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.


  1. I love the festival idea! Awesome.

    Diagnosis stories always make me sad, because I hate to hear how people's lives change, and happy, because are you are still here to tell it.

    Hannah you are awesome and I want to congratulate you on pwning the D for 19 years. U r teh 1337!!!1!1111

  2. A Hannah Festivus for the rest of us!
    Hannah- your wonderful and fantastic and bring so much to the Diabetes community! Your owning your diabetes and you my friend, ROCK!
    Kelly K

  3. It's awful and wonderful to be in the same 'club' as you. Congratulations on beating the ***tard down for another year ;-)

  4. Wow! 19 years! I'm only on 2. Congratulations! and I look forward to reading about all of your improvements!! =)

  5. Woo hoo on 19 yrs! Here's to 19 more GArate ones!

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  7. Melinda3:15 PM

    Congratulations. We just celebrated 12 yrs for my son.Here's how he did it in style:http://tinyurl.com/l75onu

  8. Congratulations! Stay happy.

  9. happy D-versary!! have some beer and pizza for me too!!

  10. festivals are fun. it's like a mardi gras for your diabirthday! i love the idea.

    keep up the fun!

  11. I remember wanting to celebrate my daughter's first dx anniversary to acknoledge how much we'd changed as a family. I even asked Kerri to poll her readers! In the end, I took the kids to see Wicked! The second anniversary was almost unnoticed until I was at a science fair when my son was presenting a diabetes info project and someone asked me how long my daughter had the condition. (I couldn't type disease!!!) In a weird twist, it was the second anniversary to the date. Since then, we haven't commented. Maybe we'll do it like anniversaries of marriage: 5,15,20.25 etc.

  12. Oh, and congrats and thanks for your most valuable contribution to the OC!

  13. Hi, Great to hear that you are still fighting the fight! My one year anniversary was this June, and happened to coincide with a local beer festival...how fortuitous!

  14. Hannah! Happy anniversary! I know that some don't celebrate, but I say we need to party hardy to celebrate that we have survived another year of this crap!

  15. I'm late to the party, but happy anniversary.

    You might want to contact the doctor's office/hospital yourself to get the actual date. I only did that a few years ago and it was informative. I was able to get a copy of the records (almost illegible) including my initial BG reading. This also helps when you want to apply for that 50 years with diabetes medal! :-)


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