Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Joslin Blog Project: The Beginning.

I'm honored to be participating in Joslin Diabetes Center's Blog Project this month, alongside a handful of other dedicated and passionate diabetes advocates. We'll each be writing four posts that detail our personal journey with diabetes, in the hopes that we can raise some awareness along with some money. Our goal is to raise $5,000, as a team, for the Joslin High Hopes Fund through this blog project.

Our prompt for this week is to "share a story from when you (or the person you blog for/about) were first diagnosed".

It's tough for me to remember much about my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes, over 26 years ago. I was just six years old, and anything that didn't involve My Little Ponies or She-Ra is pretty fuzzy in the memory department. (As it should be?) I do have faint recollections of my hospital stay and of the friends and family that came to visit me, and I recall bits and pieces of learning how to prick fingertips, how to administer injections, and how to count the food I was eating.

Notes from my original diagnosis records.


More than any of that, I remember the emotions of those around me. I may not have known what diabetes was, but I knew that it was serious. I knew it was bad. I knew that it brought the people I loved to tears. I knew that life was changing for me in big ways. Emotions play a huge role in diagnosis, just as they continue to do in our daily management.

But as for a concrete diagnosis memory? I'm afraid I don't have one related to my diabetes diagnosis. I do, however, want to mention something that I'm sure the Joslin Diabetes Center didn't realize (because I've never mentioned it) when they asked me to participate in this blog-o-rama: it was a Joslin endocrinologist who finally diagnosed my hypothyroidism over ten years ago.

That doctor was compassionate, kind, and thorough. His team bothered to find out what meter I was using, and got me an updated replacement (which meant I would likely be getting more accurate results to work with). He recognized the thinning hair, the pallor of my skin, the gradual weight gain, and the extreme exhaustion - the extended period of time that my thyroid condition went undiagnosed wrecked havoc on not only my physical appearance, but my mental health as well. He didn't scold me as past doctors did when he saw that my blood sugars were all over the place; he didn't rush to the assumption at my appearance was completely my choice (did I mention that this time period was my goth phase?); he didn't dismiss my sullen demeanor.

He looked at the whole person. He looked at me.

And because he was willing to do that, he found an answer that I'm not sure my previous doctor had even thought to look for. As we worked to find the proper Synthroid dose for me, bits of myself came back to the surface. Depression had griped me for so long that I hadn't realized how much of myself wasn't present anymore.

That doctor may have, indeed, saved my life. For that, Joslin Diabetes Center will always have a special place in my heart.

If you would like to make a donation toward our $5,000 blog project goal for the Joslin Diabetes Center, you may do so here.


1 comment:

  1. So glad that you had a great member of your team to help you with the thyroid stuff. I don't think people realize just how important it is, both to have regular thyroid levels AND have someone like that on your team.

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