Monday, April 23, 2012

Twenty Six.

It was twenty six years ago today that I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. "Juvenile Diabetes", if you're old school.

Last year, when I hit the quarter century mark, I decided it was time to ask for a copy of the hospital records (a "discharge summary" is what the hospital called it) from my diagnosis. I had never had much interest in finding out things like the glucose level I tested at upon admittance at or my first A1C result, until I started reading the stories of others online - and the answers they found. It got me curious.

It was an interesting story, but not a remarkable one. A reading of 385 mg/dL is something I could very easily see now, if I really miscounted a meal or had a leaking infusion site overnight. A loss of 8 to 9 pounds over a three month period would actually be a welcome physical change right now, instead of an alarming phenomenon.

I remember the eat-for-the-insulin regimen. I remember the plastic Rubbermaid container that rested on our kitchen counter, filled with "diabetes stuff". I remember the bottle of NPH being rolled between my mother's hands to warm it up from its refrigerated state, and the clack-clack sound it made as it hit her wedding rings. 

I remember tears. I remember being confused. I remember being scared.

But I also remember parents who loved me unconditionally, who did the very best they could to keep me happy and healthy, and who would have done anything to take that burden away from me.

As an adult, it's my job to keep myself happy and healthy. It helps to have a loving and supportive husband, dog (hey, he helps) and friends both near and very far - but when it comes right down to it, it's up to me and no one else to make sure that these last two assessments remain true:

Twenty six years, diabetes. I've got my eye on you. No funny business.


  1. Happy Diaversary! For whatever reason, I saved ALL this stuff of Laurens -- even all her Log Books. I have them all in a box that is labeled "Museum of Diabetes History" and I hope to one day donate it when this disease IS history -- but looking at this makes me smile. And so did the NPH bottle scene -- so well described that I could actually feel myself doing that for Lauren back in the day. I think if the hospital reprinted this last part today it would read a tiny bit different for you. It would say:
    Operations: None
    Complications: None
    Discharge status: Alive and Kicking Ass!

  2. Congratulations on your diaversary!!!

  3. Woot! So awesome, Kim!

    Discharge status: Alive and Amazing! Alive and Rocking the Casbah! ;)

  4. Kim,

    Happy diaversary!!! Thanks for all you do to inspire others.

    Jason in Orlando

  5. Beautiful post! Congratulations on the diaversary! What a strange feeling it must be to read the facts from the day when life changed forever. I've had "juvenile diabetes" (ha!) for almost 19 years and I'm about to start a fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology. I write discharge summaries on patients all the time and never really thought about the fact that the PATIENT might read them someday. Perhaps you've inspired me to go find my own facts :)
    Congratulations, again!

  6. Wonderful post! Congrats on your diaversary. Discharge status: Alive and kicking ass!!

  7. 26 down. 126 more to go! Keep up the awesome.

  8. Happy diaversary! Congrats on making it this far!

  9. Great post -- and I've not thought about getting my discharge papers .. I'll hit 20 years this year. Might be interesting to see those first notes. Surely if yours can pull them after 26 years, mine could pull them after 20? Worth looking into. ;)

  10. Happy Diaversary Kim!! Very interesting that you are able to get those papers. And here's to another 26 years rocking this disease!!!

  11. Aahh, the Rubbermaid containers, the rolling of the NPH (which, I thought, was to get the suspension evenly distributed rather than have particles settle on the bottom, not to warm it up, by the way). Such memories. Except for not knowing the exact date I was diagnosed, our stories could be the same.

    Tell me, please. After 26 years, are your parents - who love you unconditionally - still part of your support system? I love and thank mine as I love life itself (I wouldn't have been born - or made it much past diagnosis - without them), but now that I'm independent, they still tend to think I have the same needs as a seven-year old taking Regular and NPH. The advancements have passed them by, and it's tough to be gracious yet dismissive of the advice they give me these days.

  12. Scott - it was for both reasons! Thanks for the reminder. My NPH days are so far behind me that I'd forgotten that detail!

    And yes, they are - but in a more background sort of way. I'm grateful for them and all they've done for me.

  13. Wow, my story was similar (except mine was 35 years ago), but the rings clinking on the bottle seems to be recurring theme for all of us (Kerri Sparling wrote about it fairly recently). Happy diaversary .... though I'm sure you expected to be cured by now .... the perennial 5-10 years promise seems to have escaped all of us!

  14. Love the "discharge status." Alive...
    Very alive 26 years later and letting so many of us know that "We can do this."
    You're an amazing young woman!

  15. Happy diaversary, Kim! Yes, it does take you back hearing those stories. Amazing that you were only in the 300s... I think I was somewhere in the 600s at the time, though we don't have my records.

  16. happy diaversary kim! reading your poignant post made me wonder how my own daughter would write about her diagnosis, 20+ years down the line.

    ps, i hope that pharyngitis cleared up! ;)

  17. Wow, reading this brings back a flood of memories. Gotta write those down before I lose them. Congratulations on 26! I'm catching up to you (even if it's not in the birthday department).

  18. Kim -
    Happy belated Diaversary!
    Status: Grateful to have you alive and awesome!
    PS: You don't look a day over 25!!

  19. HAPPY BELATED DIAVERSARY KIM!! Sweet pictures (pardon the pun)!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.