I was diagnosed with Juvenille diabetes on May 21, 1972. My mom was 29 years old and pregnant with my brother. He was born July 25, 1972 and 2 years later he was diagnosed with Juvenille Diabetes. 37 years ago that’s what is was called… “Juvenille”. Both my mom and dad dove head-first into a life of caring for two diabetic toddlers. They never let anything stand in our way or their way. We lived life as normally as the next kid, so we thought. I learned years after the fact, that for every birthday celebration at school my mom would bring in cupcakes made with sugar substitute and for every Halloween she would bring special “treats” to the neighbors that we could get when we rang their doorbells and that we could eat or enjoy. I remember my first Easter with sugar free chocolates in my basket. I was THRILLED! I thought they were terrific. My dad and mom didn’t totally agree, but my brother and I didn’t know any better. From a very early age we travelled the world. By the time I turned 19 I’d been to all 7 continents and 104 countries. Having a summer birthday meant that I celebrated each year in some amazing new place. 13 in Africa. 15 in Italy. You see, our parents were told when we were first diagnosed that we’d be lucky to see 30. I’m VERY proud to say that I’ll be 40 years old in one month and my brother is turning 37 this coming Saturday.
But, with the help of our parents life with diabetes never seemed to get in the way for me or my brother. We had our highs and some impressively low lows. Glucagon has been used a time or two, but for me, insulin and blood glucose monitoring is kind of like brushing my teeth. You see…I was born. I was diagnosed diabetic, I was a kid, I went to school. I played. I grew up. Now, I’ve been married for 15 years. I’m the mother of 2 beautiful and healthy children and my mom told me last night, in tears, that she may be going on insulin. She’s a wreck. I find it so confusing that this woman could find so much strength to care for 2 kids with Type 1 and now, as she faces the possiblity of taking insulin herself she is struggling with the idea. All I can do is give her support and guidance. That’s what she did for me.
On a positive note, I just returned from my endo today and she said that I am doing SO well with controlling my diabetes that she sees no reason why I can’t make it to at least 90 years of age. I think that’s kinda cool! My dad will be 94 on August 11th and I just may be able to follow in his footsteps!
I can’t thank my parents enough for all that they taught me. They gave my brother and myself a solid education in the care of diabetes. Now, I know I’ll be able to do the same for my mom. Wish me luck!