to Dietetics”, you can search for it through WordPress.com. In this post, she made a number of very important points regarding the negative light the world shines on Diabetes and how the majority of articles seem to focus on Type-2 as opposed to Type-1. The post is fantastic, and you can find it here: https://katiebartel.ca/2019/12/09/time-to-shine-the-spotlight-on-t1d/

Yes, any disease or medical condition is terrible. There are issues, complications, forced life changes and medications that can cause further complications and side effects. In terms of Type-1 Diabetes, depending on how well you manage your blood sugar levels, you can expect organ failure, blindness and a shortened life span. Sounds pretty bleak, right?

Here’s the thing: I’ve often closed my eyes at night and wondered what my life would have been, had I never been diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes. Would I have joined sports teams? Maybe I would have made different choices in my life and ended up somewhere different.

But I WAS diagnosed… And I’ve flourished. Despite spending my youth dealing with insulin resistance, Diabetic comas and extreme highs and lows, I’ve managed to accomplish so many of the things that many of my counterparts who aren’t Diabetic have failed to do.

When I started the martial arts in the late 1980’s, it was done against protest from my family and my doctors. They claimed that the rigorous training and “violence” involved would be too much for me and that I would never be able to keep up. The year to come will mark 32 years that I have been studying karate. And teaching it, in fact. I have travelled to Japan and trained with some of the world’s best and developed myself. It has helped with my T1D in ways that nothing else could.

When I decided on the career that would encompass my life, I was not only told I couldn’t do it by doctors and family, the industry itself held a stigma against T1D and had medical policies that prohibited the hiring of a Type-1 Diabetic. Luckily, they were smart enough to recognize the error of their ways and I have been working my dream job for over ten years (minus some recent complications unrelated to Diabetes).

When I reached my twenties, I was told that there would be a 1 in 3 chance that I would never be able to bear children, as sterility is a side effect of Type-1 Diabetes. In just under three weeks, my second son will be 3-months old.

You see, I’ve pushed myself throughout my entire life. Always endeavoured to be the best I could be, otherwise my condition would overtake me. In response to that, I’ve achieved everything I was meant to. And more. For some people, being told they can’t have something makes them want it even more. And that’s totally me.

Your condition doesn’t define you. Whether it’s Diabetes or something else, it doesn’t make you the person you become. Only you can do that. But sometimes, if you have the right perspective and are willing to fight for what you need, Diabetes can easily be the fuel that stokes the fire of your ambition. ☯

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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