Hi, It's me Gwyneth. Today marks 5 years of Type 1 Diabetes for me. It has been crazy and amazing at the same time. So many emotions run through my head when I think about having Type 1 for 5 years. I feel proud because it is really hard to deal with it everyday. I even feel a little fear because it is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. But most of all I feel joy because I meet new people and have new experiences because of it. I remember the day I was diagnosed like it was yesterday.
I was 9 years old. I was pulled out of school about a half an hour early so I could go to the doctor. I had been acting and feeling super weird... I was drinking 3 water bottles at school and asked for way too many bathroom passes, all of a sudden I was shaken and didn't want to do anything, I even started snapping and getting mad at everyone. Those of you reading this who know me know how optimistic and energetic I am, you would probably take me to the doctor too. My mom and dad were worried. I was drinking so much water they said I couldn't have any more after 6:30 so I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom at night. I would wake up at midnight and silently drink all the water left in the cups.
We live in San Luis Obispo but our doctor was in Atascadero so we drove up for our 3:00 appointment. Our doctor, Dr. McNerney (who rocks by the way), saw us right away. He talked to me about my symptoms and he said he thought he knew what was wrong but I had to do a urine test to be sure. So we did. And a few minutes later he came in and sat down. I had NO idea that he was about to tell us something that would forever change the way we live. He said that the test showed that I had something called diabetes... my mom started crying (she also put on her sunglasses so I wouldn't see that she was crying, I could tell though). I was confused. The only thing I knew was that my mom was crying and she never cries so I knew it was bad. The thing is I thought Dr. McNerney said I had Dying-Babies (I thought I had killed kids or I couldn't have kids when I grew up or something) but only thing I wanted to do was make my mom feel better. So I went over to her gave her a hug, rubbed her back and tried to reassure her by telling her I will be fine and that everything would work out ok. She kept crying so I wanted to ask my doctor what was wrong with me. He said that I had to go to Sierra Vista Hospital.
At Sierra Vista I got an IV in my arm which I named Optomus Prime because naming your equipment makes it way more fun that way. I was still very confused so I wanted to what "dying-babies" was and what was wrong with me, I asked the doctor, could you please tell me more about the Dying-Babies that I have?" He automatically told me that I wouldn't kill any babies which made me so happy that I didn't care what I had anymore. Because anyone who knows me knows that I love babies and kids. So he gave us some information. I learned that I would have to test my blood sugar every day and dose insulin for food everyday. I also learned that I didn't do anything to get Type One Diabetes and that it was my body that attacked my pancreas. That makes insulin so we all eat. I got a bunch of visitors who brought books for me to read while I was there. My teacher Mrs. Dean came and she brought a color in poster and we colored. Then she prayed with me, and we colored more. Then the doctor came in and we were getting the coloring stuff off the bed and a marker somehow flung across the room and hit the doctor. He said he was glad it wasn't poop because he said monkeys fling their poop.
The doctor said I had to go to Childrens Hospital in Los Angles. I could only eat cheese and meat for dinner, so we went to Vons to get salami and cheese sticks while dad went and got some essentials for the road trip (Including my teddy bear because I was scared of getting shots). We drove off at 8:00 and got to Childrens Hospital LA around 1 am. There I got trained and learned more. Then when we got home I remember that I was hungry and scared to eat. I wanted to eat a pumpkin bar..So we counted it up and I took a shot and we set a timer for 15 minutes, when I took a bite we clapped feeling so proud. Almost as if we beat type 1. It kinda sounds like a small victory now, but I still treasure it. I remember thinking maybe I can use this and my faith in Jesus to help other kids with diabetes. That has become my goal in life.
Now 5 years later I realize that people make rude and ignorant comments, and people think I got diabetes because I ate too much food or something. But that means it is my job to educate those around me. I am just so grateful for my parents for helping me, and my siblings for being nice to me when I am cranky. I also wanted to say thanks to my friends... (with diabetes and without diabetes) for sticking up for me and just helping me through those rough days. It means the world to me. I am so happy that I have a community behind me to beat diabetes together! All I have to do is think positive and remember that my glass is always half full.
I'm so proud of you! I want to call you Brave Heart. You are courageous and beautiful and kind and generous to share your experience and see yourself as an empowered advocate. I have learned so much from you, and look forward to learning more and cheering for you from afar. You are a formidable force. Way to go, Gwyneth the Great!ReplyDelete
Wonderful words to educate, Gwyneth. Genny Bolton (JDRF)ReplyDelete
There are many type 1 diabetics reading that understand everything you wrote. 31 years after my own diagnosis, I still remember not being able to drink enough water. Wow.ReplyDelete
You are an amazing young woman! Thanks for sharing your story.
Wow, Gwyneth. What a story! You told it so well, and I love your spirit through it all. If your goal is to help others through your struggle and your faith in Jesus, I can't wait to see how it all plays out. You have a tremendous Advocate walking through life with you. Marti KesslerReplyDelete