Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Twenty years ago...

The date 20 years ago was August 22, 1987.

In the weeks prior to August 22, 1987, I was spending time in Florida with my Mom, Dad, and older brother. We were staying at my aunt’s house with my two older cousins in West Palm Beach. I was five. I think we went to Disney that year. I somewhat remember a family photograph that shows my brother and I eating blue cotton candy at SeaWorld and I have to assume that it was this taken during this particular trip.

What I know for sure is that I was sick. I remember wetting the bed EVERY night and how upset everyone was that they had to change the sheets each night. I remember the trip to the doctor’s office and the diagnosis-I had the flu. And as for the bed-wetting: his advice was to give me nothing to drink after dinner.

I remember looking up at the cabinets that held the glasses that were out of my reach and wondering how I could get one. And if I couldn’t get a glass, then how could I get water from the automatic dispenser on the refrigerator? I was desperately dehydrated. I remember that I would sneak into the bathroom, run the cold water over a facecloth and suck the water out. They couldn’t figure out how I was still wetting the bed and I wasn’t about to tell them my secret!

On August 22, 1987, we were home from Florida and my mother brought me to see my pediatrician. I was still sick. I remember sitting in the chair to have my blood sugar tested. The doctor, however, was already sure of my diagnosis, having been able to smell ketones. The blood test confirmed his suspicions and changed my life forever.

The next week was spent in the pediatric ward of the hospital. I remember the Styrofoam cup that the nurse placed over my IV. I know now it was to keep me from pulling it out, but at the time I was told it was the house that my IV lived in (or something equally as juvenile). I remember hiding under the hospital bed in an effort to dodge my evening shot. I remember playing Tic-Tac-Toe in the playroom, the stuffed animals I received as gifts and visitors who came, the jello and the night that my Mother and Grandmother dutifully and lovingly separated the meat and potatoes from the corn and peas, so that I would eat dinner.

What I don’t remember is life before diabetes. It's been 20 years of ups and downs, of normal everyday living coupled with the demands of a broken pancreas. Here's to 20 more years--Bring it on!


Scott K. Johnson said...

Happy anniversary and congratulations on a job well done so far!

Here's to the next 20!

Bernard said...


Happy D-Anniversary. I'll wish you what I've wished everyone so far. That in the not too distant future (say about 10 years) we'll be celebrating the anniversaries of our cure. Call me Mr. Optimist.

Here's to continued good health.

Nicole P said...

Hi Mel -

Congrats on a life well-lived with the D... Write me and tell me about what's happening at your place of business... Thinking of you...


caramaena said...

Ditto what everyone else has says - congrats on a live well lived so far :)

Sandra Miller said...


I didn't realize your D-Anniversary was just three days after Joseph's.

Congratulations on living well with this thing and for staying strong.

And for inspiring us all by doing both.

Penny said...

Congrats on making it to the 20 year mark. Here's to many many more great years to come.

Amylia said...

Congrats on 20 years of a good, well lived life with diabetes. Here's to a zillion more....

Kevin said...

I thought this was going to be a post about how Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play...

Like everyone else has said: Well done, and keep up the good work!

kitter said...

Congrats on 20 years Mel... I've got 15 coming up in October... YAY to surviving this long without killing too many doctors!!

Chrissie in Belgium said...

Mel - congratualtions! You are going strong. I was thinking about how you mention that you do not mention anything BEFORE you became diabetic. Not me either! Isn't that a little strange. I was older than you 10 years, almost 11! And now I have had it for 45 years! But why do I remember NOTHING about all those years before diabetes? 10 isn't that young, I should remember SOMETHING but I don't. The things I remeber are stuff that people have told me about or that I have seen in photos.

Anonymous said...


What a wonderful attitude you seem to have about living with diabetes! Keep it up!

Because of your blog about living with diabetes, I thought you might be interested in helping out in the International Diabetes Federation's campaign for World Diabetes Day.

We are in the midst of our preparations for the first UN-observed World Diabetes Day ( on 14 November this year, and I wanted to ask you if you would like to help us to spread awareness of this worldwide event and the theme we have chosen for it this year - Diabetes in Children and Adolescents.

It is estimated that over 200 children develop type 1 diabetes every day and there's no question that the disease often hits disadvantaged communities the hardest, and that children in the developing world can die because their parents are unable to afford medication. In many countries diabetes is still considered an adult disease and as a result can be diagnosed late with severe consequences, including death. Even after diagnosis many children experience poor control and develop complications early.

This is why one of our key objectives for World Diabetes Day this year is to double the number of children covered by the Life for a Child Program - We also want to encourage initiatives that can help to reduce diabetic ketoacidosis (diabetic coma) and to promote the sort of healthy lifestyles which can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in children.

A version of the diabetes circle, the icon we used for our Unite for Diabetes campaign has now been adopted for World Diabetes Day and we have produced a number of web banners that you can view and download here

The way in which you can help us spread awareness of World Diabetes Day is to add one of the banners to your own blog, which we would really appreciate.

The UN's World Diabetes Day Resolution (61/225) was really just the first goal of an ambitious campaign that we have been leading. This is the first time a non-communicable disease has been recognised as a serious threat to global public health and we are hoping now to further raise awareness globally of the disease that is predicted to contribute to 6% of the world’s mortality in 2007.

If you would like to know more about the UN Resolution and our plans for World Diabetes Day this year, just drop me a line and I will get back to you with more information.

Many thanks,
Stephanie Tanner
IDF - Communications Assistant