Wow. Twenty years. Twenty years ago today my life was forever changed. I was 17, and it was about a month before my 18th birthday. It was an ordinary Sunday. My mom and I had just gotten home from visiting family in East Texas. And we noticed something was “off”. We had stopped at almost every gas station so I could go to the bathroom. And of course I had to get something to drink while we were in there. I was passed out asleep during most of the car ride. I was grumpy. I’d just recently gotten my first Rx for glasses a few months earlier. I was a little sick to my stomach, but I assumed it was from the car ride.
Then our cousin, Sue Ann, mentioned during the trip that her husband, Steve, had just recently found out he was diabetic (type 2), and he had all of these same “symptoms” I’d been having. I remember lying in the back of the SUV only half listening. But also thinking “Psha. That’s not going to happen to me; Steve’s a grown up.” And I blew it off. But apparently (and thank goodness) my mom didn’t blow it off. Sue Ann had told her about these strips you buy at the store that you pee on and it’ll change colors. The darker the color, the “worse” it was.
So my mom buys this little bottle that will forever change my life.
I peed on the stick. And it turned the darkest color possible, immediately. Hmm. Not sure what that meant, but had by now figured out it probably wasn’t good.
Since it was a Sunday, we didn’t call our regular doctor, so my mom called a local hospital just to ask what we should do. The nurse on the other end asked some questions and quickly determined that I needed to be brought to the ER. Now. It all happened so fast. I remember my mom telling me we had to go to the ER. I thought she was overreacting, but I went along.
We get there and they immediately start running tests on me. They came back and told us that I did in fact have diabetes. I had no idea what diabetes even was, other than it meant you couldn’t have sugar. Which we all now know that is not true. But at the time, that’s all I thought I “knew”.
I’ve talked about this before, but the biggest blow to me was when the dr on call looked me in the eye and said “You will never be able to have children.” I was devastated. And it turns out thank goodness he was very wrong.
I tend to lean toward being a “half glass full” person. I feel strongly that everything happens for a reason. If I hadn’t gotten that dx 20 years ago, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t appreciate life the way I do today. I wouldn’t know some of the wonderful people that I know. And some people that I’ve met over the years, would not have had the exposure to diabetes that they have had, that may or may not have helped them out in future situations. I feel like every hurdle we climb over is to get us to the next step. And that we’re never given anything we’re not strong enough to handle. Sure, I am human and I have my self pity bad days. I have had a couple of those recently, but at the end of every day, when I say my prayers at night, I always start out with “Thank you for the blessings you’ve bestowed upon me and my family.” Because no matter how “bad” this disease (sorry for using that word, Scott!) can be, I still am going to be living with it, and it still makes up a huge part of who I am. And for that, I am thankful.