When I think about my pancreas, I feel sad. I want to cry for my pancreas. I have in the past. Maybe I'm melodramatic, but I imagine my pancreas a prisoner inside of my body, struggling and sighing with exhaustion. "Saaaaaave meeeeeee...!"
I wonder what it looks like these days. Was it pink and healthy in 2001, and now it's grey and war-torn? Or has it shriveled, become a ghost of its former self? Is it like those pictures of a smoker's set of lungs, next to the pristine tissue of a non-smoker?
According to a biology professor, my pancreas still makes enzymes like lipase and amylase, even though I am diabetic. (He winced a bit when I asked him. "Don't bother me, kid!") Of course I've never thought to ask an endocrinologist, but I assumed that those enzymes were secreted by different cells. So maybe my pancreas is still alive and kicking (working hard or hardly working?), still pumpin' out those enzymes . . . it's just the beta cells that I should be sad for. The loss of those extremely important little dudes, pumpin' out the amylin and the insulin. I still take an enzyme supplement just in case.
I'm not perfect. I don't always respect my body as much as I should. But I still feel sad about my pancreas.
What about my immune system. Isn't it the killer of my beta cells? An insane murderer? "Your honor, my client was unaware of the consequences of her actions. She was out of her mind, your honor." Forgive it, for it knows not what it does.
No, I can't be angry at my immune system. I feel sad when I think about it, too. I was never one to get sick. The only notable childhood illness I had was the chicken pox, and it wasn't a bad case. These days the old I.S. is still pretty darn reliable. I use and abuse it every day, and it's still tickin'. Since I've been diabetic the only problems I've had were an ongoing infection (pilonidal cyst, a tough cookie to tackle for anyone's immune system), a short-lived pink eye infection in college, a moderately crappy sinus infection, and a cold this past fall that was over in three days. Kudos to my immune system.
I feel sad because I feel like it was something I did. No, I'm not talking about the idiotic "You must've had too much sugar when you were little." I feel like it was my inability to say STOP to the Type-A side of my personality that pushed me to the breaking point in my academic career, and still wants to push me to stay in a high stress job. Why do I do this. Why is this important to me. Who the eff is going to care about this in 100 years. No one, no one. Yes, there are some things I couldn't have known, couldn't have prevented - genetic predisposition, or the fact that I had had an ongoing infection from the time I fell on my tailbone when I attempted to ski for the first time, or the reaction my body would have to the multiple vaccinations I received for entrance into university. You can't tell the medical establishment to go screw itself if you don't know if they're wrong, anyway. But I think I had a choice, and I still have a choice, when it comes to the stress and the self-degradation and the push to be important, to "add value," to Be A Success. I could tell society to go take a flying f**k at the moon so that I can just chill out and spend my time taking care of myself instead of always telling myself I've got...to...do...this...or...be...this...because...I...should...
Oh damn, how do my posts always degenerate into hippyfests? I feel like it's so unrealistic to want to step out of this whole show, like it's never gonna happen. I'm just going to keep doing it to myself. What's next, cancer?