Reflecting on my Dia-versary: Notes to my 9-year old self

October 9, 2012By 3 Comments

We all remember specific dates in our lives; our parents remember where they were when Kennedy was assassinated, and our generation can tell you what we were doing when 9/11 occurred.  But how do we all react when we are sitting right on top of a date that affected us most personally, or changed the course of our lives forever?  For everyone in my family, and we all admit that we need to be more positive, we harp on the ‘bad’ dates.  The dates when things all started to go south, whatever that may have been, a death, a disease, a divorce.  Since being with my husband James, he has helped me to try to see the positive in everything, and to not focus so much on the past, or any specific dates in the past that have negatively affected me.  It is easier said than done, and I think more than anything, to a certain extent it is healthy to reflect (not dwell) on why that date meant something, good or bad, to us personally.

Today, instead of sharing with you every last detail of what I had for dinner the day I was diagnosed, or why I fully believe I’m awful at math to this day because I had a test that I had been dreading studying for and my hospitalization was the perfect excuse to get out of it, I want to simply talk about why I am who I am because of that day.  Diabetes doesn’t define me, as many of us Type 1’s will say, but I like to add, it has completely shaped who I am to this day.  While I am sure I could remember days before Oct. 9th, 1990 at 9 years old, it’s all quite a blur.  I became an adult at 9.  I made a choice at 9, to grow up super fast.  My future was completely laid out for me at 9.  Anyone who knows me, and doesn’t quite understand why I am such an anxious and compulsive person, can only imagine what runs through a child, a teenager, and a young adult’s mind taking care of life’s responsibilities and adding a chronic disease on top of it all.

So what, it’s been 22 years.  What does it matter?  It matters that I can say I have no complications.  It matters that I can say I beat the odds of my idiot pediatrician that day in the office who told me I wouldn’t be able to have children (remember, this was 22 years ago and ignorance about diabetes was at an all time high).  It matters that I still make a conscious decision every single day to remember my juice boxes, check my blood sugar, and stop whatever I am doing to pay attention to my low reservoir alarm.  It matters that I make my disease a priority, that I make it matter, and still take care of all the other minor details in life.  I matter, and if I have made this disease matter to at least one other person then I have done my job.  I always joke, and say that God gave me this disease for a reason, to help others, and if I didn’t have it, I would probably be on the sidewalk somewhere in NY or L.A. playing my guitar and trying to make it big.  I would have never been a nutrition major in college; I would have never gotten so heavily involved with JDRF.  I would have never cared as much as I do about my own health and body.  I probably would have really messed up in life.  Thank you diabetes for keeping me on the straight and narrow.

However, today is one of those days, 22 years or not, I am really tired.  I go through phases, where I put a ton of energy and passion into trying to helping others, through writing, advocating and volunteering.  I am constantly on my diabetes soap box.  Sometimes I get burn out, as we all do living with this disease, and I just wish it would go away for a day.  So on my D-Day today, I give myself permission to take a break… sort of.  I still need to check my blood sugars and act accordingly, but maybe to just be a little easier on myself.  Today I will reflect on why I have been a good person over the last 22 years, and not just a diabetic.

Here are some things I would say to my 9-year old self 22 years ago:

-Don’t rush, stop rushing, slow the hell down, you are NOT GOING TO DIE!

-Care a little bit more about your health and body between age 19-25, but don’t stress out to the point where it gives you anxiety and ruins any happy moments you try to enjoy.

-Go to school to be a Nurse Practitioner or Endocrinologist, becasue there are too many people that need more people to really truely understand and help them live with this disease and your nutrition background will only give you so much street cred.  Or, on the flip side, go to school for art and music and just focus on taking care of yourself.  Choose one.

-Don’t ever rely on anyone else to fully take care of you, and stop trying to get people around you to fully understand you, they never will.

– Give yourself a break every now and then and a pat on the back.

– Don’t get mad at the people around you who don’t see things the same way you do, or understand why you do the things you do.  Be happy just knowing you are comfortable in your own skin.

-Don’t change who you are for anyone, as there will be many people who will want to change you.

– That cookie or that chinese food was so not worth the high blood sugar, try to think twice next time.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Veronica says:

    Our hearts are heavy but full of pride for a job well done.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Thinking of you, and so happy you are who you , are,howevervlife’s course has shaped you. Big hugs…

  3. Literally Just wrote about mine which is 15 today 🙂 . I made sure to mention camp too! Hope all is well
    Rachel

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