Participants Point of View
Week 22 Participants Point of View by Lizmari Collazo (@lizmariposa)
Humor and Diabetes
It’s been a little over a year since I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and yet, finding the words to express the complicated, enmeshed feelings I have about this disease is much like a stretching exercise: painful, and yet, so very good for the “muscles” that form my drive, my motivation, and my emotional well-being. You see, I harbor a lot of resentment toward Diabetes. Diabetes has been an unwanted part of my life for much longer than my diagnosis, and certainly much longer than I would care for it to be; a despicable family foe who has taken the lives of my great grandfather, grandfather, and my father, etc. Diabetes, has more than once, brought me many tears.
You would think I would be broken; constantly filled with dread, and in a way, I am. But I have come to realize that life is much like an extreme sport: if I weren’t filled with some strong emotion, or another, I wouldn’t think I was alive… and if I stopped to dwell on those emotions, most of the time, I would not take a dive!
You see, Diabetes doesn’t want me to laugh, or have a sense of humor. It would love for me to sit at home, crying while hiding in the closet, cowering all the time about what might happen next, and never visiting with friends or family anymore, wondering how much longer my beta cells will last. Diabetes would love for me to be nothing more than a shell of a human being. But I will NOT let Diabetes make my decisions for me. I will instead laugh at Diabetes by doing all the things it doesn’t want me to do: I will have a productive life, I will eat cake, I will live a long life and have children, I will (in as much as I can) be fit, I will have pizza, I will have good control, I will attack highs relentlessly, and treat lows with compassion. Diabetes is NOT going to take away who I am, while I’m alive… and at every opportunity, every time I choose to live, I will make FUN of my Diabetes. In the mornings, when I see a good number, I will yell “Take that, bitch!,” and in the evenings, if I see a high number, I will karate the crap out of it!! “Yeah, I don’t think so, Diabetes!! Eayah!!” I will rejoice over the low carb goodness of bacon.
Humor gives us a sense of the upper hand over our circumstances, and it gives us back that sense of “control” over our lives; a sense that even though we can’t always control what happens to us, we can control how we handle what happens to us. Humor allows us to heal, and to feel human again; it allows us to be able to relate to others on a common plane, bringing them to our point of perspective, no matter where we are in our lives. I have often used humor to even educate others who may be ignorant to the challenges that we face as persons with Diabetes… especially while eating cake in front of them! When we laugh at Diabetes, we FIGHT Diabetes… We embrace our own healing, and we embrace others in our circle of life. We embrace the humanity of who we are, with an understanding that we are not unique beings under the Sun, for we all face trials and stigmas and hardships… But we ARE, indeed, unique beings who have learned to laugh. When we laugh, we teach others that it is OKAY. It is okay to face those trials, and stigmas, and hardships. It will be OKAY, for tomorrow will too, bring its own flavor, and its own love. It’s okay to hurt, and to feel burnt out, and to feel scared, and to feel anger and resentment, or even persecution… And I will poke fun at Diabetes for making me feel every one of those things.
Diabetes, I will cry with my friends… I will share in their anger, and their fear, and their joy, and in their victories… But I will NEVER, EVER… shed another tear for YOU. You do not deserve my tears… You deserve my mockery. You may have taken my pancreas but you will not take who I am.