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Diabetes is an Annoying Pebble in my Shoe

I’ve been working on making my type 2 diabetes more personal to me – ways in which I can ‘reprogram myself’ to be more aware of my condition, and to not conveniently try to push it aside whenever I want to make the wrong choices. I take a few tablets daily, and it would be easy for me to ignore and forget that I even have the condition until I end up feeling extremely ill. (And I hate those moments of extreme illness – for one always comes back like the prodigal son to following one’s care, until one gets burned out again.)

It’s easy to miss diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a silent disease. For years, it can go undiagnosed and with no outward or clinical signs of its presence, other than the high blood sugar. It might give us the wrong impression that we aren’t really sick, or that we might have time to spare to make the wrong choices. It is very psychologically challenging for many persons with type 2 diabetes to see the worthiness of their efforts (especially when those efforts are hard), when they might not see immediate rewards.

We must not be fooled, however. Type 2 diabetes is a very serious condition that, without proper management, can lead to many serious and devastating complications, and a major loss of quality of life up to and including death. It might be inconvenient and annoying, but we must learn to live with it, and make room for it.

Some of the ways in which we may increase awareness of our condition and our ability to manage lifestyle changes are by making habits, rituals, or having symbolical items which may help us psychologically focus or remember the goal. When we build these habits, they in turn, help rewire our brain with new pathways that make it a simple routine for us to make the right choices.

For me, type 2 diabetes can be like an annoying pebble in my shoe… that while I’m desperate to not have it, I must acknowledge it’s there.  So, one day while I was out shopping, I saw some engraved stones in a local flower shop. Most of them had the usual messages of faith, and love, except for one. This one read “health.” The stone was small enough to fit in my pocket and large enough to be inconvenient while trying to reach for other things.

The “health” stone is now my “pebble in my pocket,” and my daily reminder of my type 2 diabetes. I bought it, and keep it with me at all times. It reminds me throughout the day that I need to make room for my diabetes and strive to make the best choices. When I go to restaurants, I put my hand in my pocket and feel for it when I’m struggling making the right choice. When I’m at home, I put it on the table next to my dinner plate, and it’s a positive reminder that my health matters, and that I matter. That my life matters and that I have full control of my health. I may not have control of my past, nor may be able to control all of tomorrow… but I can control today, and do my best to avoid complications down the line.

This little token, paired with other small baby steps taken and built into habits over time, is helping me make better choices without all the psychological warfare that would usually ensue for me.  I can enjoy outings with friends, and live my life… and not feel cheated. I can accept I have to manage my health, and that my type 2 diabetes “pebble” isn’t going to go away.

When we trudge through the hard changes, and ‘just do them,’ and we build habits by virtue of just doing the things we need to do, and when we form new thought patterns and symbolisms around our routines, we can make better and longer lasting permanent choices.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.