From what I can gather, this weekend marks the seven-year anniversary of my diagnosis. In the grand scheme of things, seven years is not a long time. For as long as I hope to live, seven years is not a long time. That being said, seven years feels like a lifetime ago considering how far I’ve already come living with this.
Admittedly most of my progress in life after diagnosis has come since I started this blog at the beginning of the year. I’ve written on many occasions how various aspects of the Diabetes Online Community has genuinely saved my life. Be it finding Kerri’s blog for the first time, talking to some cool people on twitter, or taking conversations offline for a genuine heart-to-heart with people I’ve never met, what started out as a little experiment in honesty and disclosure has meant more than you will ever know to me. Despite all of this gushing, I can’t help but think about the cost of these revelations, of these connections, of these friendships.
When I was diagnosed in 2002, I took things extremely seriously. Measuring cups scattered throughout my dorm room. Tupperware containers to help manage serving sizes. Meals at the same time each day, every day. But then the routine started to set in. It didn’t negatively affect me for the next 5ish years, but looking back I could see signs of complacency in my final summer in Blacksburg. The frequency of my blood sugar tests began to shrink, ultimately to the point of not even bothering with it. “I’ll know when I’m not in range.” Because after 5 years, I was certainly an expert on this right?
My decision virtually eliminate testing from my routine didn’t have a tangible effect until I started my job. And I say decision because it was my decision to stop. I hadn’t seen any negative effect, yet. I had lost motivation, I had lost sight of what all of that control I had worked for in the beginning meant. Of course I hadn’t realized any of this until I rebounded. But I had to rebound from something bad right? I suppose 11.3 is bad.
My first year of my job I was travelling pretty much all the time. Eating at irregular times, at restaurants that rarely offer meals that mesh with a healthy(ier) lifestyle all the while I still had not kept up with testing my blood sugar. I would take my shots at the appropriate times, but without consideration for my current blood sugar level or what I was eating, I was just delaying the inevitable. Somehow I had time in my travel schedule to get some blood work done. I knew it would not be good, but I did not anticipate how bad it had gotten. While waiting for a connecting flight in Denver I received a call from Not House telling me that I need to step my game up.
A few months later I found twitter. I found Kerri. I found a bunch of other blogs written by people who knew exactly what I was going through. I found motivation to get my health on track. I found myself in a place I was not happy with and as a result I found WordPress. I found that I have (maybe had) a lot on my mind, particularly about Diabetes. I found a path back to a healthier lifestyle. I found that I still have a lot to learn about Diabetes, about life, about myself. But I am learning. There is hope for me.
Seven years ago, my life changed in a way that I could never have predicted. Seven years ago, my life started down a path that I struggle to navigate every day, but I’m walking the path. You can insert as many other cliches as you want here about life being a box of chocolates and all that, but they are all true. I’m doing my best to live with this moving target and make the right choices in how I live my life. I may not be a role model for anyone, but if anybody needs evidence that 1. Diabetes is not the end and b. the Internet can help: feel free to cite me.
Just use proper MLA formatting. 😉
I know that the note says 10/19-10/21, but I needed time to think about how I wanted to approach this particular post. For all the good that has come from Diabetes, I still feel a great deal of apprehension around the idea of celebrating my diagnosis. Maybe that’s just me, but I needed some time to think about what all of this meant.
I still do.