A very good friend of mine - a woman that I am beyond proud to call Friend - has answered my request and allowed me to share, with you, her amazing and triumphant story. After 24 years of living with Diabetes she remains a source of inspiration for myself and many others.
So, without further ado, I give you Dewey's story:
I received a unique gift on January 19th, 1982, approximately two weeks before my tenth birthday. It wasn’t the usual kind of birthday present (ones in special boxes, or with pretty wrapping), but it certainly was memorable and had life-changing effects.
My grandmother came to visit our family in New York, shortly before we moved to Florida. While there, she noted I was losing weight everywhere except my stomach, and that I appeared more pale than usual. I also began drinking more and eating like crazy, though the food intake didn’t seem to help. My mom would often take my sister & I shopping, and while out, I frequently stopped due to my excessive thirst. My mom initially blew my frequent stops off, chalking it up to the quirks of a bratty child who hated shopping (& I did hate shopping, lol). Little did we know what would lie ahead.
My grandmother insisted that my mom have me checked, just to be safe. Thank goodness she did! What followed was a visit to the doctor (the same one who delivered my sister & I :D), and some needle sticks by another doctor who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. I’ll never forget that experience. The dude came in, cleared his throat (& stated his name), then proceeded to poke my arm. I’ve never been leery of needles, and am sure glad I didn’t let this fellow change that stance! He plain sucked at drawing blood! A day or two after the stick, my school class went on a field trip, and while riding in the bus, I felt every painful bump….Of course, it didn’t help having a bruise from the wrist to upper arm in the mix!
Shortly after testing was done, my mom received a call. She was told that my blood sugar was 400, and that I had Diabetes. While my mom was crumbling inside, I remained really strong. Some of that was probably due to naivete on my part, the rest had to do with my intrigue of what was to come.
In a word (or two), it was interesting & intriguing. Learning of my Diabetes did not sadden me at all. In fact, my reaction to it was the opposite. When I was put in the hospital, I went into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and with an upheld clenched fist, exclaimed “I’m gonna win!”
We all adapted quickly (family & I), but teen years were a bit tough, as the human body goes through its share of changes and the like. The biggest impact on my health was when my father died. It was sudden and shocking, to say the least, and my levels rollercoastered in reaction. When it started wreaking some havoc on other parts of my body (creatinine levels were up & I had the beginnings of background retinopathy in my left eye), I knew it was time to get back on track. After years of trying to correct things (and still losing ground), I started pump therapy. It is the best decision I ever made!
After 10 years of pumping, and 24 years of life with Diabetes, my attitude is pretty much the same. Though I’ve had my share of frustrations and let-downs (I particularly get frustrated if my sugar is too high…like Tiffany, I’m a hyperphobe, lol), I’ve reaped many benefits of having this unique gift. It’s helped keep me on top of medical things, which came in very handy when I helped Cary (a very close friend) through a stem cell transplant for his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I’ve never seen Diabetes as a curse, rather more of a blessing, a gift. I’m glad that Diabetes is all I have, and that in controlling it, I too can have a long & happy life. :)
Comments - as always - are open. I hope that Dewey's story is as much of an inspiration for you as it is for me. I only hope that, ten years from now, I am half as resilient and caring as this wonderful woman is.
Dewey, thank you. No matter how many times I hear it, your story continues to amaze me!