The day I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes was really like something out of a novel.
If you remember from your high school days the term pathetic fallacy – a stupid phrase that essentially means that nature takes on human emotions, i.e. “angry clouds.” I can’t believe I just defined that – but it always comes up when I tell my diagnosis story:)
I had known for two weeks I had diabetes. I’d looked it up in my mom’s medical dictionary, which always freaked me out as a child. When mom got the encyclopedia out it was the equivalent of modern-day mom’s googling up medical diagnosis’ for their kids…yeah, I’m so guilty of that, too! And this is why doctors’ hate me :)
So yeah, I looked up my symptoms and thought…
“I have that… Crap, I have diabetes.”
Then for two weeks I made an ultimatum with God saying I would go to church everyday if He would just take this away.
He, of course, knew better and knew that this challenging disease would actually make me a way better person. I do believe that… but I wouldn’t complain one bit if a cure was found either.
So for two weeks, I suffered in complete silence. Not a word, not even to my mom or a friend… no one.
My vision deteriorated to the point I couldn’t see things that were an arm’s length away. A bathroom needed to be near at all times and a pitcher of water.
A friend of mine was the first to say something. She called me up – crying – and said…
“I’m worried about you. You’ve lost a lot of weight… do you have an eating disorder?”.
What? How embarrassing. “No, No…I’m fine…I’m fine…” I convinced her I was fine.
A few days later we went to a Backstreet Boys concert. I didn’t enjoy it. Not one bit. I stared into a blurry abyss. I worried. I suffered. I was dehydrated and underweight and held my intense urge to pee.
Meanwhile, my poor parents were busy taking care of my elderly and hospitalized grandmother. They were busy trying to figure out whether to sell her house and whether to put her into a retirement home. It was tough.
Then the day came. I surrendered. I made the courageous leap to tell my mom…
“Mom, I don’t feel well. I need to see the doctor.”
We went that day, after making a trip to the mall where I ate a bag of licorice. Oops… oops.
The doctor examined me and sent me down for a blood test. After the blood test, we made a trip to the vet. My dog had just been spayed and would need extra care after the surgery. As we drove home a tornado was hitting our town, the winds were violent and the van was shaking.
(Told ya that this is something out of a novel! You really can’t make this stuff up!)
When we walked in the door the voice message on the phone was beeping. The message: “Melissa has diabetes. She needs to go to the hospital immediately”.
For me – relief. At last, peace.
I’d had two weeks to internalize what was happening to me. For my mom, shock, disbelief and I’m sure a flood of other emotions that only a mother can know.
My brother said…
“You’ll be fine. My friend has diabetes and he just takes needles and life goes on”.
My first witness to a positive image of diabetes. Life goes on.
As we drove to the hospital I reassured my mom, “It’s okay, God is with us”.
The heavy winds knocked 80-year-old trees on the ground – everywhere. But the storm was now over. The orangey, golden sun shone bright and the earth appeared calm. No noise, just complete silence.
A new chapter was about to begin with a challenge I willing to embrace.
More on what happened at the hospital… and what not to say to someone whose just been diagnosed with diabetes.