We all have at least one song that really gets us going. A song that comes on and gets you so pumped, so motivated, to just… GO! For me, that song is “I Can’t Stop” by Flux Pavilion. I listen to that song when I’m working out, as my “pump-me-up” jam in the morning, and, my personal favorite, when I’m in my car with the windows rolled all the way down. (Side note: My iTunes is currently on shuffle and “I Can’t Stop” just came on. Must be a sign!)
The reason I love that song so much is because no matter how many times I listen to it, it makes me feel something. When I’m on the treadmill and I think I’m going to pass out, I put that song on and a sudden rush of energy seemingly comes out of nowhere. At one point, I actually started using it as my morning alarm, but not only would it wake me up, it would give me a mini heart attack because of how loud and quick the tempo was. I decided to use a more mellow song for my alarm, and save “I Can’t Stop” for when I’m actually functioning and getting myself dressed and ready. This song is like my personal secret weapon against the world. When I need that extra boost, it’s always there for me to access.
I use the same mentality when it comes to diabetes. I can’t stop. (Literally.) But when I’m running out of gas to fuel my motivation, I have so many people who get me going. A recent week in particular was filled with so many examples of people who just don’t stop. People who not only keep on going, but who stay on top of their diabetes control 24/7. People who have the added pressure of being looked up to by the entire Type 1 community. Not only are they caring for themselves and their own well-being, they’re setting an example for those around them. They’re inspiring young people like me to make the best of this situation.
The week of inspiration started in Ohio. I’ve said it before a million times, and I’ll keep saying it: Through Children with Diabetes (CWD), my family has found our second family, and for the first time we celebrated a “CWD wedding.” Our dear friend Marissa — the inspiration behind Children with Diabetes — was getting married. After her diagnosis, her father, Jeff Hitchcock, set out to find a way to connect with others living with Type 1, and from his efforts a beautiful community has been born.
Seeing Marissa absolutely glowing at her wedding weekend was so beautiful and profound. To some it’s not that big a deal in relation to Type 1. She was just getting married, right? Not quite; not to me at least. Being 18, I haven’t really thought about marriage, but it’s a huge thing being able to marry someone without Type 1 and trusting them to care for you in the same way that your parents do as you grow up. I think it’s easy to take that kind of love and care from our parents for granted. Sometime we even wish it away.
However, seeing Marissa and Adam together and seeing the genuine love shared between the two of them was so unbelievably powerful. I know that some of the readers of my blog are a bit skeptical when I say I’m more grateful than resentful for all that diabetes has brought in my life. I’m not unaware of the potential complications that can arise from Type 1. Trust me, I get it. But all I can say back is, well, what can I do about it? Why be upset and resentful over something I had no control over? There were no precautions that could have prevented this. My parents didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t do anything wrong, no one did. It. Just. Happened. Not only did this thing just happen, a million and one blessings accompanied it.
A blessing within a blessing came up the day of the wedding itself. My mom and I walked into the hotel where we were staying, only to find quite a few of our conference friends crowded around the TV in the lobby watching the Indy 500. Charlie Kimball, now a regular at Friends for Life conferences, was racing, and at that moment was in fifth or sixth place. There were only about 20 laps left when my mom and I started watching, but let me tell you, it was one of the most intense sporting events I’ve ever watched.
I love Charlie, but I have to be honest, I’m not exactly a car-racing fan. I have no idea what the strategies are and really have no appreciation for how difficult it must be, but watching him zip around the track in the bright orange Novo sponsored car was incredible! It wasn’t just the sense of “Oh hey, I know that guy!” It was much more. Seeing someone with Type 1 diabetes racing in the Indy 500 and finishing in the top 10 was so massively moving. Charlie wasn’t some obscure car in the mix finishing at the end. He finished so close to the top. He was one of the cars people had their eye on.
Maryam with Phil Southerland.
There’s something inexplicable about seeing someone accomplish something so great and knowing that they have Type 1 diabetes as well. I’m long past the mentality that diabetes can stop me from anything, but nonetheless, it’s a daily challenge, and at least understanding that aspect of it made the entire race so special. Charlie ended up finishing in eighth place. Like I said, I don’t know much about car racing, but I had an inkling that finishing anywhere in the top 10 was a huge deal. I will never forget sitting in the lobby of the hotel gasping, cheering, and clapping for Charlie throughout the entire end of that race. It was a special moment that I shared with some of the people I care most about.
After the race was over, my family got ready and headed over the wedding. It was such a beautiful event from beginning to end. There were so many of our close friends from the CWD conference, and if you’ve ever been to a conference, you know that us CWDers are notorious for our moves on the dance floor. As soon as the music starts, we just can’t stop dancing! The wedding was filled with so much love and joy. One of the best parts was catching the bouquet. (Some people accused me of having an advantage because of my absurdly high heels… I think they’re just jealous they don’t have a reach like mine.)
Maryam with Joe Eldridge.
Once the wedding weekend was over and we headed back home, I was on such a high. I had experienced so much positivity and love that I was completely reenergized to get back on my top diabetes control. That weekend I saw a tweet from the one and only Phil Southerland (maybe you read my post about him) saying that he was at a race in Philly with Team Type 1. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know about if before!
After shooting Phil a text and giving my dad a call, I was on the road to Philly before I knew it. Though we missed the race itself, I did get to see the awards being given out. I had NO idea until I got there that racers from Team Type 1 came in first, second, and fourth place! It was incredible to see so many members of Team Type 1 up on the podium being awarded for their victory. After waving at Phil and walking around to the back, I bumped into Joe Eldridge — who some of you should know from when he blogged on this very site! (He joked that I actually stole his job… Sorry, Joe!)
Members of Team Type 1 on the podium in Philadelphia.
In all, going to that race and seeing how well Team Type 1 did was the cherry on top of a cherry on top of the most epic ice cream sundae. I was so blown away when reminded of all the amazing people I’ve come to know through this journey. These people are so looked up to, yet for me most of them are only a call or a text away. It was humbling and a reality check. I have my own personal challenges day to day, but seeing the things these people have accomplished all while being examples for those around me again truly humbled me.
I’m so grateful and never forget to count my blessings. From here on out, my goal is to try keeping myself on a constant positive rather than letting myself crash and then pick myself up when inspired. Basically, I have to keep up with the “I Can’t Stop” Flux Pavilion mentality.
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Maryam Elarbi: Maryam Elarbi is an 18-year-old freshman in college who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 10. Eight months after her diagnosis, Maryam’s family began attending the “Children With Diabetes” conferences, which changed their entire view on Type 1 and how to cope with it. Over the past eight years, Maryam has been actively involved in advocating for people with Type 1 through these conferences, as well as fund-raising for diabetes research through JDRF’s annual “Walk to Cure Diabetes.” In her spare time, Maryam enjoys reading (especially works by Jane Austen and Kurt Vonnegut), writing, spending time in the beautiful city of Philadelphia, and defeating her brothers in the new “Dance Central 2″ game. (Maryam Elarbi is not a medical professional.)
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