Wellness is not the same thing as health

I used to dream of a cure. I used to believe this was all temporary and medical science would find a cure. I dreamed of a life without chronic illness and imagined all the things I could do: ride my bike, go swimming, go for a long hike. I don’t do that anymore. I no longer wait for a cure. I want to live my life in peace and joy, with or without a cure. I tell myself this all the time. It's true. All is well inside, and that matters to me.

Even so, a cure would be nice.

When it comes to diabetes, I have reasons for hope. The artificial pancreas blows my mind. A device in my pocket that regulates my blood sugar without constant input, would be amazing. Will be amazing. Thank science for this. It’s giving me the giggles to imagine eating a bowl of cereal and not having blood sugar above 300.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not sugar that causes high blood glucose, but carbohydrates. I can eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, bolus for 26 grams of carbs, watch my blood sugar crest at 156 and come back down. A bowl of granola shoots my blood sugar sky high. I want granola. I love the stuff. Crunchy oats, cinnamon and raisins… Oh, I want some. But, it’s not worth the pain. The artificial pancreas will let me eat granola just like everyone else. It’s not available yet, but one day, this device will change my life. Things will be so much better.


Muscular dystrophy will remain.

Diabetes affects millions. Less than 40,000 people in the entire world have my form of muscular dystrophy. It’s rare. It’s so rare that no one cares. A cure is not coming. Better treatments are not coming. Why invest millions of dollars on a medication to help so few? I hold out no hope for a cure. Instead I put my hope in my ability to deal with it. Because I can deal with it.

 I put my hope in my ability to adapt. I have a wheelchair, a powerchair, a walker, and a cane depending on what sort of day I am having. I know how to deal with weak leg muscles, weak arm muscles, difficulty chewing and swallowing. I know how to live with this. I don’t need it to go away before I can be happy. I don’t need a cure, because I’m already well.

Wellness is not the same thing as health. I don’t have health. I haven’t had health for years. I do have emotional balance, a pragmatic outlook, and the ability to enjoy life the way it is. My secular life makes that possible. I don’t hope for the impossible. Instead I look for hope where it can be found. I put my hope in the love of my family and friends. I put my hope in my love for writing. I find hope in the natural world. I don’t need a cure to have hope, or joy, or peace. I have those things right now. No wonder I am well.

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