Thursday, November 1, 2012

Choose Life


Ten years.

Ten years ago.

Ten years ago today...

...I woke up at home, drove to the doctor, had bloodwork done and headed to the hospital to spend five days in intensive care while they tried to get my diabetic ketoacidosis under control and get my blood sugar below 36.

I had lost 35 pounds. I was desperately sick. I was scared. I thought I was dying.

Ten years ago today I heard the words "you have diabetes" and my entire life changed.

I learned how to count carbs. I learned how to check my own sugar. How to give myself 5 needles (and often more) a day, every day. How to deal with terrifying lows (because they are all terrifying in the first few weeks).

I learned that I could sweat through all my clothes if the low was bad enough. I learned that yawns meant I was dropping...or I was climbing. Either way - yawning became a key signal for me that something was up. I learned that, when everyone and every thing suddenly become very annoying, it's because my sugar is dropping...not because it's really annoying.

I started carrying a purse for the first time in my life and I stuffed it full of candy, juice boxes and a million test strips.

I ordered a medic alert bracelet and I found out that I could not longer donate blood. I cried when they told me that. For the first time in my life I was afraid to be alone.

Ten years ago today, my life changed.

And despite all of those things I mentioned, it changed for the better.

Diabetes taught me fear but from that fear sprang courage. Courage to try new things that used to terrify me. Courage to look at my life and decide that I needed to change it. Courage to say yes to things I never dreamed I could do.

Maybe it's because I suddenly felt mortal. Perhaps a diagnosis taught me that life can change on a dime. Or my priorities changed because I realized that my body will not make it without a lot of help from me. It is probably all of things, and more.

But my life now is what I make it. I take charge, I make things happen. I don't wait around for things to happen to me. Because I hear the clock ticking in the background and it reminds me every day to choose life.

And so I do.

Ten years ago today, I thought I was dying.

Little did I know I was about to come to life.


  1. You are a powerful force of inspiration in the diabetes world and this is why that is. You take a bad hand and turn it to your favour. Its an admirable quality that I know for certain I don't possess to the kind of degree that you do.
    I'm glad you're here, I'm glad to call you my friend even if it was something like a disease that brought me to you.
    10 years - is something to be proud of. Welcome to the decade club!
    I still find it weird that we are only a few months apart on the D-diagnosis.

  2. Such a great post. Ten years is a big deal!

    I, too, feel like I take more charge of my life now thanks to diabetes than I used to. I'm sure it would have happened eventually without our little disease, but it certainly helped move me along.

    Here's to the next ten years!

  3. Powerful force of inspiration, indeed!

  4. 10 years. Wow!! I have to say that I think you rock. I love how well you've incorporated exercise into your life and not let diabetes stand in your way. In fact, when I read your posts I'm always struck by the idea that you are a runner (or swimmer) first and a diabetic second. I know that's not possible, but it always seems that way :)

    Thanks for sharing, I totally needed to read this post today (yup almost 3 weeks after you wrote We are on our 7 year diaversary today and reading about adults who live WELL with diabetes always makes me feel more reassured about the future!