I have been non-compliant -- or non-adherent, if you so choose -- for many years. Not with every single aspect of diabetes, but overall.
Yet each of those years I faithfully attended my Endocrine and Ophthalmology appointments. I nervously gave blood and urine. I anxiously sat in front of retina scanners with dilated pupils.
I sweated and fretted with each trip, worried that the day had finally come for me to pay for my neglect in the form of protein or microaneurysms.
Miraculously I walked away with a clean bill of health each and every time. And each time I promised myself that I would right my wrongs before my luck ran out.
But I found myself sweating and fretting the week before major appointments again and again. It took me a long time to get around to righting my wrongs. But I got help and I did it. It's been about 7 months or so that I've been a WORLD more compliant with my diabetes than I have been since the days when my parents were doing my night-time checks for me. In this time, I've felt empowered. I have been feeling in control of myself and my future. Confident. Optimistic. In the clear.
I woke up to get ready for my annual retina exam feeling fantastic despite never, ever being a morning person. Protein shake in hand, I waltzed out the door and hopped into my car. The radio magically played all of my favorite songs while the sun kissed my skin. It was going to be a great day.
And then the haze came, but not from the distorting eye drops or the searing lights in the exam. My doctor rolled his chair away from the machine, looked at me and said, "You have a tiny bit of disease."
I blinked my once-perfect eyes and the tears instantly streamed down my face.
"Some small hemorrhages."
"Let's follow up in six months instead of one year."
Suddenly swimming in questions and concern. Drowning.
The irony of it all hit me fast and hard and knocked me out for the majority of the day. How cruel to finally, FINALLY feel an ounce of pride and hope for this disease and then get slapped with the news that I had expected every time but this one. I am angry at diabetes, but I am more angry at myself for hiding from it for so long.
My regret is dark, desperate and clawing. I was getting so good at looking forward, but today I cannot help but close my eyes and think sadly on the past.