I don’t know if now is the best time to be posting about this since for some reason I am feeling very down. But as I thought about passing on the idea, I thought that maybe writing something after the fact, wouldn’t have the same meaning. So here I am.
29 years ago today, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Some freaking Christmas present huh? The first thing I think is wow, I feel old. I’ve had diabetes longer than most of my analysts at work have been alive. I’ve had diabetes longer than a lot of people have been alive. Wow. I know there are many people around who have had it longer than I. But 29 years is nothing to sneeze at. Thinking back on the day doesn’t bring back memories of any kind since I can’t really remember. But I do know the story thanks to my parents.
It was Christmas eve and my family had started arriving at our house for the holiday. I was constantly drinking and peeing. Since my father was a type 1 himself, he recognized the symptoms right away. This was before blood glucose monitoring was available to patients at home, so my parents tested my glucose level with a urine strip. And it was dark. They called my father’s endocrinologist and were told to bring me to the emergency room. Which they did, having to leave my poor twin sister with relatives. When the hospital was informed of a 5 year old with high blood sugar coming in, they expected a very sickly child. Instead I was walked in holding my father’s hand. If I remember the story correctly, my actual blood glucose once at the hospital was high 300’s so there was no doubt diabetes was what I had. But it was nowhere near as high as it could have been, if it had gone undiagnosed for a long period of time. Long story short, I was admitted for about a week then transferred to a different hospital where the pediatric endo my parents wanted me to see practiced. Again I don’t remember any of this but I can only imagine what my parents and sister went through.
Overall I am doing good all these years later. I’ve had some minor issues that could be related to diabetes (but not proven). And I find the longer I am living with it, the more it is weighing on me. I think what bothers me the most about “celebrating” so many years with diabetes is the unknown future. I know of all the things that could happen. And that truly scares me to death. So I do what I have to do and try not to think about those things. What I have in my favor are all the advancements that have been made in the treatment. I used to take just 1-2 injections of insulin a day. And tested my blood sugar only 1-2 times a day. These days, I have a continuous delivery of insulin via an insulin pump which acts more like a real, working pancreas. And not only do I test my blood sugar 8-12 times a day but I also have a sensor under my skin which feeds glucose level readings about every 5 minutes from my interstitial fluid. Now that is advancement! I know there are organizations working on finding a cure for diabetes. And not to sound pessimistic, but I don’t feel that I’ll ever see that day in my lifetime. My father and I were told probably not long after I was diagnosed that a cure was 10 years away. Well here it is 19 years after that and still no cure. But I am still grateful for their hard work.
As much of a thorn as diabetes is in my Christmas eve, I do have a lot to be thankful for. I hope that I will have many more Christmas eves to reflect on years past. I know some of my D friends don’t know the exact date of their diagnosis. I unfortunately, can never forget.
***I wish all my friends and their families a very happy holiday. And best wishes for a healthy, happy 2011 for everyone***