40 years ago, on June 4, 1974, a Navy pediatrician diagnosed my juvenile diabetes, (Type 1.)
In 1974, diabetes was a very frightening condition, not easily tracked, and believed to be an unavoidable path to leg amputations and blindness. The doctor told me, with no equivocation, that my life would be short and difficult. On that same day, the doctor told my parents not to get involved with my struggles with daily living, lest I become dependent on them. I was 14-years-old.
I wrote in this blog about that day at least 2 times. I will try to find those posts, but here is a synopsis of the results of that huge change in my life. I gained much of this knowledge in just the last few years:
I didn’t feel badly, in the first 6 months. I applied my intellect to the problem, and stuffed the feelings. I learned to inject insulin into my body. At that time, no home glucose monitors existed; I peed in a cup, put some in a glass test tube, and tested for ketones. That was the only indicator that my blood glucose was high, and I needed the doctor to tell me what dose of insulin I should be taking. This was animal insulin — no chemically recreated human insulin for years.
After the first six months, I began to feel depressed more and more, and a feeling of who cares came over me. I didn’t overcome that feeling for longer than a few years at a time. I was married and divorced three times, always blaming him when the problems were often mine.
I couldn’t keep a job for more than two or three years; many of my jobs lasted less than a year. I was, (please pardon the cliche,) rudderless. Not until I settled here, alone and miserable, did I finally face up to my own character and behavior. That was when everything started to smooth out.
So I remember a lifetime full of carelessness, but now I am intentional about what I think and what I expect from myself. I received enormous, intense and life-changing blessings throughout my life, and I am grateful for them every day. I accept my family just as each member is, and I love them all dearly. I have made friends who are good for me, and I cherish them. I look forward to waking up in the morning; I feel and see and focus on different situations in my life, but, overall, I am content. I love my life, and I strive to maintain that love through my daily ups and downs.
So all is well.