My Resurrected Pancreas – by Daisy Shaw


It becomes quite depressing if you think about it long and hard enough. Your pancreas is inactive, dormant, dead, or however else you prefer to phrase it. What it all boils down to is the dismal fact that there’s an organ inside of you that does not work.

I used to think of my pancreas as a ‘wormy thing’ that lay in my body, too lazy to do its job or fulfil its function. So exceedingly lazy, in fact, that it had fallen asleep 14 years ago and had refused to wake up since. Whatever my parents say about my lie-ins, they simply do not compare to that of my pancreas!

Because I was so young when I was diagnosed, it wasn’t until my early teenage years that I really began to grieve for it. It was around this time that I lost control of my diabetes as I began to feel an untiring need to be ‘normal’. I suppose it’s in such circumstances that it’s easy to plummet into a victim mentality. ‘Why me?‘, ‘It’s not fair!’ and so forth.

I drew this picture (with good old, trusty crayons!) to try and convey what it felt like I was being told at diagnosis and for the years that followed. The Diabetes Police.

"Sorry ma'am, but we've got bad news... your pancreas is DEAD"

As you can probably imagine, it was to my great surprise and delight when I discovered that my pancreas is not dead! Well, not entirely anyway.

I was informed of this fact when I was on the DAFNE course a couple of weeks back (which, by the way, is amazing! You can read about me singing its praises here). My diabetes nurse asked the DAFNE group to raise our hands if we thought our pancreas was still working. Not one diabetic in that room even lifted a finger.

It was then that she explained how, although the part which is supposed to produce insulin is not working (the islets of Langerhans), the pancreas is still able to fulfil its other functions such as helping the digestive system.

It was as though my pancreas had been resurrected. Hallelujah! For 14 years I had felt like I had completely lost a part of me and had cursed it for its idleness. It was nice to know that, although it isn’t in any way perfect, my pancreas is working.

So now, instead of thinking of my pancreas as being dead, I will imagine it as being partly disabled.

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