Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Summer of Sixteen

Reading Kerri's post about LADA's, childhood onset, and all assorted in between made me think back to that summer of 1998(pre-diabetes). I have alot of prediagnosis memories,diet (anything)was a four letter word and something I never even considered following. I ate what I wanted,at regular meal times and in-between "snacks"wasn't something we did, if you were hungry you just tanked up at the meal.Rarely got sick,rarely went to a doctor, was pretty healthy. Chicken pox at 6(it was en vogue,we all had to go get infected and get it over with), Shingles at 14...and 2 years later my immune system kicked into high gear and the first insidious symptoms appeared. Thirst.Hunger. Moodyness. Ah, that moodyness, which my parents attributed to being a teenager, turned a sweet naive child into a raging hormonal, door-slamming maniac. I was ready for adulthood.(at least, in my mind) Adulthood=drivers lisence and piercings, so I took Drivers Ed and got the piercings.Ironically,the piercings were the only thing not to get infected(as I took good care of them). The summer progressed,along with the number of gray hairs on my parents head and my symptoms, which they could only see the outside forms of.I really don't think they understood how living with undiagnosed diabetes can make you act, nor would they still. It was an entire summer,fall,and beginning of winter before it would be diagnosed as diabetes.(May-December) That was the summer I started to grow up,people diagnosed younger must still have a partial responsibility but at that age you must take immeadiete ownership of it and not depend on your parents. My parents never gave me a shot, although they occasionally drew up doses/provided the carb counts at meals. It always felt like my disease, and not their responsibility. I am not saying that parents should not take care of their kids,but when the kid is almost an adult it needs to be the kid doing most/all of the management. So it is always prediabetes....and postdiabetes,a childhood that ended at 16. Before, when the functions of my body were not of mortal concern, and after, when everything had to be watched, monitored, and recorded. I was not the best teenager with diabetes(probably a fact of little surprise) but I survived,and now I think that when I got it,wasn't really such a bad time to get it. It is hard for parents to let go...and especially where diabetes is concerned. The best time to get it would probably be at age 86, when one has about 2 months remaining of life but rarely do things work out that way. Diabetes feels like a part of me but it doesn't feel like something that I've known forever because I haven't. I remember summer days with ice cream trucks and slurpees and winter sledding parties with hot cocoa/marshmallows galore/cookies/snacks with no carb counts/calories/dietary restrictions.I'm glad for those memories,not just for me but for my parents/those who know me because its harder on them sometimes then it is for the PWD. I still had to adjust to alot of things-food restriction was the biggest of them. For an adult with newly diagnosed diabetes,it must be very tough to change everything you've ever known.For a child, its really hard but it eventually becomes the norm.Thats why many older type 2's just don't get it...they are so used to their eating habits that changing them is unthinkable. As a teenager I fought food restriction tooth and nail but eventually came to terms with it(getting a pump really, REALLY helped). Now it is all so normal that if there were to be a cure for diabetes tomorrow,I think it would take decades of therapy to stop thinking like a PWD.(if there is a cure, the support group meetings will no doubt turn into that!)

No comments: