The Big 3 0.

It was Christmas eve, 1981. God had other plans for a little 5 year old that year, other than spending time with family, opening gifts, waiting and wishing for Santa to come and leave gifts for the next morning. Instead that little girl was taken to the hospital where she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. That little girl was me. Thirty years ago today.

Now that I can say that I have lived with diabetes for a full 30 years, I can’t quite explain what an achievement that feels like. I’ve carried out my life the way I would have otherwise. Despite the fact that I’ve poked my fingers over 65,000 times. That I’ve had over 32,000 injections. That I’ve had countless low and high blood glucose readings. I am a reasonably healthy adult. For that I am extremely thankful.

So much has changed since those days of learning how to give injections to an orange. Having my parents give me my shots. Having to use urine strips to determine glucose levels. Fighting with insurance to cover a blood glucose monitor for us to use at home (a gigantic, slow, super expensive one at that!) Taking only one or two injections a day. Not counting carbs but eating a restricted diet. Testing just once or twice a day. For the past five years, I have been using an insulin pump. For the past three, I have been using a continuous glucose monitor. These two things alone are something that I never would have imagined using growing up. Having diabetes, I am so appreciative to be around in the days that these things are available. That things like the artificial pancreas are in the works. These things have helped me get to where I am today.

I wish, with all of my soul sometimes, that I didn’t have this disease. I would give anything to not have to test my BG before everything I do. Everything I eat. Every time I am active. Each time I go to sleep. And in between. Even more so, I would give anything not to have fear about losing my vision. About having nerve damage in my legs or hands. About my food not digesting properly. About the functions of my kidneys and heart. But God had other plans for me. Thirty years ago today I was diagnosed with this disease. And I will make the best of it. I will test my BG frequently each day. I will force myself to exercise even when I really don’t want to (still working on this one). I will go to a myriad of doctors to be proactive about the complications that have begun in my body. And most of all, I will fight diabetes with every ounce of my being. No matter what is in store for me after 30 years, I will not let diabetes destroy me.

14 thoughts on “The Big 3 0.

  1. Yes – celebrate how far you’ve come and how far diabetes care has come. Thinking of you on this bittersweet anniversary.

  2. Here’s to 30 years of fighting the good fight. We don’t celebrate the “D”, but we celebrate YOU! I wish you many more years conquering the busted pancreas!

  3. you truly are an inspiration, my friend! wow. i hope you have a wonderful day, despite diabetes. and diabetes better watch out- i believe you when you say you won’t let it destroy you!

  4. The big 3-0 is certainly something to celebrate!

    Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on how treatment has changed in the past 30 years. At diagnosis one of the staff said that treatment has improved so rapidly in the past 10 years and it’s only going to get better. You further enforced that for me, which gives me more hope for my daughter’s future.

    Thanks for being such a kind and positive person.

  5. Nothing like having a good cry first thing in the morning. lol! I too remember that day 30 years ago like it was yesterday. And it’s hard to believe that that much time has gone by. And I wish with all of MY soul that you did not have this disease. But I think I have said it before and I mean it, you are an awesome Diabetic. 🙂 I know things have come a long, long way and I truly believe better things are coming. And here’s to you seeing them so all of your hard work and determination will be paid off. I love you girlie!

  6. Ok, so my tweet was placed pre-blog read and pre-coffee. Opps, so sorry. All I can say is whatever God intended for you, part of it must of been to help others such as me who still strugles every day with my 15 yo daughter and her diabetes. You post are always positive and informative.
    I wish you the best and thank you for helping me and so many others. I can only hope my daughter will learn to have you outlook.
    Thank you and sorry for the missunderstanding. ;).

  7. Stacey: First of all, “happy” 30th diaversary my friend! While it may have (and still does) seem like you got a lump of coal back on Eve 1981, I hope that through even the DOC some of that can turn into a gift of good friendship and community. Here’s to you, and hoping we all have many more diaversaries to share in! Thanks for sharing this, and Merry Christmas!

  8. I hope that today brings you much joy and celebration. I know few that deserve those things more! Congratulations on your accomplishment and thank you for sharing it with us… It brings hope to so many.

    Merry Christmas!

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