I've shared a rough of the the introduction to Dear Warriors. Now, I'd like to share a possible ending. Please leave comments if you have a response, suggestion or question! Deadline for art submissions is July 31! I'd love to see your work!
Artist: Abby, 28
Age at diagnosis: 22
“I traveled across the country by myself for a week. That was pretty scary as I didn’t have my husband with me as a safety net. But my passion is travel and I did it!.”
“But when you do things like this, you should always aim to beat others by doing one more. It’s important to have that mindset.”
- South Korean Olympic speed skating gold medal winner, Lee Seung-Hoon, on SBS’s Master in the House
I’ve covered hockey twice, now I’m moving on to speed skating. I was shocked by the shape of Lee Seung-Hoon’s feet when he showed them to the hosts on this show. Years of workouts had caused his body to protect itself in a spectacular fashion. He explained how he had pushed himself from elementary school age, resulting in the callouses and him experiencing such exhaustion, he truly felt he couldn’t take another step. However, he practiced a mindset of “just one more”, and that led him to eventually winning gold.
Pushing ourselves. Just one more. We Diabetic Warriors know of this.
I was struck as much with Abby’s life story on her photography blog, photograbetic.wordpress.com, and the background she gave me on this shot, as I was the atmosphere she created in this photo. Her composition is a serene and soft one of San Francisco. Our view is clouded by both fog and subject. Abby is standing tall, looking outward at a half-seen expanse, and our focus is drawn to her, realizing that she is flying off to amazing places like the tattoo that adorns her body. She’s pushing her boundaries and exploring the world, using her body, passions, grit, family support and the tools of a Diabetic Warrior. Is everything picture-perfect and well defined for her? No. But all of it make up who Abby really is. This is the body, mind, spirit and tools acting as one.
We are behind Abby. We are also Abby ourselves- in our own ways. There’s a laundry list of dreams we Diabetic Warriors have and chasms we must cross. It’s a long race. We, like the speed skaters, go around and around and around, over and over again. It can be mayhem. However, we also have quiet moments, like this one captured by Abby, where we can contemplate our journey- our race- past, present and future.
I believe I’ve covered quite a few of these struggles within these pages. I hope I’ve also highlighted some goodness, skills, and light that we, as Diabetic Warriors, can share and practice with fellow Warriors of all types. Abby looks alone. She is not. Fellow Warriors stand tall with her.
How do I know this? I live this truth. I had a ton of help in getting this book finished, for which I want to express my gratitude. First, to all the artists and their families. You have come to me when I’ve needed you and in amazing ways. Next, to early readers and editors, including my neighbors and friends, Marlene Oswald (the keystone to Dear Teachers), Amy Manns and Dr. Kathy Phelan. Special thanks to Audrey Farley, Editor of InsulinNation, to the folks at BeyondType1 and the members of the Facebook group, The Diabetic Journey. When I reached out for ideas to improve this book’s message, you all went out of your way to offer advice and assistance.
I thank you for reading. I thank you for expressing yourself on these pages. I thank everyone who has challenged my perspective and understandings. I thank everyone who has distracted me from my pains and put a smile on my face by telling me their own stories. I thank everyone who has shown me that I’m not alone. I hope we can keep the sharing going on my blog, other social media and in person.
Writing this book has not cleared away my inner demons, but it has given me some clarity and patience. In myself and in others. It’s revealed some truths I hadn’t faced but needed to sit with and which I must still work with. Over time.
That’s the key. With time, almost anything is possible. Time gives us opportunity. To try.
Just one more.