I have type one diabetes. I was diagnosed December 7th 1991, two months after my 9th birthday. I remember very little about being diagnosed. I remember I was sick, and that the days before my Mom brought me into the hospital I was refusing to eat anything because I was so thirsty. I vaguely remember my Mom offering me a bowl of cereal and I drank the milk, said I was "done", walked off, and I heard her say, "Amber, you didn't EAT it!" in exasperation. I remember she was trying everything she could to get food in me.
I, like a lot of T1 diagnosed in childhood, thought I merely had the flu, as did my Mom. But after two weeks my Mom was getting concerned, as this wasn't a normal kind of flu. I hadn't eaten in a long time, but I was still throwing up and had collapsed in the bathroom after a vomiting fit. So my Mom brought me to the emergency room at Children's hospital in St. Paul, MN.
What I remember of the hospital is a combination of memory and created memories from what my Mom has told me. My Mom fully thinks thinks I couldn't remember anything because I quickly slipped into a coma after being admitted. But there is this one image in my mind that is so strong I wonder if it isn't real. I remember getting to the hospital and immediately being into a room and laying down in "anatomical position" because there were so many people poking me trying to get blood. I didn't feel the needles, and didn't know why it was so bad that they couldn't get my blood.
My Mom was in a chair next to the bed on my right, and she was crying. She said something about them poking me so much and I said, "Its OK Mom." Then that's it. That's all I remember about my diagnosis. It wasn't until I was older that I realized I didn't remember much because I slipped into a coma.
I think my Mom kept that from me to simplify my disease, but also because I think she feels guilty. Three days before she brought me into the hospital she was in a bad car crash so we were both home sick, and she told me just today that she was trying to care for me with out having to go to the ER. She was all black and blue from the crash, literally. She looked like a human raccoon with deep black circles under her eyes, and bruises down her body. I think she also had a broken nose.
When I think about the emotional pain this disease has brought me and my family that's what tightens my throat and causes tears to well in my eyes. Diabetes doesn't just make my life a constant balance act, it extends its grasp of worry and fear to my Mom, Step Dad, sister, significant other, and close friends. If you know me, you know I think about it all the time and you know that some days I don't want to think about it. I don't want to be on a balance beam all the time.
And while this is MY disease to battle, those who care about me battle the worry that one day the obstacles won't be in my favor. And that isn't fair. It isn't fair that not only do I worry about complications but that everyone I love does too. I know thats how it works when you love someone, but the fact that its TYPE ONE diabetes that does this, how it reaches everyone not only the person being diagnosed, its THAT which is painful.
For all their love and support I am thankful. I couldn't do it everyday with out them. For my Mom, who bears too much worry, I am thankful. For all mothers and fathers who have children with type one diabetes, and people who support someone with T1 diabetes I want to thank them because your love and support make it possible to manage this crappy disease.
There are a lot of things we can talk about today on why type one needs its own day for awareness. I am all about our own day. As is my Mom, Step Dad, sister, boyfriend, and close friends. We all know why Type One awareess is important and are talking about the difference at each chance. Today and for days to come.