Since Atlantis made her final journey home two weeks ago, I have been thinking a lot about my dream. You know, that astronaut one?
It's so hard to put into words exactly how I feel, and I'm certain anyone reading this will probably think I am a nut case for being so upset. The truth is, I am completely heart broken.
As I continue reaching for that decades-old dream, I am being confronted with more and more setbacks, mostly related to that pesky little bugger, Diabetes. And as I try to leap forward, all I feel is pushed back, unwanted, labeled, "diseased".
And sometimes, that word "diseased" is so absolutely hard to stomach.
It wasn't my fault, I did nothing to cause my pancreas to spontaneously shut down.
All I did was have a dream, and work hard towards a path where achieving it might be possible.
But as I become more of an adult and less of a naive grade school, high school and college student, the stigma of having Diabetes slaps me in the face on a weekly basis. I have to plan time off work to get the specialized care required, I am constantly on the phone with my insurance company negotiating prescriptions, pizza and beer require a full day of insulin corrections to get back to normal, and there is nothing "routine" about "routine exercise". I am constantly chasing the D-monster, more reacting than acting. And every time my blood sugar isn't perfect, the only person I have to blame is me. Kinda depressing, huh? Beyond all that, it is sickening to prove I am capable of driving a car every two years, and the mountains of paperwork required to do my job and fly in the back of a helicopter is, at times, completely overwhelming.
Will any of this ever be worth it?
Past working hard and trying to turn a blind eye to the almost inevitable reality, all I can do is hope. In the end, hope will probably not be enough to earn me a slot aboard America's next great spacecraft...and the reality of that is, like I said, heart breaking.
And while I wouldn't wish this terrible disease on anyone, I sometimes catch myself wondering why it had to choose me...why not someone whose job did not depend on their health, someone stronger than me? How could one day of a diagnosis take away your freedom and your life's dream while requiring shots and finger sticks multiple times a day? It's not fair.