It was a dark and stormy night—all my good stories start that way, don’t they?
The night was April 2003, and ironically, I don’t even remember the weather. Actually, I don’t remember any specifics from the night. From what paramedics told my family, I was good company in the ambulance. “Briana, What day is it?” “Oh, it’s my birthday.” “Well, Happy Birthday!—What day is it?” “My birthday– January 31.” Frowning, I’m sure, though I have zero recollection of it, at this point, the paramedic knew that I was not “all there.” And, truth be told, I wasn’t. And I only know that I said that because word gets back to those in hospital gowns about all the hilarious, embarrassing things they have done. That–and my sister bought me “Happy Birthday” balloons to make my stay in ICU more cheery. And, I must say, they did. Thanks!
How did I find myself staring up at the ceiling of St. Agnes Hospital in ladybug socks wearing an oh-so-cute light green “dress” with plenty of ventilation? My life completely changed that April day when I was diagnosed with Type I, Juvenile Diabetes. I can chart the symptoms back for months before my diagnosis. As early as the fall, tiny changes occurred. But, most of these could be chalked up to being a growing fifteen-year-old, such as horrible acne, moodiness, changes in my vision, exhaustion, increased thirst, extreme weight loss, etc.. Many other seemingly disconnected symptoms were present, but having no context for them, I didn’t look for a prognosis that would bring together the disconnected mass of unpleasantries.
When the doctor said, “You have diabetes,” my first thought was “great!—what in the blue blazes is that?” The reason I was happy about it is two-fold: one, I wanted there to be a reason for all the symptoms; two, as I’ve already implied, I had no idea what that meant. And, oh boy, did I learn fast!
I refused to let anyone else give me a shot. If I was going to have to do this for the rest of my life, I wanted to do it—I was going to do the first one and the consecutive thousands. From my hospital bed, I had all sorts of visitors: a dietitian/nutritionist, nurses, diabetes educators; they also had me watch a video of a guy that was a “coach” who talked about all diabetics as being on the same team. I remember the opener very well.. he said, something similar to “there used to be 2 million people with diabetes.. and now, there’s 2 million and one! Welcome to the team!” That “one” was me. At that point, I don’t think I was quite processing. I was definitely taking things in, but by no means was it real. I did not know what the next 10 years would hold…
Part of this blog has been working through my “real-time” thoughts and emotions, but I know that I would also like to journal about the different experiences (good and bad!) that have filled a decade. (Saying “decade” makes it feel very official).
Thank you, Lord, for holding my hand, charting my course, and making my life sweet.
Here’s to a decade of diabetes!