Tuesday, March 12, 2013

On Courage

Tonight I said it. "I don't wanna be diabetic anymore." I was putting in a new pump set. I chose a site, cleaned it off, lined up my Inset 30, pressed the circles, and SNAP. In the needle went. Something went wrong. Pain ignited across the entire left side of my belly. I yanked out the set. Tears spilled down my face. As I mopped up the blood I knew two things.

1.) I still had to put in a new pump set.
2.) I didn't want to try again.

That hurt. It really hurt. It still hurts as I am sitting here typing. Normally my set changes are routine and relatively painless. Not this time. My side is still burning.

While my pump finished rewinding I cleaned off a new spot. My hands trembled as I lined up my Inset 30 again. The last thing I wanted to do was stick that long needle in my skin again. I wanted the diabetes fairy to come down and fix it. But, there was only me. I always want to find my courage first, and then do something difficult. Courage doesn't work like that for me. Courage comes while my heart is beating fast and my hands are shaking. It comes while I'm blinking tears. It comes while I am still afraid, but doing the right thing nonetheless.

Just like before, I pressed the little circles and the Inset 30 went SNAP! Only this time it went in smoothly. I got my new set in place just like normal. XPU is filled with insulin and everything is working as it should. I always change my set on Monday because in about an hour I'll take my weekly MG meds. Every Monday night I take a chemotherapy drug to slow down my immune system so MG doesn't get too aggressive. Every Tuesday I feel poisoned. Exhausted, dizzy, nauseated, weak, feverish and just plain sick. I've done this over 300 times. You would think it wouldn't scare me any more. I know what to expect. I know what is going to happen. Yes, I do know. That is why I am always afraid to take these pills.

I don't find my courage while I count the pills out and put them in a paper cup. I don't find my courage while I get the water ready. I wish I could save courage up like money in a bank, but it never works that way. It's not there before I need it. I find courage in taking the right actions even when I am afraid.

The pain in my side is fading. Just in time to take my pills. Sometimes the things I do to survive hurt. Small hurts like finger sticks. Big hurts like surgeries. I am tired of hurting. It takes courage to admit that. It also takes courage to keep on going anyway. Tonight I am reminded that pain is as much a part of life as joy. I'm not a brave person. I'm a coward without options. But, I can still see the bigger picture. Pain is a bridge I cross that allows me to have a life that is worth living. Without insulin to keep my blood glucose in check, without chemotherapy keeping MG quiet, I couldn't survive.

When I need to cross those painful bridges, courage meets me in the middle. She reminds me of the other times when I was afraid, and did the right things anyway. She reminds me I'm capable of doing what I have to do. Past Marie did not fight so hard to survive just so Current Marie could wimp out and quit. Courage reminds me to honor my past and take heart. She also reminds me to dream about my future. Now there is pain, but it is not endless. It connects me to a place where there is laughter, and friendship, hope, and peace.


  1. I love you, Marie.

    You are such a gift to this world, through your beautiful writing and bearing of scary stories, and so much more.

    Thank you for having the courage to do it all, and even more for having the courage to share it all.

    1. Thank you, Scott. I'm on the couch, having spent the whole day in bed. I'm sick as all hell from the medicine. But, at least I am not sick and alone. Thanks for being here with me friend. It matters.



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