Is diabetes worth all the work? Wait ’till you hurt your foot.

Oh, no, a fractured toe!


If you’ve followed this blog for a while you know I’ve had a bunch of minor injuries over the last year or so. Ankle tendonitis, wrist tendonitis and recently a stupid fractured toe. 

Someone was handing me a bottle, I didn’t realize it, they let go of it and bam, it landed right on my toe. My foot took all the impact so when the bottle rolled off it and onto the wooden floor, it didn’t even break! 

My foot is now in this lovely surgical shoe. Truth be told, I could open a lending library of medical braces.

I’m not going to go into why all these injuries are happening. Or karma or any of that. Because frankly I don’t know. 

Some good news resulted from my injury: Days after my new footwear, I  flew to Amsterdam on a night flight and the Delta/KLM ticket agent took pity on me and upgraded me to World Business Class, KLM’s version of First Class. Yes, that was mighty nice compensation for my injury and a breath of human kindness in a world that often feels like it’s all gone. But giddy as I was playing with my reclining bed-like chair, I find something even more rewarding – that the constant care of this annoying condition (diabetes) paid off.

The afternoon I sustained my injury the pain was tolerable until going to sleep. Then it turned intolerable. I searched my medicine cabinet for a sleeping pill. But I didn’t have any. I ended up swallowing two Benadryl cold capsules hoping it would knock me out. It didn’t. The pain was that severe.

My painful sleepless night put every diabetes foot horror into my head. Will I get gangrene? Will they have to amputate my foot? How will I exercise without my foot? Maybe they’ll just take off my toe….C’mon, isn’t this in every diabetic’s head when something happens to your foot?

First thing the next morning I called my podiatrist and heard those blessed words, “Come anytime today.” My podiatrist reassured me, while I fractured a bone in my big toe, that nothing was displaced and that with an ace bandage and a special shoe it would likely knit together in eight weeks time and heal just fine.

So, I hobbled around, went to Europe, cut out my power-walks and have just come from my three-week check up. The X-rays confirm just what he said. The joint at my big toe is unharmed, the little crack or whatever it is in my toe is healing just fine. My toe’s still a little tender, which he said is normal, I’m still sporting a dull purple bruise where the greatest impact hit, and that area of skin remains a dull purple, but everything’s OK.

When I got the upgrade flying to Holland on the 10 PM flight, this sleepless soul on a night flight, was flying high before we even took off. But as great as that gift was, knowing my blood sugar is well-enough controlled that a foot injury causes me no special trouble or damage, that’s the best gift I could have.

It reminds me that when all the work of managing diabetes feels so thankless, you may just find a time when the every day slog of managing your blood sugar really is worth it – especially when the shit hits your foot. 

Now I just have to ask my psychic-witchy Aunt, who predicted when I was in my twenties that in my fifties I’d have a series of troublesome but not dire health problems, if we’re done. 

A diabetes fable


Once upon a time a scientist who was enthralled with the exotic emperor moth, (because their wings are as beautiful as butterflies), found a caterpillar ready to spin its cocoon. He gently cupped the caterpillar and took it back to his laboratory. He placed the caterpillar in a glass container and watched as the caterpillar built his cocoon. The caterpillar then fell into a deep sleep. Soon this fuzzy little crawling caterpillar would become an amazingly exotic emperor moth floating in the sky.

Some months later the day came when the moth was ready to leave the cocoon. The scientist watched anxiously as the new tiny head of the moth chewed its way into the light of the laboratory. The moth struggled and struggled to escape its cocoon seemingly getting nowhere. Its body was simply too large to fit through the tiny hole it had made. The moth finally tired and laid its small head on the shell of the cocoon where it had poked out.

The scientist felt so badly he took it upon himself to help the tiny creature. “How could I stand here for so many hours watching this beautiful moth go through such agony and pain?” he questioned. “Where is my mercy?” So he took a pair of tweezers and his scissors and began to cut away the cocoon. As soon as the cocoon was opened, the moth fell from the cocoon. But he did not fall upwards into the sky. No, he was badly deformed and fell on the floor where he died within minutes.

Soon after the scientist discovered that it was precisely the moth’s struggle to escape from the cocoon that allows him to do so. His struggle forces the fluids down into the body of the emperor moth that give it its ability to fly. Furthermore, the struggle perfectly proportions the moth as it works to free itself from the cocoon. Cutting away the cocoon, as the scientist had done in an effort to help, had actually killed the moth and interrupted its natural life-cycle.

The moral of the story: Struggle is not necessarily a bad thing and often it is what helps us grow. Sometimes when you seem to be caught in a struggle, you are actually in a germination stage, like the moth transforming into something even greater.

Food for thought: What happens if you relax into the struggle?