My Constant Companion for 28 Years

Today is the 28th anniversary of my diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes. Thanks to Facebook, I had the opportunity to review my many postings each July 27th over the past ten years. Exactly a decade ago I celebrated 18 years of living with diabetes and shared my joy of being complication free. Today at 28 years, I’ve now dealt with my first complication: diabetic retinopathy. Though difficult at times, I’m now familiar with the laser treatment and it’s not so scary.

Diabetes is a constant companion in my daily life. Whatever else is going on, each day I test my blood about ten times, deliver an injection of long-acting insulin, calculate and inject fast-acting insulin for meals, and gauge my activities from exercise to water consumption based on blood sugar management needs.

Fortunately, I tend to enjoy routine (and diabetes loves routine!). Also, I’ve long ago resigned myself to eating healthfully and enduring the blood sugar results when I choose to indulge! So, while diabetes is relentless in its presence, I don’t find it particularly bothersome. Most of the time.

So, on this anniversary, I’m going to focus on my precious life as I celebrate that diabetes hasn’t adversely impacted in (much) over the past 28 years.

I’ve been in a huge period of transition the past couple months! My last day at CBIZ was June 11th and my family promptly hit the road for our annual Northern California trip just two days later. Dennis, me, Sienna, and Mateo left our sweet dog Claira in the care of neighbors and drove up to Dennis’s hometown of Marysville first. We spent a few days relaxing with family and our dear friend John, including a fun day in Old Town Sacramento before the high heat hit. Next we spent two nights at my cousin Pam’s horse ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills. It’s was lovely to visit and get the kids on horses, even though the heat was oppressive! Finally, we traded the hot temperatures for Humboldt fog as we enjoyed a couple weeks with my family. Dennis and I spent most of the trip at our family ranch, making daytrips into town for activities.

Having this prolonged trip away provided a great transition period for me to adjust to life without a corporate job and time to embrace my new vocation as student and teacher. For the first week or so, I experienced this nagging feeling that there was something on my phone I needed to check. I realized that it was my old CBIZ email that was giving me these phantom pangs of responsibility. Instead of responding to inquiries and solving a seemingly endless string of management issues, my job was now to read a huge stack of historical texts.

While on vacation at the ranch, I got to finish a book on the Byzantine empire and start one on the Peloponnesian War while sitting by the pool. “I can’t believe this is my job right now!” I kept exclaiming to Dennis who lovingly sat beside me with a book for hours at a time. During this season we also enjoyed watching our Phoenix Suns in the NBA playoffs. They had a great run which was really fun for us!

Back home, I’ve been able to embrace my scholarly life and am learning the rhythms of my body (i.e. reading between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm is impossible!) so I can structure my days efficiently. Dennis and I had about 10 days at home sans children as Sienna and Mateo stayed up in Humboldt with family before my mom (aka Gaga) brought them home in the middle of July. During that stretch, we had a lovely ladies reunion with my friend Melinda and I got a lot of studying done. When Gaga and the kids got back, we had fun shopping for “school clothes” for me and exploring San Diego in the summer time between study sessions. Next week starts full-time training on campus and I’m so excited to dig in!

Several years ago, I realized that one thing I never prayed about was my diabetes. I quickly changed that and started praying for God’s wisdom and guidance when blood sugar management became overwhelming. Through God’s grace in teaching me acceptance, my perspective on diabetes has become more flexible. I can see how routines and habits can be helpful for a season and then need to be adjusted as life or my body changes. I expect there will be some diabetes routine tweaks in order as the school years begins and my daily life looks different.

Sienna asked me the other day if I would tell my students about my diabetes. I paused, since I hadn’t considered it at all yet. Considering my desire to be open and transparent I replied, “Yes, I definitely will”. I want to be authentically present to my students and diabetes has been a part of me for 28 years.

Diabetes is a constant companion and it will be along for the ride as I start this next chapter of life.

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