Today is Hallowe'en.
Tomorrow is my 12-year diaversary.
Twelve years ago today, I woke up feeling awful. I woke up exhausted. I woke up thirsty. I woke up having probably lost a pound or two since the day before. I woke up craving sugar. I woke up knowing something was terribly wrong and hoping that the appointment I had made for November 1st would shed some light on the problem...even though I had pretty much figured out the problem already. I just didn't want to admit it to myself.
Twelve years ago tomorrow, I woke up in my own bed for the last time in a week. I would be misdiagnosed before noon, re-diagnosed correctly by about 4pm, in the hospital by 5 and in intensive care before dinner. I would have called my parents trying to be brave and broken down in tears before I could even say 'hi dad'. I would be put on an insulin IV and assured that insulin would make me feel better. It did. In fact by the time my parents showed up around 8pm I was already feeling better. Probably because my blood sugar was down to 20 rather than 35.
Every day has 24 hours in it. Every hour has 60 minutes in it and every minute has 60 seconds in it. Some days, some hours, some minutes have a bigger impact on our lives than others.
The day of my car accident when I was 16 years old aged me. In the hours, days and weeks that followed that horrible day, I grew up quickly. By the time I left that hospital, I was no longer the little girl who had gone in. I had grown up, matured and learned a lot of life lessons that helped me when I found myself in the same intensive care unit a decade later.
Some of the nurses recognized me from my last stay. I (thankfully) wasn't in the same room again but, as soon as those doors opened, I instantly remembered the smells, the sounds, the feeling of vulnerability and the stubborn refusal to cry no matter what happened next. At least not until my family had left the room.
That week 12 years ago was another one of those weeks where I was forced to mature quickly to adapt to my new situation. I came out of that hospital stronger and braver than I was when I went in.
I am who I am today because of many things. My ability to handle life's curveballs is due largely to that car accident and to that diabetes diagnosis. Those moments taught me how to handle physical and emotional pain with courage and how to separate the little things in life from the big ones.
I wouldn't wish either of those weeks on anyone. But I am grateful that they are part of my own history. My life would not be nearly as rich or wonderful if it wasn't for the moments that taught me what is important...and what is not.