Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What do you see?

Take a look at me.  Tell me, what do you see?

You may see my brown eyes, looking lovingly at my husband - or perhaps looking at him with some aggravation, depending on the day.

You may see my hands, holding five double-pointed needles with some thin yarn snaking through my fingers as I knit on the sock that dangles from the end.

You may see my clothes, the new dark-wash jeans I got on sale a few weeks ago - and perhaps you'll see a few cat hairs clinging to the legs.

You may see my purse, the huge tan leather bag that could probably stash said cat comfortably if I were inclined to bring her along.

You may see my shoes, the cute brown pumps that are surprisingly comfortable.

You may see my snack, probably a big cup of coffee and maybe a scone.

Now look again.  This time, instead of telling me what you see, let me tell you what you don't see.

When you look at my brown eyes, you don't see the two leaky blood vessels diabetes has caused - which my eye doctor must check every six months.

When you look at my knitting hands, you don't see how calloused and scarred the pads of my fingers are from the dozens of finger sticks diabetes requires each day to keep my blood sugar in line.

When you look at my new jeans, you don't see the small pocket I've sewn into the waistband to hold the insulin pump I need to wear all of the time to treat diabetes - nor do you see the Continuous Glucose Monitor stuck to my lower back.

When you look at my huge purse, you don't see that it isn't a hidden kitty that makes it bulge so - it's all of the diabetes supplies I must lug around.  The blood glucose machine, the spare infusion set, reservoir and battery, the emergency syringe and bottle of insulin, the fast acting carbs to ward off lows.

When you look at my pretty shoes, you don't see the risk of diabetes complications threatening my feet that I must check for each night.

When you look at my yummy snack, you don't see the wheels turning in my mind - trying to estimate just how many carbs are in that scone and how much buttery fat that will slow down my absorption of those carbs so I can attempt to punch the correct dosage on my insulin pump.

This week is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.  When you look at me, chances are you can't tell that I live with a chronic illness.  You can't see that it fills every day with a million details and victories and failures.  You can't see that it touches everything I do - and everything I am. But look a bit closer . . . . deep into my eyes . . . . and you just might see how desperately I am STILL hoping for a cure.


Lee Ann Thill said...

That's just an awesome post, Karen! What a fabulous way to shine a light on National Invisible Chronic Illness Week!

Estella said...

Well said...thank you for reminding us we all need to think a bit more beyond the "outside" of people and situations. You are amazing.

Noey D. said...

Oh my gosh, Karen, that gave me chills! You are awesome and so eloquent! I hope and pray for a cure also.

Qutecowgirl said...

WOW. You said it so well. I don't even know what else to say.

Sonya said...

Great post, Karen! Honestly your twittering is what made me really aware of how much time goes into staying healthy for a diabetic. Sometimes I forget my dad's dependence on insulin until I see him bring his little cooler pack when we're going somewhere for the day.

BTW, I also see an awesome Sunrise Circle cardigan!

Zonda said...

Thanks for sharing! That was a great post, and makes us all think a bit more!! I so hope for a cure as well!! ((hugs))

Anonymous said...

My husband is right there with you hoping for a cure. From your lips to God's ear.

(Well written post --- I have sometimes caught myself berating a person for parking in handicapped parking when they don't "look" handicapped. But, then I give myself a slap-down ---- not all handicaps are visible. ---- You gave me something to think about today and remind myself to not judge by what I see. Thank you.)

cpurl17 said...

I see someone beautiful.


bmom said...

We can all work to support efforts for a cure! I remember watching your video of everything in your bag -- that's a lot of stuff.

But you look great.

knitseashore said...

Such a well-written, between the eyes sort of post to remind us that diabetes, and other chronic illnesses, are a daily battle. You look terrific!, but as Sonya said, your Twitter posts have made me too realize how much effort you and others must put into maintaining your health and safety. ((hugs))

chris said...

Karen, I see someone beautiful and inspiring, as well. Thank you for the reminder about the gravity of this and other silent illnesses. I truly hope we do see a cure for diabetes within our lifetimes.

Melissa said...

This was a really beautiful, well-written post.
I think that when someone like you manages their illness so well, we tend to forget what a daily battle it is.
I would love to see a cure.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. I love the way you showed us (those without diabetes) what it is like to live in such a matter-of-fact way, but also in a touching way.

I live with asthma, which requires a great deal of monitoring, but nothing like what you have to do on a daily basis. But it is definitely a part of who I am that people don't see when they look at me.

k2 said...

Well written, well stated and absolutely wonderful!
kelly k

kathy b said...

I am desperately hoping for a cure for YOU too! I see your incredible smile in spite of it all. I see you gaze at Pea. I see the cat hair and I am overjoyed!

Jennifer said...

Great post. Very enlightening without preaching. I've learned so much about diabetes - and understanding diseases in general from you. Thanks for teaching me so much!

Ya-Ya said...

You are an amazing girl Karen.

Danielle said...

Well said and thanks for sharing so openly. :)

Jean said...

You are taking such fine care of yourself, being aware of what your body is doing is an important part of your battle. Seems like you have it down, your story is so encouraging to others - you enable yourself to accomplish things. Thank you for sharing your life with us, it touched my heart.

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