“She just doesn’t get it. I don’t think this is going to work out.”
“He’s a nice guy, but I just don’t feel the same anymore.”
There are just some things you don’t really think about until it’s staring your right in the face, or the person that you’re talking to brings it up as one of the major issues they’ve had to deal with in the diabetes world.
When I interviewed Jose Jaime, Jr. for a story on diabetes, this was one topic he brought up that I never really seemed to consider since the level of comprehension on diabetes wasn’t as advanced or progressive for me until now. He talked about relationships.
“It’s so hard to find someone who understands,” he said. Or, I thought, at least wants to understand. There are plenty of people who will give you pity; more than you can even ask for because that’s all they know how to give. There are even others who will gladly listen to what you have to say, until that certain point when you start explaining carbohydrate counting where their eyes glaze over and “uh-huhs” seem the only sentences they can muster without paying too much attention.
Now, if these are just friends and coworkers I’m talking to, can you imagine what it might be like searching for a partner who will spend enough time with you to find out how horrible this disease can treat you and maybe even marry you someday? Oh my! Having a partner understand and learn and grow with you is such a tedious process.
Talking to new people, I find myself holding back as much as I can. I leave out details. I don’t get too specific because I think, ‘Why would they want to know anyway?’ It’s not like they’re going to be there at a crucial moment to save my life. I mean, really, you never know.
Last night, I went to see 50/50. That’s one helluva movie. It’s about a 27-year-old radio producer who is diagnosed with a large malignant tumor along his spinal cord. “The more syllables, the worse it is,” says one character in the movie before they laugh it off during chemotherapy at the hospital. Throughout the movie you see Adam, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, weaken, shave his head and stay in denial until the day comes where he has to have surgery to try and remove the tumor from his body. It would be his last chance at survival. The guy goes ballistic, screaming and hitting the steering wheel in a car he doesn’t know how to drive while his drunk friend stares at him through the passenger side window.
You don’t realize what you have or what you don’t have until it’s almost taken away from you. Having a chronic illness makes you think of all the things that can happen or that inevitably will happen in your lifetime and it’s something that keeps you in denial until it actually happens. In the beginning of the movie, we see Adam with his non-winner girlfriend who decides to stay with him and take care of him even though Adam gave her an out. She ends up cheating and telling him that it was too hard to deal with. I blame her, yet I don’t. It’s not an easy thing to deal with when you don’t have to deal with the repercussions of being sick. It’s not easy to deal with taking care of someone.
I can tell you that as much as I’d love for someone to take care of me, I’m my only supporter. I’m my only savior when it comes to all this stuff. My health is my own. I’ve gone through some of the worst situations by myself, not having anyone there to hold my hand, even when I did have a boyfriend.
You don’t want to be a burden, but at the same time, you want someone who will stand by you, support your every move and understand what it is you’re doing and what you have to do. It’s hard to find.
For example, I stopped drinking. While I have the friends who try and coerce me into drinking “just one,” I have other friends who tell me to stay away from it because they know that when deciding to not drink anymore, my head was in the right place for it. Those who try and get me to sip on a beer find it easy to pressure me because they’ve seen me drink, but they’ve never seen the repercussions that it has on me.
The other question in my head that continuously comes up is, ‘What if something happens to me?’ Who will want to take care of me? Who will care that much to stand by and make sure things are all right? In the movie, Adam calls on his mother played by Anjelica Houston, who had wanted to care of him since he told her he had cancer. Like any mother, they’re supposed to be there, right? At the worst times, my mom was there. She stayed with me, made sure that I was ok; all those things that mommies are supposed to do. But you realize, that it’s only because you don’t have a significant other that your mother has to be there.
My mother would have been there, regardless, though.
The movie was a mirror in the most drastic of all situations, when your life is on the line. It brought up the question of my future, of my health, of what I was going to do when I grew up. You know, because we try to stay kids forever. I thought about the insurance issue and whether or not I'll always have it. I thought about being with someone forever and having them love me through the thick of it all. I might be able to take care of myself, but it's hard.
If you've read this blog, you'd understand something of the problems I go through, of the things I think about. I can't tell anyone how I feel without them saying, "Oh, that sucks." By the way, do you realize that when you say "that sucks" you're saying, "Sorry there's no hope for you. I'm glad I'm not in that situation." I've also had the winces; you know, those looks that say, "Oh, man, I'd hate to be in your situation." And these are just normal people.
Toward the end of the movie you see one cancer patient with his wife. They kiss and caress each other's faces. They say, "I love you," and hug each other. Sometimes that's the little bit that you need to keep going. Unfortunately, the man dies because his heart stopped, but ultimately he passed alongside someone who loved him.
The seriousness of staying together forever still exists for me. And along with all of the stupidity that I encompass with just being a human, add diabetes on top of it. The search, I think, wouldn't change much if I wasn't diabetic, but I'd have less worry. When you're looking for a partner, you always ask that question, "If something happens, will this person run away?" A lot of the time, I know the burden is mine, but the search is on for someone who will listen, hug me and tell me that I can do it, ask if they can help and support my non-alcoholic habits. We all need someone. The search is on.