02 July 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009 - 13 comments

30 years in the making

Today marks a milestone in my life.

A day my life changed forever.

A day that isn't necessary negative or positive, but just is.

Today marks my 30th year of being a diabetic.

I remember bits and pieces of that time, mostly my time in the hospital. I spent several weeks at Kaiser Fontana in a room overlooking the driveway. I remember watching my dad drive through in his '64 Stingray on the Fourth of July. I remember giving shots to an orange and then to my family members and then to myself. I remember going up and down in my hospital bed. I remember giving shots to my Sugar Babe doll whom I lovingly locked up in her blue case every night only to dream of pulling her out again in the morning. Other than that I don't remember being sad or bothered by what may lie ahead for my life.

Since those first days after diagnosis, the years have moved by me. So many things have changed yet nothing has changed at all. But the things that have changed since July 2, 1979 have been amazing and I am so blessed to have experienced them all...

...At diagnosis I had to pee in a cup to test my urine for sugars. It was a long process and yes quite disgusting. It involved eye droppers, test tubes, and acid tablets. If the pee turned blue or green or something like that sugar was present in my urine, if it didn't change I was good.

(Camp Chinnock -1980)

...I was sent to a camp for only diabetics within a month of diagnosis where I spent a week with other kids just like me. I had no idea then, August 1979 that I would be spending every summer at Camp Chinnock until 1991 and still to this day talk to the people who became my life friends.

...Participate in studies for a "new" way to test for sugars in the body...by blood. For at least one summer at camp my parents signed me up to be in this study. I'll never forget those days where my finger would get sliced with a razor and blood would be put on some strip and then going and peeing in a cup and watching the doctors compare their findings. I've since been involved in other studies for blood glucose monitoring systems and other diabetes related things over the years. It's kinda cool when you see a product you helped develop on the shelves of a pharmacy.

...Seeing an insulin pump for the first time. It was HUGE!!! I remember the poor girl had to carry it around like a purse and I said heck no I never want one of those!!! I was scared to death of them and felt I would loose all control of my very controlled life. Little did I know!

...Being asked to come with the security guy at a baseball game when I was about 9. I was giving myself a shot in my seat and suddenly my dad and I were asked to come with this guy to security. Ohhh how times have changed! Now when I say I'm a diabetic the world stops and listens. Over the years I get less and less stares when in public and doing "my business", I'm more likely to get a comment like, "I'm a diabetic too" or "How long have you been a diabetic". Diabetes has become a fact of life in our society today and it is everywhere due to the huge prevalence of Type 2 diabetics around the world.

...Experiencing the first types of finger prickers. O.U.C.H.!! Worse then the razor from the studies!!! The lancet or needle was exposed and you watched it come down like a guillotine hitting your finger, it always stuck in my finger. Ahhh the Autolet!

...Trying all kinds of insulin from pork, beef and finally Humalog (an insulin analog of recombinant DNA origin). And using all kinds of ways to give insulin to myself in all kinds of places on my body from my arms, legs, tummy (my personal fav) to my bum. I also used many different kinds of syringes and types of administering thingymabobs, I did love the insulin pen the best until I gave into the pump.

...I test my blood sugars at least 8 times a day, sometimes more. There are 1000's of pinpricks in my fingers Big J and I estimated. Every now and again I can squeeze my finger and make it bleed without poking it! That always makes me laugh!

...Going through the lows and the highs of diabetes and learning each time how my body worked what to look for next time. Diabetes is not the same for every person, in fact no diabetic is the same. While symptoms may be similar for insulin reactions and other meladies, we do have different ways of experiencing them. I become quite vocal (yes more than normal!) when having an insulin reaction while other's I've met are quite and reclusive. But if you are ever around someone who is just acting different than normal and they are not acting quite themselves, never be afraid to ask if they are okay or if they are having an insulin reaction due to diabetes.

...Having a child when I was told I never would.

...The UPS man knocking on my door 3 years ago with my first pump. I resisted for so long and then finally I knew it was time. Time to give up 10+ shots a day and never look back. My pump has changed my life! I never thought I would be a pumper, but here I am today, 3 years in. I love it. I've been able to do things I've never been able to do before. Like go on a 12 mile backpacking journey through the Sierras! Someday I want to run a marathon and now being a pumper would make it a heck of a lot easier! I wished I'd opened my stubborn mind to this incredible device years ago!

...Seeing science move forward to find a cure. It's there I know it and someday in my lifetime I am sure to see the headlines read, "a cure for diabetes has been found!". Until then I live my life. Diabetes hasn't stopped me from ever living life to it's fullest, in fact it's made me live life with a better outlook than most. Not an hour goes by that I do not think of it. Does it make me sad? No. Does it make life different than others? No. Does it make me who I am? No. Diabetes is just a part of me like my arm, my hair or my smile, it's just there. I am a diabetic!

Here's to the next thirty years!


Happy 30 years girly..
You are an amazing lady..
Have a great weekend..
Love ya..

Yes, here's to the next 30 years!! Like Isabella's Mommy said, you are an amazing lady!!

Here's to the next 30 years, may they be as awesome as you are (and that's saying a lot!). :-) Wonderful post, so much information and written so well -- thanks for sharing.

Here's to making it 30 years with a very very tough disease. I hope the years ahead are filled with miracles for the diabetic community!!

wow, you always amaze with your strength. I am all choked up here. I have had a very emotional day and this post has uplifted me.

Love to you always my friend.


Happy Birthday Darling...xoxox,me

What a wonderful attitude and positive mindset. With those, you can beat anything!

Keep smilin!

Is it your b-day? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

My Mom died of heart disease brought on by complications from diabetes(adult onset). She kept that part of her life from us as children because she never wanted to "burden" us with it. I wish she would have shared more of her life with diabetes with us.

Thank you for sharing your story and education me a little more about this disease.

Here's to finding a cure to diabetes in the next 30 years!

Here's to another 30 years! Thank you so much for this post - I learned a lot.

Happy 30 years. That is just amazing and your story really touched me. It is such a trip how far science has come in 30 years. I cant belive how primative it seemed when you were younger-- it is so great there have been such medical advances. And peoples awareness-- wow! I cant belive the baseball game story- that would piss me off. Awareness and acceptance is huge now and it is so in the media. I remember about 5 years ago I was involved in an organization and we did a huge fund raiser for Juvenile Diabetes and we worked with the LA chapter and I could not belive what a big organization it was. Major awareness now-- it is soooo good to see!!

Happy 30 years and here is to another 30 and then another!!!! Cheers!!!

Christy :)

Interesting story! I really like your attitude:
"Diabetes is just a part of me like my arm, my hair or my smile, it's just there. I am a diabetic!"

Best wishes for the next 30 years.

Welcome to the 30+ club! We've been waiting for you. I have so many of those same memories, and so many more. It is a world unto itself. You are one of my heart people, Kayce. Forever and always. Let's get together when we hit 50+. I hear they give gold watches...Lots of love, Allison

Hey friend, I bookmarked this post and wanted to wait until I could give it the true attention it deserves. wow!! You have done so well and changed literally thousands and thousands of lives through camp, experimental treatments and here on your blog too. I hadn't really realized the many changes that had taken place over the years.

My 11yo 2nd cousin was recently diagnosed at a type 1 diabetic and my cousin is learning all she can to help her son.

Thank you for sharing his. You rock!!