Dear Type 1 Diabetes,
Some days I just want to tell you to “Suck It”.
You entered our lives eight years ago. We don’t know why… we didn’t invite you. Heck, you were a stranger to us at the time and I was always taught to never let strangers into my house. I remember Tom saying he couldn’t see things, and that he was going to the bathroom all day long, but you didn’t even cross my mind. At the Urgent Care, they told us that his blood sugar was 300, but that was as high as their meter went. And blood sugar, what’s that? At the ER, they were even more vague, although the blood sugar thing was even higher. They hooked him up with IV’s, ran some tests and gave us some papers telling us that your cousin was visiting because of Tom's age… Type 2 diabetes.
I went home and cried, but only after stopping for lunch and not knowing what to order – how could you control us in just the first few minutes of us knowing you?
The next day we went to a different hospital, saw a family friend who was an endocrinologist, and he was the one that introduced us and said that we’d be living with you forever.
You were the unexpected guest we never invited and couldn’t send home.
I was mad. Tom was mad. We were both scared. We weren’t even married, yet our happy household went from three (Buddy was around then) to four. We didn’t have room for you. But we had no choice.
Since you’d be staying with us forever, I wanted to do a background check on you. What were you going to take from us? What were you going to ask of us? How would you living with us change our lives? Commonly you live with young kids (you are cruel I tell you). Sometimes you live with grownups. Sometimes you choose your new home when you have already visited people that live there. In our case, it was a totally random visit.
There were many months where I wanted you to pack up and leave. You might have been primarily hanging out with Tom, but you were affecting all of us. You caused Tom to get hooked on drugs that calmed you down. You ruined many workouts. You gave us many sleepless nights. You left us wondering, “why did you choose us to come visit?”.
But you know what, now that you have been with us eight years, you aren’t that bad.
Yes, there are still days when I wish you would leave and think that you have overstayed your welcome. Those three a.m. wake-ups to Tom’s continuous glucose meter beeping, telling me that his blood sugar levels are plummeting as I look at him drenched in sweat are no fun – it’s like you are partying when we want to sleep. When we are out on a run and he starts arguing with me for no reason, telling me he wants to give up, only to find that he’s low… or high… That’s your fault too. I find test strips in the weirdest places (hello… Tom doesn’t even test his blood in my closet), glucose tabs in every pocket of my purse. Our life has definitely changed because of you.
But in good ways too. You have helped Tom see that he has a voice and that people want to listen to it. He has learned not to hide you, but to introduce you to others so that they get to see what it’s like to live with you. You have introduced both of us to some amazing people of all ages that are living with you as well. We all share the fact that you were invited into any of our lives, but we are all too welcoming and will take care of you forever. You were the biggest reference used to help him get on Team Type 1, and he’s gone from an athlete, to a director and now a manager within the organization. You have encouraged Tom to run across the United States with the Team Type 1 running team, bike across it twice with the Team Type 1 Elite team (setting the world record which still stands), toe the line of 5 Ironman distance races, P.R. at every distance of every race he’s entered since having you in his life, and continue to strive for excellence. You’ve taught him to not settle, but also that you are a guest and that he’s in control.
And you’ve taught me a lot to. Patience is the first thing that comes to mind. Yeah, you have definitely taught me a lot about that. And unconditional love. When you moved in, I could have moved out. But I think you helped convince Tom to propose to me a month after you moved in and that I was worth keeping around, so thank you. I actually like company and I wanted to work to make sure that you weren’t too much of a burden on the one person I loved more than life itself. You have taught me that even if I don’t always like you, and I want to tell you to leave us alone, that you aren’t going away. You can be tamed. We set the boundaries for our guests.
I am not at the point where I will say that I’m glad you’re here, but I will say, you aren’t nearly as bad as I thought you’d be.
With (dare I say it?) love,Your host mom