Twenty-seven. Twenty-seven. Twenty-seven. I’ve been mulling this word (these words?) over for a while now. I’ve used them for a while. But today is the official day. Twenty-seven years ago today I was rushed to the hospital in a nearby town and admitted to the hospital, where I would stay for nearly a week, so that my parents could learn how to take care of their diabetic child and so I could learn to not need two nurses to hold me down while they injected me with life-saving insulin.
It was 1986. Home testing was relatively new. Synthetic insulin was relatively new. We didn’t know how to count carbs, only servings. Blood sugar testing took 90 seconds. I was the only kid in my school (and I’m pretty sure my town) that had Type 1 diabetes. I was only four years old.
I remember so little from life before diabetes entered. I do remember eating ice cream (vanilla fudge swirl) with my dad after dinner. I’d sit in his lap while he sat in his chair and we watched Hee-Haw or some other television show.
I do remember some major things from my diagnosis. Being held down so they could give me a shot. Crying for more orange juice, cause that’s the only thing sweet they’d let me have. The nurse with MAJOR bright eye shadow and buttons all over her nurses jacket. The things a child would remember.
Because I remember so little of life before diabetes came, I have no idea exactly how it changed my life. Sure, there’s the obvious stuff, like insulin, doctor’s visits, the need for insurance, my unparalleled ability to guess carbs correctly… But I don’t know really what it did to ME. My personality, my life choices, who I am as a person.
So I just want to take a minute to be thankful for the things that I think and the things that I KNOW diabetes has provided me with. I believe diabetes has provided me with a better awareness of my health. Thank goodness for that! I believe that diabetes provided me with maturity beyond my years, even as a child, because of so many responsibilities that diabetes brings into your life. In a way, I think that could have kept me out of some of the trouble I may have gotten into otherwise.
And diabetes brought me you. The people I found online who shared my disease, and turned into my friends off-line with whom I’ve shared both joys and sorrows, laughter and tears, fun and friendship, hobbies and common interests. I never would have found you otherwise. So there is a bright side to all of this.
Really, today is a day to be thankful. Thankful for my health. Thankful I’m free of major complications. Thankful for my friends. Thankful for technology. Thankful that I’m alive.
So, here’s to 27. While I hope there’s a cure, in the event that there isn’t one coming soon, here’s to a healthy future.