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Do you remember what you were doing 18 years ago today? Were you sitting in a classroom, taking notes, daydreaming about the cute kid in the back of the room? Was it "just another day at the office"? Were you caring for your children? Was it a day to fall in love?

Eighteen years ago, I was a graduate student at a large, midwestern university, where I'd hoped to earn a PhD. Just a few months earlier, I'd received my Master's degree in psychology from a smaller, private university and had voted in my second presidential election. Eighteen years ago today, my doctor called me to ask me to come into the office because she noticed something odd in my bloodwork. Eighteen years ago today, my life would change forever, though I didn't know that when I received that phone call.

Eighteen years. The children born that day are now adults, either preparing to graduate high school or in their first year of college. Laptops still weighed a ton, "high speed" internet access meant having 14.4 bps modem, and "smart phones" were a pipe dream. If I had talked about "social networking" via a computer, people would have looked at me like I was nuts. In fact, I was shot down by a snotty professor at a different midwestern university when I proposed that we PWDs had "communities of practice" and did learn about diabetes management from one another (gee, that's happened 3 times to me, yet, I doubt any of the doubters have ever been to sites like TuD!)

Much has changed over the 18 years since my diagnosis. I wish one thing that had changed was that a cure for diabetes had been found. Instead, the number of diabetes cases has increased, the percentage of the population with diabetes has also increased, and there appears to be no end in sight. Kind of ironic that today is also the ADA's Diabetes Alert Day. I received my alert 18 years ago. My hope, as I approach 2 decades of living with diabetes, is for diabetes to be taken more seriously by doctors, nurses, educators, psychologists, law and policy makers, and most especially, the general public. While diabetes might not have been cured (like my first endocrinologist promised me it would), I do believe that knowledge and action can improve life with diabetes.

So, while I wish myself a happy "diaversary", I also sound the alert! Know the score, take action, and educate yourself about diabetes!

BTW, does this mean I'm an "adult" now?

Views: 12

Tags: ADA, Alert Day, American Diabetes Association, Anniversary, Diagnosis, Diaversary, Reflections

Comment by Susi (Ladalife) on March 22, 2011 at 11:13am
Yup. I remember - I had a 3 year old. I was called non-compliant because my BG numbers were all over the place. It took another 12 years or so to get properly tested and for "them" to see I wasn't a T2 at all, but LADA. I should probably have been on insulin back 18 years ago!

I have no idea the exact day of my "diaversary". Not even the month. Only the year (too many more than 18 years ago). It wasn't something I wanted to remember back then - I was in my early 20s! And for many years since the beginning, I only knew one other person with diabetes, someone with T1, someone who remains a friend to this day and who is very active in the D-world heading up Insulin for Life.

I might have had the longest honeymoon on record (made longer because I wasn't being treated properly), but I certainly will always remember my... um... pumpaversary (?), and with much celebration!

If you'd have told me then what we're all doing today "online", I would have said you were dreaming science fiction. Who'da thought!

Happy 'diaversary'!
Comment by AngelaC on March 23, 2011 at 1:21pm
Susi, your story sounds SO much like my own, it's scary. Eighteen years ago, I was in my mid-twenties. Eighteen years ago today, I had to go back to the health center for a fasting blood test to "confirm" my dx. This is in spite of the fact that my bgs the previous day were 466, and as we all know (and knew back then), that even a single reading that high is evidence of diabetes. I was told it was necessary to determine treatment. If my fasting bgs were 200 or over, I'd be placed on insulin. If they were under 200, I wouldn't be placed on insulin. Where were my bgs on that day? 195. A mere 5 mg/dl less than 200, so I wasn't placed on insulin or any medication. I wasn't ever called "non-compliant". In fact, I had one doctor who told me I needed to "loosen up", because I so tightly control my bgs. Really. I was totally compulsive about weighing and measuring every morsel of food that passed my lips. I exercised every day, which, while not a bad thing in and of itself, could be viewed as "compulsive" when you'd find me running in 90-degree/90% humidity weather. I never let up on myself, and while that did help manage my diabetes for years, it did leave me with virtually no life, since it demanded absolute, unswerving committment to the demands of the diabetes. Not exactly a good way to live, IMO.

No one ever bothered to run any tests on me that would have been able to tell the doctors what exactly was going on. Every decision was made on the basis of assumptions and ones that were not necessarily true. Because of that, it took from 1993-2008 before I was finally "allowed" to have the proper treatment -- 15 years!! Like you, I was told by my endocrinologist in 2008 I should have been placed on insulin way back in 1993 and I could tell he was appalled at the treatment I had received. I do wonder what my life might have been like if the doctors back in 1993 had performed a simple c-peptide test.

Perhaps it was because I was in a "geeky" area in grad school that I have not been surprised by how computers have become so integral to our lives. I am also not surprised at how the DOC has exploded; believe it or not, diabetes has had a presence in the online world for more than 2 decades!! It makes me happy to see how diabetics are working together to help one another, though I really would rather have a cure!
Comment by Trudy on April 4, 2011 at 12:29pm
Hi Angela. I was dx in November of 1993, so 18 years ago I was dealing with indigestion (it turned out to be Celiac Disease) and with passing out late mornings and afternoons (it turned out to be LADA/Type 1). I could hardy eat and stopped driving. I figured out the Celiac myself about October, but it would be a long time after that before the Diabetes was rightly diagnosed--they thought I was a Type 2--maybe a year after that before I got my insulin and stopped passing out and started driving again. I shudder to think how high I was going to cause the passing out. Even on a bad control day now, I'm so much better than 18 years ago! Happy Belated Diaversary.


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