We all have moments, events, days in our life that remain in our memory as if they happened yesterday. The events of August 8, 1991 remain a clear picture in my mind today as I celebrate 21 years as a Type One Diabetic! The past year and a half I have dealt with more depression and anxiety with my diabetes than ever before. Which has led me to being more honest, taking things off my plate, asking for help (and being much more difficult to put up with). My daily prayer is for strength to take care of myself, for the good health of my boys, for all the parents with Type One Diabetics at home, for those who can’t afford the care or medicine they need and for those working on a cure.
It would be easy to reflect on how many bottles of insulin I have gone through, how many times I have pricked my finger. It would be easy to complain about the amount of time and thought and attention this chronic illness demands. As a blessed lady, I feel it more appropriate today to thank my family and friends who have been a part of my journey. I cannot mention you all by name today, but you know who you are and I hope you realize how grateful I am for your place in my life.
Thank you to the family, friends, pastors, church members who visited me in the hospital (21 years ago when a T1D was diagnosed, you spent several days in the hospital being educated and cared for) and were a presence of love and support for my parents and I from the beginning.
Thank you to my friends in junior high who saved a place for me at the lunch table while I went to the nurse’s office to check my blood sugar, who didn’t make fun of the HUGE purse I carried to transport all my diabetic supplies, who learned how to recognize low blood sugar when most of our peers were figuring out how to wear make-up.
Thank you to my high school friends who knew what a “low” looked like and how to help me treat it. Thank you to those of you who drove to lunch when we went out so that I could test my blood sugar on the way. Thank you to my friends on bus trips, amusement parks, overnight trips who were tolerant and kind and helpful.
Thank you to the fabulous faculty members at NSU who helped me make a smooth transition to college with my baggage! Thank you to the girls I lived with and near during college who helped me with highs, lows, sick days, emergency Rx trips, and a stash of supplies that took up a significant amount of space where we were living! Thank you to the brave girls who lived with me while I made the transition to the insulin pump. Thank you for getting me through those first few tough weeks and tolerating all the annoying beeps and alarms and pump sounds that followed. Thanks to my friends at NSU and those of you who have become lifelong friends who have seen me at my best and at my worst.
Thank you to my colleagues during graduate school at PLU, my carpool buddies, my mentor teachers for your kindness and understanding as I juggled school, diabetes and a deployed husband while living so far away from family. Thank you to the ladies of the USS Jackson and the Nevada Blue Girls and the many times you were a great source of help and support.
Thank you to the principals I have worked for, the teachers and staff I have worked with. In each school I taught at I felt cared for and never judged for the emergency trips to the nurse’s office and having my class covered while I took care of myself. Thank you to those of you who went above and beyond to be professional and kind and helpful during my toughest days.
Thank you to all the friends and family who have stayed with us at the Stewart B&B and have been loving and patient with their diabetic hostess! A few of you definitely experienced more than you thought possible!
Thank you to my dear friends who have been helpful and thoughtful and caring when I needed it most. Please know how grateful I am for you!
Thank you to the professionals who have been part of my excellent care and concern during the past two decades. Thank you Dr. Wilson, Dr. Jelley, Nurse Dana Greer, Nurse Debbie Ferguson, Nurse Jane Hewett, Nuse Sally Eastam for my care through the first ten years. Thank you to the doctors and nurses on Navy bases in CT, WA and MD who cared for me as a Navy wife. Thank you to Dr. Bohl-Witchey, Nurse Kami Moore, Dr. Flesner, Nurse Huong, and Dr. Meyer for caring for me as a burnt-out diabetic.
Thank you to my parents for the best care and support a girl could imagine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Thank you to my sister for her constant support and love, not an easy task. Thanks to her lovely husband for being a rescuer for me, and now so many others. Thanks to my extended family and lifelong friends who have been there for all of us.
Thank you to my Jeff for wanting to marry me despite the complications that were and remain a part of the package deal. Thank you for your ongoing support and sacrifice and love. Thank you for being my fan, my advocate, my live-in-therapist. Thanks to my in-laws and their acceptance, support and love.
Thank you to my Zach and Ben who understand that when Mommy is “low” to be helpful. Thank you for understanding that the large bag in my purse is not to open because despite the sugar it contains, the sharp pointy items could hurt you. Thank you for knowing to stay 20 feet away while I change my pump site. Thank you for your curiosity and enthusiasm and understanding of my life as a diabetic. Thank you for your patience on days when my diabetes takes more time and attention than I would like to give it. Thank you, Zach, for every once in awhile thinking of another way we can celebrate when a cure is found! You are my hope and inspiration!
Cheers to Year 21!