Exactly nine years ago from today I was diagnosed with juvenile Diabetes. Which makes today my Diabetes Birthday! Which feels an awful lot like this:
Just kidding. It feels an awful lot like celebration! One hundred years ago this would not have been possible. I'd be dead. And here I am. And here are all my friends still alive and (mostly) sane.
For three days I got up, almost routinely, seven to eight times each night so that I could pee and drink about sixteen ounces of liquid. My eyesight had been getting worse. Though my mother is not a registered nurse or part of the medical field, somehow she just knew these were the symptoms of diabetes, so she brought me in, October 30, 2001.
The nurse laughed and insisted I was not diabetic. She suggested I get an appointment with an eye doctor to get glasses. My mother insisted, the nurse still refused. This still confuses me, we're not talking about a difficult, complicated, or expensive test. It's a urine sample, or a simple finger stick. Eventually she caved in, probably excited about the chance to rub a good ol' "I told you so" in to my mom's face when the results came back. Just another paranoid mom.
Unfortunately, that's not how the rest of the day went.
I went back to school, and forgot about everything, until I was called to the Principle's office. I started the slow walk down the hall.
I have to stop and elaborate about how I'm what psychologists call a "worryer." It's cute in kids, and stressful in adults. I never outgrew the habit of "What if the tree falls in to my room" "What if the floor collapses underneath me" "What if that plane crashes in to the playground." It sounds melodramatic, but it's how I thought when I was little, and it's how I still think today. Most of the time I'm wrong. What keeps the habit persistent is the few times I'm right.
"What if this is the last time I don't know I have diabetes."
I walked in to the room where my parents were there with the principle, as if this were normal. As if we had this meeting every week. I sat down trying to play along with the charade they'd set up.
My principle was an old nun, very traditional, very pompous, very set in her ways. Every student shut up as she walked by. She was Miss Trunchbull from Matilda in a habit. She clearly thought she was going to control what was about to happen, but my father, my typically quiet and unobtrusive father, had different plans. Though she began to speak, he put his hand up to her very firmly. It was the only time I'd ever seen anyone shut her up.
He looked at me and told me.
The next few days were an adventure for me. I started off throwing a fit at the idea of having an I.V. put in my arm, to very calmly sitting still to get a shot for dinner. Flowers and get-well cards (that I still have in my closet at home) from my classmates made me feel special. That Christmas I got a laptop.
The next few years are a different story.
So here I am. Still kickin'. Hopefully I can celebrate my 50th diabetes anniversary. It will certainly be one to be excited about.