Getting diagnosed with diabetes and living with it the rest of your life is not just a physical challenge.
It can be an emotional challenge as well.
This post is a collection of letters that people with diabetes have written to their diabetes. Writing directly to “their” diabetes they share what’s on their minds.
Writing a letter to your diabetes might seem silly or a bit controversial. But it’s a way to shed some light on the emotional aspect of getting diagnosed with diabetes and living with it. We truly believe that is important.
We’re so delighted that Sofia, Mike, Hanna, Casper, Riva and Bjarne wanted to share their letters with us!
Check them out below.
“Dear T1D, I hate you for choosing me. I hate that you force me to overthink and do all these painful things on an everyday basis. I hate you for all the sweaty, shaky, awake hypo nights – and for all the nauseous, headachy, thirsty hyper days. But, dear T1D, I’ve grown to accept you. And lately even kind of like you. You have taught me to fight for my health, to put myself first, and to never ever take the future for granted. You have given me qualities, opportunities and experiences – as well as my husband-to-be and so many friends. I’m doing what I do, and am what I am, partly thanks to you. I will never be thankful for what you’re doing to my body, but I am for how you have shaped me.”
– Sofia from Diabetesia
“Thank you for sticking around, even in the toughest of times.
You are a great conversation starter and you’ve helped me meet new people. You’ve given me the tools and knowledge to help, educate and inspire those who don’t understand or perhaps don’t like you. Without you, I wouldn’t have been where I am today so thank you for being my companion”
“Dear Diabetes, thank you for teaching me so much about life. Thank you for showing me what health is and for giving me the tools to take excellent care of myself. Thank you for making me very aware of what’s going on in my body, for helping me to nourish my body and move it regularly. I know we’re not always best friends, but I’m happy for the working relationship we have developed over the years. Also, thank you for letting me follow my dreams. To many more successful years together!”
– Hanna from hannaboethius.com
We’ve also conducted an interview. See what Hanna Boethius has to say!
Dear diabetes. I wished that this was a letter of goodbye. A letter where I could finally say “thanks for now”. For the last 15 years I thought that day would come. But you’re stubborn and you’ll probably be that for the rest of my life.
I wished that we matched well together. Exactly the way we actually went well together for about 8 years ago. But I am so tired. Tired of counting carbs and calories. Doctor visits. The stress about perhaps getting sequelaes.
Tired of the pricking, the measuring and the analysing. I am tired – and I hope that life with you as my companion one day will be better. The diabetes aid solutions are out there. But you are expensive. Very expensive, there’s no way around that.
This is unfortunately not a goodbye – but it is a “congratulations” on our 21 year anniversary, my old friend.
I wish I could go back 48 years! I’d tell that doctor who told me all the horrible things you’d bring me what’s happened. He scared me half to death but we’ve become good friends. Can you be a pain in the butt? You bet.
But I know taking care of you has kept me healthier. You’ve given me an incredible career writing books and articles and standing on stages across the world inspiring people. You sure want a lot of attention, but you can bring something positive into our life too. I wish I could tell that doctor that.
– Riva Greenberg from Diabetes Stories
Check out our interview with Riva Greenberg here!
You entered my life in 1989 through the diagnosis of my father. At that time I was 7 years old and I didn’t really understand you. I remember asking my father what he would do if the condition disappeared – his answer is still clear today. He would eat a big cake and drink lemonade.
Over the years I saw how he struggled with you. You gave him several insulin shocks. And our family didn’t know how to treat him because of you.
But only seeing you secondhand meant that I didn’t quite understand you.
2010 you entered my life – and suddenly I was forced to start a relationship with you. First you took away many of the things I really enjoyed in life – things like good food, drinks, football and my businesses.
I tried to understand you, understand all of your demands of me, accepting that you were such a big part of my life and trying to cope with the fact that you split me up in two. Peter before diabetes and Peter with diabetes. This is still something that I work with everyday.
But dear diabetes – I know that you would most likely follow me for the rest of my life – for good and for bad – and that’s why I’m glad that I have been able to put you as the co-pilot in my life.
You are a part of my life, but you don’t control my life.
You are a part of all the decisions I make, but you are not the one who call the shots.
You are involved in the lives of my two daughters and my wife.
You are now just a part of who I am.
Dear diabetes welcome to my family – I hope you will enjoy the ride. And please stay away from my girls!
– Peter Lucas, co-founder of Hedia
You can read Peter’s full diagnosis story, starting here!
“My name is Bjarne, I’m a so-called type 3, also known as a carer. I’m a dad to 17-year-old Vitus. He has diabetes type 1. He was diagnosed when he was two years old in 2005. I’m sitting here in Svendborg, Denmark, watching the last rays of sunlight falling upon the Svendborgsund Bridge, while I think about the post that Hedia kindly asked me to write for their blog. The theme is: Write a letter to your diabetes. The aim is to shed light on the emotional aspects of living with diabetes. Oh yes, there’s plenty to write about. But writing it is immediately harder. “
I have never thought of you as an obstacle in my life but more as an asset. But I had wished this were my divorce paper that I submitted to you. It is not an easy illness to deal with. But in general, I feel grateful to be able to handle what the diagnosis has meant. I have both seen the darkness but also the front of you which generates in that I have got to see what I actually go for.
You have given me the strength to handle myself and I have had to work a lot on those sides of me that normally are seen as weaknesses, but today there are strengths. You have given me friends all over the world, opportunities to advocate on how important it is as a diabetic to look at their opportunities, and perhaps most importantly, I have accepted to listen to my needs and signals that my body is giving me.
I cannot divorce you, I cannot fire you, so, I will make you as my partner in life. I choose to have a positive attitude about diabetes and life, and I believe our choices are learned habits.”
– Sara Mobäck from @saramoback
“Going through a whirlwind of emotional rollercoasters knowing that I cannot fight you has been key. I cannot waste any time hating the fact that you’re here, tagging along in life like a, “limp side salad nobody wants around” (a phrase coined by my sister when we were kids explaining why we couldn’t play together! ha)…except with this mushy brown limp side salad, you will not wilt away.
There were two words which changed the potential for a toxic relationship between us. One allowed me to embrace you and stopped me fighting you before I had the chance to go down a very dark hole. That word is Gratitude. Having real gratitude for the lessons you introduced me to with managing my diabetes has been life changing.
Pretty early on, I realised that you weren’t going away and the only way forward was to work together. To find balance, which is the second word, that helped me find peace in accepting you. Releasing that I was never going to live a healthy, happy life by just ignoring you or by trudging through all the hypos & hypers, I needed to find balance, mentally. I needed to accept that I am not going to have perfect numbers; that my emotions will be sliding around, depending on how high or low my sugar levels are, and that I am not to blame for said slide! There is no need to feel guilty for the highs and lows – not just mentally but physically too.”
– Amanda Wass from @amanda.s.wass
Do you also want to share your letter? We really hope to hear from you!
This post will be updated on a regular basis with new letters. Send yours to Signe from the Hedia team at firstname.lastname@example.org ?