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Re: [IP] Life's Fairness and Standing In Line

This was not only eloquent, but inspirational.  If only the rest of the
world could be so humble............
----- Original Message -----
From: "Chance Fisher" <email @ redacted>
To: <email @ redacted>
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2003 5:29 PM
Subject: [IP] Life's Fairness and Standing In Line

> Dear List Members,
> I rarely pipe in with opinions on this list because we each have different
> views on such topics.  I read the debate about privileges, especially
> getting forwarded to the beginning of the line in certain situations.
> It is a shame that a lot of us as individuals with diabetes, feel that we
> have superior rights than any other person.  We do not.  We have the SAME
> rights as others....be glad and proud of this fact because many before us
> and still today have fought very hard for such rights.
> I was diagnosed in 1982 at the age of five. At that time they told my
> parents to "make the best" of it and that they "shouldn't expect a lot
> me because of the physical ramifications of the disease.
> When I registered for high school, I was told that the school district
> be happy to send a home tutor to my house so that I wouldn't become
> uncomfortable around the "regular" students in means of testing and being
> "attached" to a medical device.  I said NO, that I was as "regular" as the
> rest of the students.  Not only did I attend high school, I graduated in
> and a half years by proficiency out of several classes due to exceptional
> academic study. I was the valedictorian of my high school class.  After
> graduation, many people, including family members asked if I was going to
> just work "a little bit" or take full disability all together.  I said NO.
> I was granted three full scholarships and I was damn well going to use
>   I graduated three years later with high honors with TWO Bachelors
> degrees...one in Animal Science and another in Reproductive Biology from a
> excellent university.
> Two months after graduating, I packed my belongings and flew to Milan,
> to start as a freshman in the University of Milan School of Veterinary
> Medicine.  I graduated four years later with honors and also a Masters
> degree in Reproductive Endocrinology and Biotechnology.  I was again, at
> top of my class and presented with the privilege of speaking at our
> graduation ceremony.  Two days before the ceremony I fractured my
> bone in my right ankle (also known as Charcot Joint in people with
> diabetes).  I was due for surgery but begged the physicians to at least
> allow me to participate in graduation.  They agreed.
> Upon the line up for the ceremony, the dean of the Veterinary school
> and congratulated me for my accomplishments.  Not because I was a woman or
> an American, not because I have diabetes, not because I had some slight
> complications and not because I was color blind or had a current injury.
> escort for the ceremony stopped and asked if I wanted to be seated first
> the beginning of the ceremony.  I said NO, that I was privileged to stand
> the line with all the other soon to be veterinarians in alphabetical
> The dean turned around from a conversation he was having with the
> of the university and smiled.  He walked over and said "And still you
>   I had not the slightest as what he meant.  After I graduated I hobbled
> after the dean and asked him what he meant by his comment.  He said "Are
> familiar with Maya Angelou's poem 'Still I Rise'?  I nodded in agreement
> that I did.  He then said "As a student you were exceptional, but as an
> individual faced with challenges that some people would wither to, curl up
> and die in defeat, or take advantage of the disease and use it as an
> not to prevail, you rose above the disease and and demanded acceptance.
> as a person you are extraordinary."
> Today, I am a proud veterinarian that has a large animal practice
> specializing in Reproductive Medicine.  I also am an adjunct professor at
> veterinary school.  I am "lucky" to have been given the opportunity to
> smack dab in the middle of the line in many avenues of my life.
> I read the poem "Still I Rise" the other day and finally after a few years
> since my graduation, I understand what he meant.
> We as people with diabetes are NOT entitled to anything but what every
> individual in this country is entitled to.  Having diabetes is not an
> instant claim to privileges.  Each one of us should be proud and lucky to
> among the "regular" population, to be accepted in the work force, to be
> validated as worthy individuals who CAN have a family, who CAN hold down
> gainful avenues in life and who CAN hold their own and NOT let this damn
> disease characterize us as weak.  Be PROUD to stand in the line and NOT be
> treated as different and rushed to the front of the line.  Be PROUD to be
> treated as an individual, not a helpless person with diabetes that needs
> constant pampering.
> I have had diabetes for 22 years, pumping for 20 years.  I have had all
> ups and downs that anyone with diabetes has endured.  Testing, watching
> dietary intake, exercising and monitoring insulin does NOT afford you a
> lifetime pass.  For each one of us that thinks life has been unduly unfair
> to us, remember that life is NOT fair, every one has a burden to bear.  As
> my father used to say "No one dies a virgin....Life screws us all."
> Life is not fair to some extent to all of us.  But I am lucky and grateful
> that in life's unfairness, I can actually be treated as just another
> somebody.  Not special because I have a disease. I'm special because I
> an exceptional prowess at hockey and bocce ball.  Special because as a
> veterinarian I will go beyond the call of duty without taking expense and
> time in consideration when I care for someone's pet that may not have
> received that care due to the financial state of it's owner.  I am special
> because I feel loved.
> There are cases when individuals need to be taken to the front of the line
> or afforded certain accommodations, that we can not question this at all.
> But be glad that most of us as individuals with this disease can stand in
> line.  Remember those that cannot.
> So, as some of the people with diabetes may rush to the front of the line,
> will smile and say no thank you, I would like to stand here with the
> others...and Still I Will Rise.
> Chance
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