Monday, November 11, 2013

Type 1 By The Numbers: Age 11

Welcome to November, a month dedicated to “no-shaving” and Diabetes Awareness. Since I am having trouble growing my beard out, I will focus on writing about Diabetes Awareness. This year I will be basing my posts on the “numbers” associated with the disease, hopefully this will keep things somewhat interesting (although I’m not convinced an autoimmune disease that attacks one’s own pancreas is all that interesting, but I will try ;-). I won’t be posting every day, but these posts will, in their nature, cover a wide variety of topics related to the disease. T1BT#

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Today is the 11th day of Diabetes Awareness Month and represents the age I was when faced with the diagnosis "Type 1 Diabetes". I remember feeling "mature for my age" even before that fateful day, and afterwards, well, it's safe to say I was forced to mature at a rapid speed. After December 30th, 1998 my life was not just the simple, 11-year-old hodge-podge of boys, friends, Lisa Frank, sparkly pencils, pet hamsters, and annoying sisters....I was now faced with injections, glucose meters, insulin, medical ID bracelets, pre-planned snacks and glucose tablets.

I was scared to tell my friends that I had "Diabetes" because I really didn't know that much about it and I was afraid they might think it was contagious. I hoped that they would still like me...and all of them did - the beauty of 11-year-olds naivety and unconditional acceptance. They loved me through all of the crap...low blood sugars, testing in the middle of the night, finger pricks before lunch, and glucose tabs at recess. They stood up for me when I had to defend chugging down a Sunny Delight between classes in Junior High and when the security guards thought my insulin pump was a "pager" (those were not allowed at school back then ;-). Thank God for friends. They helped me feel as normal as I could with a busted pancreas. 

Some PWD are diagnosed as babies or toddlers, others as nearly adults, but if I had to choose when in life I had to get Diabetes, I think 11 years old is as good a time as any. Do I remember life before the 'Beetus? You bet, and the sweet taste of freedom from the disease is a great motivation for advocacy. I was old enough to remember not having Diabetes, but I was young enough to "grow up" with the disease. I had a chance to make shots and insulin and snacks a "normal" part of life. But even now, even though I have dealt with Type 1 Diabetes for close to 15 years, it still isn't completely normal. Injections and carb counting, I fear, will always be foreign...the cliche "necessary evil."

I had 11 blissful years, before Diabetes...I completely took them for granted...but I think that's ok. Kids should take things for granted, that's the best part of being a kid ;-)

1 comment:

  1. I have to say the last few posts have been inspiring. Look at all the things you have had to learn and over come. I hope you see that this has made you a stronger person. I look forward to reading more about your life and how you progress.

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