Twenty Nine.

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***

14 thoughts on “Twenty Nine.

  1. WOW! on the 29 years. I can only imagine how the weight of the condition increases as the years and the management synergistically partner up. I too remain someone skeptical on the ellusive CURE…I have hope. Joe has hope… there is always hope.

    Merry Christmas to you!

  2. Stacey-I am very much in the same boat as you…I celebrated my 25th D-anniversary a few months ago. My diagnosis was my first memory (it was 29 days before my 4th birthday) and I have fleshed it out with the memories of my parents. I always said that my “trigger event” was the stress of my upcoming 4th birthday-maybe yours was the stress of Christmas!

    Have a wonderful holiday season!

  3. I remember that day too, all too well. I’ts hard to believe that it’s been 29 years but sometimes I can’t believe that we’re not 18 anymore. lol! I am thankful for your overall good health but those minor complications make me mad. And of course it’s been 29 years of wondering why not me?! But I think it’s because of the grace you have in dealing with most things. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again now and will always think it…you are an inspiration to people with and without the disease. I only pray with all my might that you will in fact see a cure in our lifetime. That would be the greatest gift of all! I love you!

  4. What a wonderful comment from your sister, and I agree with her completely. You’re such an inspiration. Of course I know all too well what this disease can do to us. And with all you’ve been through, you know it better than most, but the fact you’ve gone this long without major complications is both a tribute to you, and a good sign you’ll live many, many more years without them. The only way I’ve found to deal with all the uncertainty is to live day to day, and try not to think too much about what might come.

    Here’s hoping you get out of this funk quickly, and enjoy your Christmas. Happy d-versary, and happy holidays…

  5. I will say Happy Diaversary to you, because I am happy that your alive and well and I’m proud to call you my friend! Celebrate all the wonderfulness that is you and surround yourself with family and friends who will do the same!
    Continue to inspire and keep on rocking!
    Kelly K

  6. Stacey-

    Happy D-versary! I wish I would be there to celebrate with a cupcake but instead I’ll send you a virtual cupcake. *here you go*

    29 years is a long time. We have a lot in common-married in the same year and me and your d-was born in the same year. 🙂

    I hope your day gets better.

    Be Blessed

  7. I don’t know if I could say things any better than your sister and EJ. So I’ll just say, keep up the good fight with all of those your supporters behind you every step of the way.

  8. Kind of an odd thought… while it was certainly not the way anyone would want to spend Christmas, having a diagnosis made before anything more serious (aka DKA) might have occurred, and having parents with the experience to know enough to act on logic and knowledge (rather than complete panic) was probably one of the better Christmas presents you could have received. (Yeah, I turn a lot of things on their ears!)

  9. Congrats, Stacey! And I do mean that from the bottom of my heart! It isn’t easy living with the “what if’s” in life, but know that you are doing all you possibly can and be proud of that! I hear ya on the “having diabetes longer than people have been alive thing” I feel like that when I go to the woman’s group!! LOL Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and didn’t let this get you down too much. Gotta love being diagnosed on or near a holiday:) *HUGS*

  10. It is hard to forget when it’s associated with a holiday. New year’s day is when we kindof knew, yet it’s not the same as Christmas and he wasn’t officially diagnosed until days later. Hugs, Stacey. You are a great warrior. You are a kind and sincere person. You deserve to have that promise of a cure realized.

  11. I loved reading this…thank you so much for sharing that profound day. The day of my daughter’s dx has been permanently imprinted in my mind. I often ask my girl what she remembers, but it was only 3 weeks after her 2nd birthday — she tells me she remembers getting into the helicopter (severe DKA). Then, sometimes, out of nowhere she’ll say something about a movie or a toy and tell me she remembers it from the hospital. It’s crazy. Sometimes I feel sad that she’ll probably never remember a day when she didn’t have to check sugars and count carbs. In those moments, I remind myself how much she WILL remember, because INSULIN saved her life.

    I loved that sweet comment from your sister. I didn’t have a sister growing up…but now I’m raising 3. Her comment made my heart joyful and excited about the future for my 3 little girls 🙂

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