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?