“The Lord sustains them on their sickbed, and restores them from their bed of illness.”
— Psalm 41:3
Today marks another World Diabetes Day.
November 14th commerates the birth of Sir Frederick Grant Banting, one of the men who discovered insulin, saving millions of lives. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, in which the diabetes community goes blue, or gray, or blue and gray. The hope is that our neighbors to which diabetes is foreign will learn something about a disease that impacts hundreds of millions worldwide, each one differently.
Just keeping up with what is new to learn in diabetes is a full-time job. (I almost kind of sort of have that job.) Each person living with diabetes has a unique perspective, a perspective that must be respected, because only one person knows what diabetes is. It’s their enemy, it’s their greatest motivator, it’s their burden or its their success. Learning about what diabetes means to different people living with it or caring for someone living with it, has became an ever increasing focus of creating awareness.
This month is also Epilepsy Awareness Month. I know remarkably little about my own illness compared to the information I have accumulated on diabetes. In fact, I know few others with epilepsy, enough to count on one hand. I have more friends with diabetes than I do without. I know my epilepsy as best I can from tests and discussions with specialists. I know my epilepsy from how it impacts my daily life, how it impacts people’s opinions of me, and I am quite aware that it could be worse.
This month also marks new types of awareness for me. I am now more aware of Parkinson’s. My father was recently diagnosed with a disease I knew absolutely nothing about. Search by search, I am learning more, becoming more aware, learning about our next steps. I was also woefully in the dark about cancer, until my sister’s recent diagnosis sent me searching for information. Information filled with very long words for complicated categorizations, treatments and stages.
At this point, I’m becoming tired of becoming disease aware. It’s a lot of awareness to take in.
Through the health obstacles I know, all the new ones to learn about, I found a deeper awareness. I am more acutely aware than ever how fragile our bodies are, how susceptible to disease they can be, and how important the strength of the spirit is in attaining health. I am more aware that my family is more important than the next paycheck to pay the bills. I am more aware that the tight embrace of a new friend can lift an enormous weight of anxiety off the shoulders. I am aware, through continuous reminders, that God is good, that he is all around us and that something will be learned of new challenges to the body. Another new awareness to come…to make us stronger and able to lift up others not yet diagnosed..or even aware.