My coping method when dealing with Type 1 Diabetes.
February 19, 2019
The Flight of Freedom
The two blades turned slowly, "tik, tik, tik," then suddenly into a single circle of motion. I fixed my ear muffs and adjusted the speaker. "Testing, 1. 2. 3." Once my dad and I could hear each other, we proceeded towards the runway. Pushing the throttle all the way towards the ground, we would soon be on the runway going 60 miles per hour. Take off is intimidating, to say the least. Are we going fast enough? Will we veer to the right? Will we veer to the left? And how do we even get this plane off the ground? I take a deep breath and we are airborne. Looking around, I experience a rush of euphoria that makes me feel invincible and free.
The coast is clear as we ascend towards the sky. A sense of freedom runs through my body right up to my cheeks, turning them a bright pink. The plane is a bright yellow, "bumble bee" we would call it. From far below it looked like one buzzing around the sky. No, I won't use the typical reference of flying in relation to a bird. But I will relate flying a plane to the freedom a bird, or even a bumble bee, has to fly from place to place. Many people have their own outlets to freedom, perhaps a sport or a hobby. If I were younger, I would probably say horseback riding yields my sense of freedom. No matter how much I still love to horseback ride, I am capable of expanding my horizons in an airplane. Some might even call me biased since I grew up flying with my dad.
I stare out my window down below. We are now thousands of feet above ground. The cars have turned into ants, and the tops of the mountains are at eye level. It's quiet up here. I can hear myself think. This is my time to look down on the world from up above and realize any worry or stress that is pressing down on me is temporary and minuscule compared to the vastness of the world below me. Flying gives me the capability of traveling to any destination I desire. It reminds me that I do have freedom and power. Flying is daring, eye-opening, and adventurous. The weight of the world floats off my shoulders here.
Flying benefits people in many ways. Flying provides a fast means of traveling, it serves people as a getaway, an escape from reality. High above the world is my escape, where I feel capable of anything I set my mind to. From up above the world is small and all my problems and worries slowly seem to fade away like the houses that shrink smaller and smaller.
Sadly, not everyone can say they have freedom. Freedom is a rough and dusty road that needs help, like taking off in an airplane. An airplane adjusts its controls, making sure it's ready to grasp the wind, as do people in their lives. Type 1 Diabetes is my choppy wind. I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 14, right after my birthday. What a surprise birthday present that was. I do not feel free having this disease. For nearly five years I have been tied down by needles, insulin shots, finger pokes, high and low blood sugar.
Growing up with Type 1 hasn't been a smooth takeoff. While other kids were enjoying their lunch breaks with their friends, I would be paying a visit to the school nurse. She soon became my new lunch buddy. Middle schoolers aren't the nicest sorts of people. I would often be told, "I would offer you this, but you can't eat it" or "Is it contagious" and, of course, the classic, "Oh, my grandma has that!" Yes, I know your grandma has it. However, that's a different type of diabetes. Often, I would be so fed up with people's misconceptions I would simply nod and say, "Mhm."
Down on the ground, life is hectic. Since the age of 14, I have had the responsibility of a full-time job. Essentially, I have had to become my own pancreas. Yes, there are devices to assist the work. Such as my insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. Both of which make me look like a kickass cyborg. Then I get the typical comments asking what is attached to my body and what those weird tubes are poking out of my pocket. All those trying to help me shove cures down my throat like there's no tomorrow. "Don't eat any carbs and you will get rid of it." or "Try this new transplant! They just tested mice with it."
My close friends and family act as if there's a cure right around the corner, and I would love to believe there is. However, after being told day after day, I find it a little exhausting. This is where flying comes into play. Once I sit behind the wheel of the airplane and grasp the controls, it's as if I'm taking control of the disease. Here, I don't have to listen to anyone else's instructions about diabetes but my own. Up here, I have a more important job than diabetes: making sure I don't fall out of the sky. There is no constant voice in my ear or eyes glaring at my device, and there are no questions being asked about my health. I am solely listening to the humming of the engine, feeling a slight breeze through the crack of the window, and admiring my surroundings.
There is bound to be turbulence from one flight to another. Just as there's turbulence in people's lives, in my case Type 1 Diabetes. Without wings to carry me from one destination to the next, I would be lost. I would be stuck in one place, not knowing how to cope with my disease. However, no matter the condition or disease, turbulence can't stop us from flying. Flying is my definition of freedom. With every flight, I clear my mind and grasp the wind. The airplane takes me far away from Type 1 Diabetes.