Today is a day I’ve been looking forward to for a number of months. On this day, fifteen years ago, I was lying in a bed in the emergency ward of a Balinese hospital in a desperate state when a doctor whispered in my ear “We think you might have diabetes” (read the full story here) A lot has happened since then. Somewhere in the vicinity of 13,000 needles, 25,000 finger pricks, and 1,000 infusion set changes for my insulin pump. But my life is much more than numbers, needles and insulin. Type 1 Diabetes is a diagnosis but it does not define who I am.
For many years I lived under the shadow of that diagnosis; gripped by the fear of hypos/hypers and long-term complications. It all became a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. One day I came to the realisation that all of that was just an excuse. I made a decision there an then that I would no longer let that happen. So that night I set my alarm and the next day I went for a run. Well… sort of. It was more a combination of run… walk… and “Dear God! Take me NOW!” Even so, the next day I got up and did it again, and again, and again. Pretty soon the prayers changed, the walking decreased, and I became a “runner”.
Of course, running doesn’t define who I am either, but it does symbolise for me something that’s very important to me. A doctor said to me early on that I would die of old age not from complications associated with Type 1 Diabetes. I hope he is proved to be right. But I hope for much more than that. I don’t just want to die at an old age. I want to live, and I want to live now. So, today is a John 10:10 day for me – “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Today is about thriving, not just surviving.
In just over two weeks’ time I’ll be running my third marathon. It’s a celebration of all that’s happened over the last 15 years and in a sense it will be a kind of metaphor of my life. I’m using this marathon as another opportunity to raise funds for JDRF because of the fantastic work they do; searching for better treatment options and, ultimately, a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. If you can help in any way I’d really appreciate it. Click here to go to my fundraising page.
Today I celebrate living, and living life to the full. I thank God for the gift of life in all its fullness, given freely to me through Jesus Christ my Lord. I thank him that he continues to prove that when I am weak, he is strong, and the thorn in my side continues to be an opportunity for his grace to shine through.
So here’s to 15 more years of thriving, not just surviving.