I write at least one blog post a month, in my head. They are outstanding pieces and perhaps one day they will be published. This one piece gets published because I feel like it helps me mark time and perhaps, just maybe, one person will read it and feel a little better about their journey.
Today marks 26 years with Type One. I remember many parts of August 8, 1991 so vividly. I could probably write an entire book just about that day and some of the most memorable days and moments that followed as I journeyed through junior high and high school with this chronic illness. The next book would cover college years and getting married and being a young adult able to take on the world. Then, book three would be about preparing to be pregnant as a Type One, eight months of pregnancy, the premature birth of my first miracle, the difficulties that went along with that AND the complications of his premature birth that did not show up until after he was eight years old. The next book would be about my second miracle and the joy of his life and also of postpartum depression and wondering how my tight, close to perfect diabetes control would change after becoming a mom of two. The current book would be about the struggle of achieving balance in life with two happy, healthy boys, managing a home and life and career that also allows me the time and energy and ability to keep control of my Type One. It has not gotten easier, it is not less of an emotional burden than it was 15 or 20 years ago, it is more of a challenge and carries more of a stigma than I ever thought possible.
Today I am thankful. Thankful for my Faith that has sustained me through the difficult moments and the Grace I have been extended countless times. Thankful for the opportunity to wake up each morning and thank God for seeing me through yet another night and for the health of my boys. Thankful for my husband and my miracles and my parents and my family. Thankful for the progress in technology, how much easier controlling T1 has become and all that we can anticipate.
If you are reading this as a T1D Parent, there is hope. There has been an unbelievable amount of progress in the past 20 years and your child WILL see a cure in their lifetime. Continue to have faith and trust and make the most of each day. Continue to reach out to other T1 families and never feel alone, there are too many of us for anyone to feel like they are on this journey by themselves.
My family and friends could probably quickly write a book of their own, so they all get a shout out today just in case I never publish that amazing book and they don’t get the dedication page they deserve…
- To my parents, Mark and Pam, for handling it all from that first moment. No one knows what a T1D diagnosis means until it happens to your family. Their lives changed forever in that day and they have handled it all with grace and tireless, selfless energy. They learned all that they could, gave me the best life possible, they have cried with me and held me and wished they could take it all away so many times. There is no way to thank them for all the late-night phone calls they would wait for and still do, the hours of sleep they lost when I was living at home and when I wasn’t. Their unconditional love is a gift.
- To my sister, Lindsay, for never hating me forever for how I acted (and continue to act) when my blood sugar was high and when it was low. Thanks for always being my cheerleader and for marrying an awesome guy who would quickly become my second favorite emergency call.
- To my Jeff, who married this disease when he proposed so many years ago. He had no idea what it entailed, but has been a positive presence, a financial and emotional support of each and every part. And, he has saved my life from slipping away through a low blood sugar more than a few times. Husband of the Year, every year!
- My cousin Kelly, Aunt Pat and Aunt Chris were there when my parents told me about my diagnosis and they have been huge supporters ever since. I was blessed with an understanding and supportive extended family. All four of my grandparents surrounded our family during those crazy hospital days in August and I always felt encouraged by their love and support and I know my folks did too. This seems like it should be the “norm” of new T1 families, but it is not. My family has grown so much in 26 years and I am thankful for the support and love I receive from each of you.
- I am so thankful for my T1 hero, Susanne, and think of her everyday with great wonder and admiration. Susanne, you lead an incredible life and I am so thankful to have you as a role model.
- I couldn’t end today without thanking the nurses and doctors and educators who have cared for me over the years. I am thankful to still keep in touch with most of you and I hope you know that you are appreciated and admired. Thank You Debbie, Dana, Nurse Jane, Hyong, Betsy, Cathy, Amy, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Jelley, Dr. Flesner and the slew of people I saw at Navy hospitals across the country. Thanks to all the school nurses that have cared for me as a teacher and all my principals and bosses that have been kind. Thank you to those of you who were my friends and stood by me 26 years ago, my friends and roommates 20 years ago, friends and colleagues 15 and 10 years ago or those of you who have not been scared off by my need for details and planning and offer your gift of friendship still. This life is not easy, but I am grateful for each day.
If you read to the end, leave me a comment so that I can add you to the Cure Party list! Those plans are still being made and I can’t wait to celebrate with you. You have my love and appreciation!