Today is my 32nd birthday. It kind of snuck up on me this year. Yesterday I was comparing high school graduation dates with a colleague when I realized that, holy smokes, my birthday was coming up in one day! How did that happen? I guess I have been a little preoccupied with another, more important, pending birthday.

Diabetes anniversaries were never really a big deal in my household. With two of us living with the condition, it was just another day. In fact, I am not 100% sure of the actual date, so I often look back at my D-life on my birthday.

It was a long time ago, but I’m pretty sure that it was wintertime when I was diagnosed and I wasn’t in kindergarten yet. so I must have been four years old. I’m pretty sure my fifth birthday was on the horizon.

I can remember my mom poking my finger and testing my blood with her tester. It was nearing bedtime and I was hungry. I wanted soda pop with sugar in it. My mom made a deal with me. She would poke my finger and if the number was OK she would let me have some of the sugary goodness.

In those days, testers were not electronic. It was just a vial of strips. You applied the blood to the strip, waited 60 seconds, and then wiped the blood away. Another 60 seconds later, you compared the colors on the strip with the colors on the vial. My sugar was 240 and I drank diet pop for the first time ever. It was gross.

I also remember staying at grandma’s the next day, where I spent most of my time running up and down the steps from the kitchen to the bathroom. Grandma had strict instructions to only allow me to drink water, so I would gulp down a glass of water at the kitchen sink and then run up to the bathroom to pee.

Mom, dad, and I were on the road early the next morning for the hour-long trip to the nearest children’s hospital.

Many people can attribute their diagnosis to some sort of severe illness — a trigger that occurs just before the excessive thirst and frequent urination start. In my case I got such an illness shortly after diagnosis.

Who knows which condition caused the other (or if they were even related), but I had a case of scarlet fever that just wouldn’t die around my sixth birthday. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. They kept testing for strep throat and the test kept coming back negative. It was Christmas time when I broke out in the characteristic red, hot, itchy, and burning rash, but I was on-again, off-again sick through early March and my 6th birthday. I wore my favorite navy blue velvet dress to kindergarten that day and Big Bird came to the school to deliver maple-iced cupcakes and a helium balloon. I got to meet Big Bird, but I spent the rest of the day in the back room on my cot.

Thankfully, things have been less traumatic on the health front lately. The Big D behaved itself for most of this past year and I can now say that I have been living with the disease for 28 years. While my thyroid and cholesterol levels and digestive nerve endings sometimes give me trouble, I’m still hanging in there. And so are my kidneys, eyes, and feet. There’s always a silver lining, you just have to know where to look.

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3 Comments on “32!”

  1. saffy Says:

    Happy, happy birthday to you!!! 🙂

  2. Mom Says:

    The day you were diagnosed was January 7th, 1983.
    You were just shy of your 5th birthday.

    This is a sentimal date. It was my grandmother Herrick’s (granny’s mom) birthday and it is also the day Grampy passed away. For some reason this date keeps recurring in my life.

    You had been accepted to the Friendly House and I was
    worried they might not want a child with a serious health condition. But Miss Jan and Ms. Kuiper were not at all worried. As you know they took great care of you.

    Today is your birthday and soon you will be a mom.
    We have come a long way.

    I love you!


  3. Katie I. Says:

    Happy (belated) birthday!! Just think… the next birthday you celebrate will be your first as a MOM! 🙂

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