When I was four, I had super powers. I eyed hapless buildings from the back seat of my grandmother’s 1972 pea-green station wagon and thought, “I could crush that.” Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot, Ultraman, Speed Racer and me — we were indestructible. But I exercised restraint, because people get pretty mad when you wreck their buildings, and even with super powers, it is no fun getting spanked and sent to your room.
I never really grew out of those feelings of invulnerability. I had to face them head on, for the second time, last week with my diagnosis of diabetes.
The first time involved a panic disorder, addiction to Xanax and a grand mal seizure after sudden withdrawal. I felt as though I had nearly died, because I easily could have, and I had lost control of my body, my consciousness. There is nothing like a seizure to cure a panic disorder, and there is nothing like a brush with death to change your outlook on life. Since then, I have lived by the Law of the Truck: consider that one day you might step off a curb and turn to see a truck barreling down on you: Whatever you would regret, change it now.
Last week’s reminder of my mortal nature was much less dramatic, since complications with diabetes take years or even decades to play out, but it was actually good in that it forced me to realize that taking care of my body is now no longer optional. A relatively healthy life is not something to take for granted.
I am happy to say that after just a week of regulating my blood sugar, I look five years younger and feel better than I have in recent memory. I’m ok with the fact that I can’t leap that tall building in a single bound any more. I’m content just to see the orange glow of the evening sun reflected in its windows.