One thing that I love about Hugging the Cactus is that it encourages me to check out other diabetes bloggers’ content. It may be more difficult to come by these days, as most diabetes content on the Internet can be found on Instagram and TikTok, but I’ll always enjoy the written word format (and can definitely appreciate the time and energy put into a single blog post).
Plus, I’m always struck by how other diabetes bloggers are able to articulate some of the complex emotions around diabetes, in ways that I’ve struggled to do but certainly have been able to relate to.
Take, for example, Renza’s recent post about her personal battle with diabetes.
I won’t do it justice – you should really read the full post here – but in sum, Renza talks about how words that invoke battle are used widely across the diabetes community (think “warrior”, “fighter”, “army”, “challenger”, etc.). We are asked – no, demanded – to wage a war against diabetes in rhetoric all over the place, meaning that we must always fight to maintain “ideal” blood sugars, A1c, time in range, and all the other numbers associated with diabetes. But as Renza puts it, no matter what the metrics may be, diabetes remains. There’s no way to defeat it, which makes militarized language around the matter that much more infuriating and paradoxical. What a massive burden to place on the shoulders of a person living with diabetes, to ask them to fight with all their might against an enemy that can’t literally be defeated…but one that perhaps is open to a resolution of sorts.
To quote directly from Renza’s post, because she said it best:
“To be at war with diabetes is to be at war with myself. I can’t divorce myself from my diabetes – it is me and I am it. We are a tag team, a group package, a two-for-one deal. I don’t get a say in that, and no one else does either, no matter how much they implore me to fight.
It’s not a battle with diabetes that I need. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. It’s finding peace. That’s what I want to work towards – a peaceful existence that doesn’t add more burden.”Renza Scibilia
I had never thought about it that way before, but as I continued to read Renza’s post, I marveled more and more over how she was able to put into words a feeling that has gnawed at me for many years now about trying to win a never-ending war against diabetes. Why should I be so focused on winning, when it’s more so about learning to live in a peaceful coexistence with a condition that I know is here to stay (until we get that cure in 5 years, wink wink)? Why just accept that I am fighting an unrelenting fight, when in reality it will take much less of my valuable time and energy to seek harmony with diabetes?
Thank you to Renza for such an honest, insightful, and surprisingly optimistic post that challenges conventional thinking about the “fight” against diabetes.