Tuesday, July 14, 2009

19 Years.

Sometime in the past couple of weeks, I suspect it was July 7th, or maybe the 9th, was the anniversary of my diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes. The thing is, I don't recall the exact day of the year. I get shy about asking. I don't like upsetting my mother because I know, like me, she can't just tell me a date. There will be a story that goes along with it. There may be tears. There may also be a, "It's been almost 20 years and you still don't check your sugar often enough!" lecture. I like to avoid those.

*Cue the flashback harp music and wavy screen dissolve effects*

It was 1990, and I was 8 years old, looking forward to 3rd grade. I remember it was a Saturday morning, and that my grandparents were going to be leaving for a fishing trip to Canada that day. I'd spent all spring and summer drinking and drinking and drinking whatever I could get my hands on, had cravings for sugar, spent a lot of time going to the bathroom, but nobody thought anything of it. This particular morning, I get up, feeling a little odd. I charge down the hallway of the house, then realize I'm out of breath. My heart is pounding. I recall thinking it definitely wasn't normal.

My dad was in the kitchen. He noticed something was odd, mentioned that I was breathing awfully fast. I insisted that I was fine (heh, something I will still do to this day when I feel mildly bothered by my health or randomly hurting body parts or what have you). I told him I had just run down the hallway, that's all. But things got worse. I remember being scared. I remember my back hurting very badly, not wanting to stand up.

After that, things get fuzzy. I remember being at my pediatrician's office, throwing up green stuff in a stainless steel pan that was kidney-shaped. I vaguely remember being wheeled up from the ER. I remember lying on a table, staring at the speckled ceiling tiles as a doctor and some nurses cut down on my ankle to force an IV into my collapsing veins. After that, things get fuzzier. I still have the scar. You can go here and check it out, or squint at my ankle in an attempt to check it out. I think it's more prominent to me than to anyone else.

I don't want to dwell on my diagnosis story. It feels like such a tiny, almost insignificant part of the life I've lived with diabetes so far, and it's so far from the life I live now. I was a little girl, scared, yes, but also strong as hell. I remember feeling angry because my mother was crying by my bedside when I knew in my heart that I was going to be just fine. I was going to be my regular old self, just that self now needed to be given shots, and probably would never eat candy ever again.

"None at all?" I remember asking.
"It's very bad for you," my mom said.
"Not even a couple of M&M's? Or a Skittle?"
"Hannie Ellen, things are going to be very different from now on."

And they were. 19 years later, I don't always have the control I want. I don't always have my life perfectly in order. Yet I am still strong against this disease; I am still fighting it. I am hoping this year to continue the improvements I've started to make in years past.

Kelly also suggested that since I didn't know my actual diagnosis date, I needed to have a festival to celebrate, and I should celebrate with some bolus-worthy treat every day in the weeks around when I suspect my diagnosis occurred. So in the past couple of weeks, I've enjoyed some delicious beers, water ice, my favorite pizza, a Frosty, sweet potato fries and other bits of amazing food.

I'm the happiest I've been, personally, in a very long time. It seems like a great time for some positive change for once. I'm looking forward to returning to blogging more often to document it all.