My diagnosis came at age 5. The memory vividly entails a regular visit to my grandparents' house. Frequent urination. Unquenchable thirst and a bad taste in the mouth. I recall those, but not any fatigue or mood swings that we've all come to recognize as high BG symptoms now. But then, at that age, it was just odd and didn't register at first. My grandparents noticed, though, and mentioned this to my parents - my mom has been a Type I most of her life, as well, so she instantly knew the signs. So, the diagnosis came.
But aside from the diagnosis story, my grandparents' house also sets the scene for this blog's theme - insulin injections. There, on the coach in their front living room (the same one they have today), I remember that cold, metal needle injector. I remember being told, "It'll hurt a little." My mom injected it into my left. I struggled, and cried. A thought that still comes to mind today: "How will I ever get used to this?"
Well, it happened. We all know that. Second-nature. Teen years brought denial, and skipped injections that inevitably led to high blood sugars. That sadly carried over to college, until I met the angel who's now my loving, supportive and incredibly forgving/understanding/reality-checking/inspiring wife. She changed me.
But those insulin injections, which as child seemed like would be a part of life forever, are now non-existent. I don't recall the last time I filled a syringe with insulin and pumped it into myself. Had to be for a quick, high - but nothing comes to mind. Now, it's the age of the insulin pump. In May, I'll celebrate six years of pump therapy.
Do I miss the injections? At times. When an infusion set sits in a site too long, and you get those noticable marks to show it. I'd rather not take my shirt off as much as when on injections, for that reason alone. And, with injections, there was almost a way to forget about diabetes for a while when not injecting. With a pump, you're always connected - hell, even when disconnected during a shower. The only relief is when it's time for a site change, and you can take a repreive for a short time in between. Now, as I'm dubbed by my better half, I exist as "bionic man." You are always aware of the connection, and it can at times be limiting - don't move to quickly or suddenly, as you might come loose. Or, watch the tubage, as it could catch a doorknob or get caught in the chair.
Now, don't get me wrong: I'm all for pump therapy. I'm an advocate, 100 percent. My mom has called me the poster child for Minimed, relating to my incredible (albeit it shortlived) good control that came with my first pump. The potential for tight control exists, undeniably. My first months brought an A1c of 6.4 - my best ever, a polar opposite from the teens I had in my teen years (and once, have gone as high as 21!). Those conversations of being dead in 10 years never sunk in.
I'm paying, of course, for my behavior earlier in life. Complications are setting in. No one to blame but myself. But now, with Suzi's inspiration and help, I'm getting that under control. It's amazing how marriage opens up a world you'd never much noticed or cared about - yes, a future can exist. It has to. And it'll happen no matter what I'm doing and what condition I'm in. There's inspiration right there to be better, strive for tight control. And the pump is, at this point in time, the best way to achieve that.
Maybe, someday, our children will be the ones sitting on the grandparents' coach getting an infusion set attached for first time, wondering how they'll get used to it, and then later in life have a closed-loop system or artificial pancreas to resort to. Maybe even a cure.