The year was 1984.
No, this isn't an Orwellian story full of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and public mind control. Though, it does have some of the same elements in a sense: perpetually battling Highs & Lows in a Never-Ending War, a need for pervasive surveillance of one's health, and the requirement that one constantly be disciplined to control mind and emotions.
You guessed it. This was the Start Of My D-Story.
It was most likely March, but could have been early April. Clearly, it was sometime just after my 5th birthday on Feb. 1.
That's when Type 1 Diabetes came into my life.
An exact date isn't known, as we didn't catalog that and any diagnosis records from Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit have long since been destroyed. However, we know it came on the heels of my birthday following my maternal grandfather's death in late January that year.
However, despite the exact date uncertainty, I've now made an executive decision that March 10 is going to be the actual Dia-versary for me. The reason is that today I received a 2-day rush delivery from Minimed - a replacement Paradigm 722 pump that is being swapped for my current Paradigm known as Scarface that has been sucking up too much battery life. So, this package arrived and made the day. And now I've named my new pump Bacon Gibbs - (thanks to creativity of several, including CALpumper!). Awesome.
So, the arrival of Bacon Gibbs seemed like a perfect anniversary gift to mark my 26th year, so that's what I'm using it as. Today is the day. From now on.
But in marking that yearly date on the calendar, it means looking back to that time in the 84 - a year when Ronald Reagan was our country's leader, when we saw movie classics like Terminator, Ghostbusters, Karate Kid, Temple of Doom, and Sixteen Candles. Of course, it was also a month when the NFL's Baltimore Colts packed up trucks and moved to Indianapolis in the middle of the night.
My Diagnosis Tale: An overnight visit to the paternal grandparents' home wasn't uncommon, as I was the first grandson and had many spoils as a result of their love. But the unfolding of events that day were anything but common, at least up to that point in my life. Awake often during the night. Excessive thirst. Frequent bathroom trips. Moodiness (for a 5-year-old). My grandparents explained these symptoms to my parents, who instantly knew there was a problem - as my mom has been a Type 1 since she's been 5.
Urine tests, which were mostly all that was available at the time, showed results that were very high. A quick visit to the pediatrician's office had that doc pointing to diabetes, but him wanting to send me for blood tests and admission at Children's. My mom recalls standing in the hallway crying, and having a staff member at this doctor's office saying to her, "Don’t worry, it’s not that bad.” Her response: “You obviously don’t know what is involved in this or what it is, or you wouldn’t have the nerve to say that to me.”
Once at Children's, tests confirmed the suspicions and I stayed there for three days, since I'd been diagnosed early in the "honeymoon" phase and since my parents already knew most of what they were instructing - diet, injections, other management aspects.
Once out of the hospital, memories aren't many as I was so young. There's one I do remember, and I've catalogued in my mind as: "My first injection." This may not be the case, but it's good enough for me as that's how I recall it. At this time, I was sitting on the couch in my grandparents' house and refused to let it come near me. There was an orange. Their Brittanies (family dog, up til my time) were present. I didn't want the shot. But, ultimately, the reality prevailed and I ended up with my pants down and the needle going into the behind. The first of many injections, which would last for almost two decades until the time when an insulin pump came into my life.