29 Years Today

I finally received my discharge records, and now have “My Date”.  Saturday, April 26, 1980.  That makes today my 29th year of living with type 1 diabetes.

First and foremost, I want to thank my dad, who picked up the ball for me.  In my search for my discharge records, I got frustrated from running into dead end after dead end.  He picked up the phone and started making some calls, thought about alternate paths to find information, and came up with some really great ideas on what we could do.  It worked!  Thanks Dad!

I had been in good health until the first week in April when I had a week long illness.  My mom thought it may be the measles (even though I had my MMR vaccine).  Low grade fever, red eyes, barking cough and 3-4 days of a fine scattered rash on my neck and trunk.

I recovered from that episode and appeared well until about a week prior to admission, where I again developed the cough, along with a fever, runny nose, nausea, poor appetite, and right upper quadrant abdominal pain.  Urine analysis at the clinic showed 2+ glucose and 3+ ketones, and I was then referred to the hospital.  My routine preschool exam on April 11th showed a normal urine analysis.

According to the discharge records, I was in the hospital for six days.  My initial lab results showed a glucose of 445 mg/dl and spilling ketones.  Docs made note of my acetone breath.  They started me on insulin and signed my family up for a week long education class and routine follow up visits with a doctor at the clinic.

I started the search for my discharge records years ago because I wanted to apply for the Joslin 25 Year certificate.  Not that it is a huge deal, but I just thought it would be something neat to have.

And it is neat to have.

Picture of the Joslin Certificate of AchievementThe certificate marks 25 years, although for me it has been 29.  I guess it is a 25+ years certificate.  Living with diabetes is no easy thing.  While this certificate is physically a piece of paper with some ink on it, it means a lot more than that to me.  It is a small sign of recognition for all that I have endured so far.  I mark each year that I have lived and learned with diabetes, and I am proud of myself for all that I do.

There is some guilt and remorse as well, for knowing that there is so much I can do better, and knowing that each day that I have not done my best may well haunt me for a long time.  But my overall feeling is one of accomplishment and pride, because I am here, living strong and well, with diabetes.

The accompanying letter says it so well, that I want to share part of it here: 

“In 1948, Dr. Elliott P. Joslin created an award to celebrate the life and good health of those individuals who had achieved twenty-five continuous years of insulin use.  We now extend this tribute to you for your conscientious and courageous attention to the many difficult details involved in successfully living with diabetes over these many years.” (emphasis mine)

Next year will make 30 years, and I am hoping to plan a great big party to celebrate.  You are all invited, in person, or in spirit.  I hope you’ll share in the celebration with me.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…