Spending time in Europe always makes me think about LIFE... the hectic way we drive from place to place at home, versus the long communal breakfasts and peaceful afternoon coffee-and-cake sittings here. Breathlessly fumbling to lock the front door juggling purse, backpack, plastic grocery sacks and sunglasses under the flawless blue California sky, versus hearing the patter of the rain on the stained-glass windows as our familial gathering chatters and laughs over our Kaffee.
And with all that running around we do at home, do we really accomplish more? Is our life richer, or just more hectic? Much more hectic...
The thing about life, it occurred to me, is that it's like a funnel. While you're young, you're swirling around in the wide mouth of the apparatus where everything still seems possible. You are free to try out different friends, different jobs, different homes, different lovers.
As you get older, the choices you make -- no matter how good they may be -- pull you down lower into the narrow tube of the funnel, where you are ever more limited by the choices you've already made. (My explanation of Midlife Crisis?)
As I write this, I realize that I will never be a rock star, or a screen actress, or professional athlete, or even a hobby sculptress. "Those trains have departed," as they say in Germany.
What I am is a writer (now a blogger), a mother, a (happily, still-smitten) wife, a person whose life has been transformed to a large extent by her chronic disease.
In other words, this is it. This is my life.
And when I take stock, there are surely some things I would have liked to do while still in my 20s. But I have studied and worked abroad, I have traveled extensively, I have built a comfortable and frequently fun life with the man I love. I have three beautiful, fascinating children whom I absolutely adore. For these and many more reasons, I really can't complain.
As far as my chronic disease goes, I'm happy to report that certain advancements are making an enormous difference in quality of life right here and now. Last year our annual Europe trip, for example, was a diabetes disaster compared to this year. Everywhere I went I schlepped syringes and insulin pen, plus the DexCom CGM and its shower patches, the requisite OneTouch meter and test strips, and the connection cables, not to mention glucose tablets and snacks. The absolute intrusion value of this disease into my freedom of movement and enjoyment of my vacation was off the charts.
In contrast, this year I schlep only the OmniPod in a single case with its test strips and lancing device. This single, cable-free, easy-to-use device has allowed me to eat, swim, sleep, and exercise as I like -- virtually free from all the fuss and calibration that made last year such a drag. The intrusion value of my diabetes plunges. Amen.
I keep thinking: If the OmniPod in its current state can do this, just imagine what advances in mini-pumps might be coming! And of course I'd like to have constant glucose readings, in order to understand what's happening in my body at all times -- IF the benefits of wearing the gizmo finally do outweigh the cons.
Meanwhile, the OmniPod has helped push this disease, which took such a bite out of my quality of life, to the background, so that my energy and time can be spent on more pleasant things. What a gift! ... whether your life is full of freeway jaunts or afternoon teas.
[Editor's Note: This post is no ad for OmniPod, rather some honest musings on quality of life with a chronic illness, and what good technology can do to improve it.]