A Decade of Diabetes
Do you remember what you were doing the day before the 9/11 attacks? No? Well, why would you? The next day would change everything, obliterating so much of what came before.
As it happens, however, I have very strong memories of Sept. 10, 2001: It was the day I found out that I have diabetes.
I knew my doctor was suspicious of the high blood glucose number that had shown up on an earlier lab test. I knew I had some weird symptoms. But I still didn't really expect his life-changing call. "I'm sorry," he said. "You have diabetes." To which, oddly, I responded, "Oh well, that's OK." My first instinct was to comfort my doc, telling him it was OK, as though that would make it "OK" for me, too.
He called in a prescription; I filled it. I told my husband, but no one else, yet. I did what I was told to do, but I wasn't ready to think any more about it.
And then I didn't have time to. The next morning, as I was getting ready to leave for work, a plane hit one of the towers. At the time, I was an editor at a weekly newsmagazine. I rushed into the office. My boss was watching the news on television, the second plane had hit, and it was clear that things were very, very bad.
The next few days were as surreal for me as they were for just about everyone else. It would be weeks before I began to think about my diagnosis. By then, the world had changed, and it seemed both foolish and somehow disrespectful not to pay serious attention to my health, when I was fortunate enough to be able to do something about it.
A decade later, I feel the same way. For each of us, for so many reasons, it's not just a privilege but a responsibility that we find the right balance of caring for others and caring for ourselves.