What I had to do, what I shouldn't do, what I might be able to someday do, and what I simply couldn't do. My parents would have to give me shots, I shouldn't eat any sugar, I might someday be able to have children, and I simply couldn't ignore any symptoms of hypoglycemia, which, by the way, is a huge and complicated word for anyone to handle, let alone a three year old!
And so, the competition was on, who was going to win, me or diabetes? The first competition was when my doctor told my parents and I about this camp that I could go to with a bunch of other kids who had diabetes, too. What? You mean I'm not the only one? Because in my small, rural ND town, I was the token diabetic. You could officially go at age 8. Not fair. I wanted to go now. I did all the things my parents asked and paid extra special attention to handle random "important" things with this disease and I was allowed to go when I was 7! Now, I must be honest, my birthday was just a few weeks after the session ended but still, you had to be 8 to go and they let me go at age 7. Ha! In your face, diabetes!
As I got older, I knew it was concerning, a kid with type 1 diabetes on the basketball team or running track. Small town ND, no school nurse or anyone to help me. But I wanted to challenge this damned disease, challenge my body, myself. So I was involved in sports just like all my friends without their sidekick of diabetes. Then I discovered running and not only did I love it, I was good at it! Distance running! It was work to ensure everything would be okay, lots of snacks packed in places along my ten mile route to ensure I had something just in case. But I was doing it and it felt like I was defying diabetes with each stride and it felt good! So good that running a marathon made my bucket list in 8th grade because I wondered if I could actually do something like that. Had anyone with diabetes ever? Well, of course, I know now, yes, but remember, back in the 80's there was no Google to determine that for sure so in my little corner of the world, I figured I'd be the first to have that goal! :) And I'm happy to report that I can and did run a marathon, too!
Having a family is a big part of my world and when I was diagnosed in the 70's girls with type 1 growing up to have babies wasn't necessarily a guarantee. This is probably the one thing I shouldn't do or maybe couldn't do that resonated with me and my fears as I matured. Like so much of my life, I can't articulate when I understood that but I do remember dating my now husband and the moment I drug him to yet another one of the many "getting to know the family" events and he was playing football with my cousins young kids in my aunt's yard. I saw the joy on his face, the ease he had connecting to kids he barely knew...and I vividly remember wondering to myself in that moment, "Will I ever be able to give him that?"
Well, diabetes, I beat you in that battle, too. Twice, in fact! Thanks to my beautiful healthy daughters, and my husband! :) It's all of these little things and big things all wrapped up that make the I CAN so sweet! The best part of the story of my life is that if you actually read the book or looked at pictures that are scrapped away, you wouldn't read about diabetes and you certainly can't see it in pictures. It's there, yes, it's always there, but as the author I don't give it the title. My story is about all the things I've done, all the people in my life, all the experiences that we all hope to have, and it's all just so good.
So yes, I have diabetes, and although I never would've chosen this club or would choose it for anyone ever. I'm in it. I'm in the club! And no days are easy , it's a battle every day, every moment, but there are so many advances and so much to look forward to, and when I look back at my life and look at my world today, I am so thankful because in my humble opinion, this life of mine is pretty sweet, regardless of blood sugars! I believe it is those struggles that make it that way, and I CAN keep doing this!