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121 Days Left

March 2, 2011
by ryan [@rk_p]

I can’t seem to shake this feeling that I’ve been dropped behind hostile enemy lines with a rusty canteen, an old pair of boots, a few cartoons of cigarettes, a worn deck of playing cards, a couple of Snickers and I am on my way to storm a fortified secret fortress but I have no map.

I researched “Diabetes” for a few hours last night. I spoke with a few friends that have been diagnosed with diabetes and a dietician.  I have combed my mind and memories of how I got here.  I spoke to my father and with tears in his voice he apologized for “doing this” to me.  It was a tough day yesterday.  I am worn out and have no idea as where to begin.

I passed out from exhaustion last night and slept through my alarm.  I got up to see the sun and the dawn of a new day.  I was excited and hopeful for today.  I am digesting the information from yesterday and am putting together cohesive thoughts as to how I am going to live this thing out.

I went to my local YMCA and ran a bit.  I started my run with a little “Bad Manner” and found the soothing sounds of Buster and the gang not enough to drown out my thoughts.  I decide to body pray as I ran.  I began to organize the information I got yesterday in to smaller digestible moments.

I found myself tired and afraid.  Then I was angry and fearful.  Then I found my self exploring what my life may look like in to the future.  The fear, anger and exhaustion was slowly being replaced by will, courage and an energy I have not felt in some time.  I was flooded with memories of when I was younger.

I remembered my moments when I was training for wrestling and those moments of victory I had experienced as a young man.  I remembered my first kiss, that first love, that first time I played a show before a crowd and that first time I heard about diabetes.

I am half Pawnee & Kaw.  Since I was a child I was surrounded by stories of the old days and the physical witness of a people that could not stand against colonizing powers.  I watched my elders tell stories as they sat in wheelchairs, walkers, and an old wooden picnic table.  My grandfather had diabetes, my grandmother did too.  My father has it.  My mother has it.  I have countless aunts and uncles that have diabetes.  Diabetes seems to be a rite of passage in my family, along with that romantic notion of vision quest.

When I did my pastoral internship in Central Oklahoma I served 3 native churches.  THat summer the pews would be populated with amputated limbs, swollen knees and the smell of gangue green flesh.  All from the savage attack of diabetes upon these once proud people.

I knew it was more of a matter of when over if I would become diabetic.  Yet I ignored the warning signs and did not tighten the reins of my diet.  I could exercise like hell and I do.  It’s just that exercise alone does not combat diabetes.  I was holding the blanket of my youth and the flickering memory that I was still an 18 year old feller in peak physical form.

As I ran towards memories on that treadmill I searched all kinds of angles as to how I could have prevented it.  I could have embraced a lifestyle that was filled with healthy eating sometime ago.  I tried often to do this and would wrestle my way in to tomorrow and soon everyday became a celebration for a victory that lingered over many years.  A victory that faded and tattered still served the purpose to shun responsibility of the impending diagnoses.

I can no longer use yesterdays glory to justify todays poor living. I will find a new norm and move to wrestle this thing.  

Running away my anxiety and fears I pushed on.  I stopped and wiped my brow.  I logged my time and distance and weighed myself.  It seems that worry weights 1.2 pounds.

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2011 8:58 pm

    I feel your pain, friend. In 2007, along with a couple of other unrelated health issues, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Yes, it sucks. It calls for a complete change of lifestyle and you’re stuck taking medication every day. I hate that. I hate that I can’t eat all the carbs I want; I love potatoes, bread, rice, etc. After a while, you’ll start to find things that you can eat without spiking your blood sugar and it will get easier. Not easy, easier. The hardest part is eating out. I have yet to find a restaurant that has diabetics in mind. Mostly, because carbohydrate-rich foods are tasty and satisfying. And, cheap; definitely cheap. Your grocery bill will probably go up, but it would anyway if you eat right. I guess the main thing I want to say is that yes, this is irritating, frustrating and every other -ing you can think of. But, at least you know and now you can take care of it.

  2. Teri permalink
    March 4, 2011 9:12 pm

    I was sorry when Carol told about your news. It’s not fair that you have to deal with this at such a young age. I too know that it’s just a matter of time for me. My paternal grandmother and my mother both died in their 70s b/c of complications from their disease.

    You have always inspired me to live life to the fullest. I know you’ll be inspiring me now as I get ready to go to Zambia in August. I will be praying for you every day. Love ya. Teri

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