D-Blog Week: Letter Writing Day.
Dear Littler Me,
I wish you'd known you weren't alone. That even though you didn't have a bunch of friends with diabetes (YET) when you were growing up, you still had lots of friends. And a family that loved you. And people who didn't understand exactly what it meant to be "low" or "high," but they wanted to, and they tried.
I wish you had known that there were other kids just like you. It wasn't until you spent your summers at Clara Barton Camp that you realized just how normal diabetes was for some families. That some kids woke up every morning, just like you did, and shot up. Or that some kids were hounded by their parents to "just let me check your pee for ketones, okay?"
I wish you had known that doctors lie. That when they said, "This won't hurt a bit," it was going to hurt anyway. That when they promised not to draw blood from your arm unless your parents were there, they lied and instead stole into your hospital room at 1 am and woke you up with their midnight vampirism. I wish you had known that when they said, "Kids may not be in your future," you didn't have to believe them.
I wish you had known about the impact of sorbitol and other sugar-substitutes on your little kid tummy. Dude, that stuff will wreck you up right proper. And for days.
I wish you hadn't written those notes on the backs of school quizzes and then stuck them into your Bible for safe-keeping. The ones that included long diatribes about how some girls in your class didn't understand. Or about how you were 385 mg/dl and you had eaten the cupcakes you claimed to have ignored, and you wish you felt brave enough to confess to your mom. I wish I didn't find those notes 18 years after the fact. I wish I hadn't remembered how isolated and guilty and scared I felt at those times.
I wish you had known that, despite the excuses you wanted to make, that every day matters. I'm glad you know it now, but I need you to remember it more. Every day matters, Kerri. Yesterday may not have been the best diabetes day, but today can be better. Stress and work and vacations and traveling and motherhood will always be there. You need to learn how to dance between those raindrops and still give your health the attention it deserves.
I wish you had known that pumping insulin was going to be an easier transition than you thought. I know you were scared about having an "external symptom" of diabetes, and worried about the implication of "robot parts" on your dating life, but it wasn't an issue at all. (Your husband hasn't ever known you without the pump - who would have thought?!)
I wish you had known, in that moment of diagnosis, that it was going to be okay. There are ups and downs with everything, and diabetes is part of that ebb and flow, but there is life to be lived - a good life - even with diabetes. You have some extra issues to deal with as a result of this disease, but you will be okay. Remember that, especially when you feel overwhelmed now, as an adult. Don't lose hope, even in that cure that's been promised to you five times over now. And don't, for crying out loud, let any kind of pity party overtake who you are.
I wish you had known that you CAN eat that, and you CAN do that, and you CAN work there, and you CAN love him, and you CAN be loved back, and you CAN be happy. So go DO and BE, child. Enjoy every minute, because it goes by in a blink.
(This post is part of the Second Annual D-Blog Week. To participate, check out the details on Karen's blog! And thanks, as always, to Karen for organizing such a great advocacy effort.)