Struggling and Juggling

Posted on September 2, 2011


Life can have it’s struggles.  I realized this when running on the beach a few mornings ago. 

It was still pretty early in the morning.  The sun was just coming up.  I felt good.  Seemed like any other day.  Until five miles into my run.  I felt sick.  Horrible might be a better word.  And I still had two miles left until reaching our hotel.  Yikes.  Do I approach a life guard?  What to do?  I had a feeling I was dehydrated.  What if I just collapsed here on the beach, in a strange city?  Well, I had ID on me and life guards were right there.  It would be okay.  It would be okay.  It would be okay. 

This had happened to me one other time during my 30 years of running.  Similar feeling.  Now, I was hot and dehydrated.  I stopped running and walked into the ocean.  Just the coolness of the water made a world of difference.  I still felt weak, but I knew I could make it back to the hotel.  And I did.  When I got back to the room I had Gatorade and then water.  My body truly needed it.  I realized that the two previous days, I had drank very little water.  We were driving across the country as part of our move, and I did not want to have to pull over every hour.  It made sense now.  I was okay and life went on.  I ran on the beach again the next morning (with a water bottle), but it got me thinking about the struggles (small, medium, and large) that we have to endure during life. 

Yes, struggles.  Struggles are not easy.  They are life tests, showing us who we are and what we are capable of doing.  They can take us to our ultimate lows and our amazing highs.  And we never know what will truly happen until we are in the midst of them. 

The struggles I have had while running usually centered around my diabetes – low blood sugars – especially during marathons.  Treating a low while running and finding the energy to keep running whether it be 5 more miles or 20 is definitely a test of many sorts.  Yet, finishing the race was always the ultimate goal regardless of any struggles.  And then triumph!   

So what about diabetes and struggles?  Does diabetes invite more struggles into my life?  To be honest, it depends on the day.  Some days, I breeze through the hours barely noticing I have diabetes.  I still test my blood sugars like a maniac, count my carbs, take my insulin, etc., but my diabetes cooperates.  We are in synch.  Things run smoothly (literally and figuratively). 

Even the “basic” (and I use that term loosely) lows and highs I would consider a mini struggle.  Keep in mind this is me.  We are all different.  And when I say “basic”, I mean the lows and highs that are not paralyzing.  I am able to function, treat them, and move on.  This is not always the case.  But it is part of having diabetes.  My life is  little different than a “non diabetics”.  Is it fun?  Of course not.  Is it a pain?  You bet it is.  But does life go on?  Yes, yes, yes.  Life does not stop for my diabetes. 

I know what you are thinking.  What about the severe lows?  Where it seems like life does stop? 

Those are the bigger struggles.  And I have been there. 

Go back to May 2009:

Waking up in the back of an ambulance with no recollection of the morning freaked me out.  I seriously thought I had been in a car accident?  Had no idea where I was (other than an ambulance) or what had transpired.  I had lost time.  That scared me. 

According to my husband, I got up, ate my usual snack, put on my running clothes and left to go for a run (my typical before work routine).  He left to go to work (I was going to the airport – travelling for work- so we were not commuting in together that day), and apparently I bottomed out hard and fast while running.  A fireman found me passed out and unconscious on the side of the street (about a mile from our house).  Thank God for that fireman.  He saved my life. 

I was going to be okay.  Weak for a good day or two.  But paralyzed.  Scared.  Afraid of it happening again.  And of someone not finding me. 

Days and nights went by where I could not sleep.  I could not shake the fear and lack of confidence.  I did not trust myself or my diabetes.  What if? 

But I had to move on.  Laying awake at night fighting sleep could only last so long.  I had to trust that either it would not happen again or if it did, then someone would help me.  I had to.  There was no choice.  My body and mind needed sleep and inner peace.  I was making myself sick with worry and lack of rest.

Looking back, it was a situation out of my control.  I had gone through fertility treatment, had a miscarriage a few days prior, and my hormones and blood sugars were running wild.  Yet, I chose to run for my sanity.  I don’t regret my decision.  It was the right decision in the moment.  And for some reason the insanely quick and hard hitting blood sugar occured. 

While it scared me and instilled some (no, a lot of) fear into me, it, also, taught me about life and myself. 

I could not give up on life and throw in the hat.  The “I am done” attitude could not persist.  No way. 

I have to be the juggler (not the struggler).  Taking back control of my diabetes and life.  Juggling is not easy either, but it is empowering.  Once you get it, you are in control.  And it can be fun. 

I dont’ want to live as a struggler day in and day out.  Heck no.  That would be a pretty sad life.  I want to be a juggler.  Taking charge.  Managing my diabetes and life.  Even after moments of supreme struggles, taking those moments and moving forward.  Gathering new found inner strength and courage.  Just doing it.  Living life to the fullest.

This is my life.  Diabetes and all.  I cannot make my diabetes disappear or change what struggles will be given to me, but I can survive the struggles and become a juggler.  Juggling takes control, strength, courage, motivation, timing, tenacity, patience, and the list goes on.  Sound familiar?  Doesn’t diabetes (and life) take the same stuff too?  It sure does.

It’s okay to experience the struggles. We don’t have a choice (most of the time).  No one’s life is gonna be bliss 100% of the time.  But the struggles make us appreciate the good times.  They make us grow.  And they make us amazing people. 

And the amazing struggler becomes an amazing juggler…..

Take care everyone!