i was in grade 7 and was 12 years old when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. i weighed 62 lbs. i was as "skinny as a rail" according to my uncle. he is the one who told my mom that i looked sick and should probably be looked at by our doctor.
mom took me to the doctor, who told her i was just a skinny kid.
home we went.
i remember drinking ALOT! i remember peeing ALOT! i remember drinking and peeing at the same time. i was a member of the Girl Guides of Canada, and in October of 1974 we went on a trip to Pennsylvania. we stayed at other families homes. it was a trade. we stayed with Girl Scouts and the next spring they would come and stay with us. we took a bus to the states. i remember sitting on that bus (with no bathroom), and having to pee soooo bad! at every stop we made i was the first off the bus, and the first in line for the bathroom. i am sure the leaders and other kids must have noticed. i'm sure the family i stayed with must have noticed. this little skinny kid who peed all the time. this little skinny kid who ate like a grown man!!! my teacher finally called my mom one day, and told her that she thought there must be something wrong, because i was spending a lot of time in the bathroom. and she told my mom that she followed me in there because at first she thought i was just trying to get out of class.
back to the doctors we went, and this time my mother told him that she wanted bloodwork done, because she and others had noticed these symptoms and she wanted them checked out.
as it happened, i was home from school the day the doctors office called. i had what seemed like a bad case of pink eye. it was a couple days after my 12th birthday. i had gone shopping with my mom, and we had a great big chocolate sunday afterwards. when we got home my dad called and said that the doctor had called him and he wanted us at the hospital NOW! he must have told my mom what the doctor said, but i don't think she told me then. i just remember my mom making arrangements for someone to pick up my little sister from school and driving to the hospital.
when we arrived, they did some more bloodwork, and we were told my blood sugar was over 500. that was before metric took over! insulin was given, and i was told by the nurses that i would have to do this every day for the rest of my life.
i still remember the oranges and the syringes with the bottles of "insulin" that i used to practice on.
i was in the hospital for 2 weeks. during that time, they got my sugars "under control" and i put on 23 lbs!! testing for sugar was done by peeing in a cup, and putting a tablet in a test tube and adding pee and water to it. it foamed and bubbled, and turned colour which you then compared to a chart.
neg, 1+ 2+3+ or 4+, that was the scale. no such thing as a glucose meter available to patients back then. soon after i came home, the test strips became available, so burning bubbles were a thing of the past! food was measured, and meals were scheduled like living on an army base. sleep was scheduled, snacks, every element of life had a time attached to it. no longer was i able to go to the candy store with my friends, and for 25cents, get a lovely little brown bag full of candy. gone were the days when the ice cream truck came rolling down the street and i could go and pick out my favourite treat! diabetes sucked! it really did. things like sleeping over at a friends house was a thing of the past. their parents wouldn't know how to measure out my food, or check for lows in the middle of the night. or give injections.
i am glad that things have improved for T1 kids today. it still sucks, but it sucks a little less.
so 36 years have passed, and now i am using a pump, and enjoying life. i have 3 great kids, 2 charming grandkids, a husband who worries about me worse than my mother ever did! i work, i play and i enjoy life.
i wont let diabetes stand in my way. i wont let diabetes rule!!