Who Will Keep Them Safe?


I’m honored to introduce you to Laddie (@MNAZLaddie on Twitter). When the weather here in Minneapolis is nice, she lives here. The other 11 months of the year she migrates to more a more hospitable climate in Arizona. Okay, I was kidding about the 11 months thing, the weather is beautiful here for 5 or 6 months (most years).

She has been such a huge support and inspiration for me, so when she asked if I’d be willing to share a guest post from her I agreed without hesitation. With great pleasure, here she is!

Type 1 Diabetes and My Day on April 15

Almost every time I have two glasses of wine, I convince myself that I should start a blog about my diabetes. My iPad has ten half-written posts that reflect some of the subjects and memories that I would want to address. By morning I always know that’s a crazy thought and I continue my day as someone who has had Type 1 for 36 years and who is fortunate to have a wonderful life in both Minnesota and Arizona with a loving husband, two sons with wives, two grandchildren and two more on the way.

This evening I’m being a bit smarter. I have decided to write about my day with diabetes and how it fits into the larger world around me. Rather than think of starting a blog, I’ve determined to write what I’m thinking and feeling and beg my good friend Scott Johnson to let me guest post on his blog site.

I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1976 when I was 24 years old. My symptoms were typical of most Type 1’s: unquenchable thirst, nonstop trips to the toilet, losing weight, and bad eyesight. Rather than giving me a c-peptide test and a GAD test which I don’t think existed at the time, my new internist sent me downstairs to have pancakes and repeated the urine test 2 hours later to confirm the diagnosis. I was admitted to the hospital and learned about injections by shooting an orange. Before my diagnosis, I knew absolutely nothing about diabetes and I started my new life with no worries about the repercussions of what had just happened to me. I read the pamphlets given to me at the hospital. I took my once-a-day shot of Lente and faithfully recorded my 4+ readings from my Diastix pee-strips.

Here I am 36 years later at 61 years old. Good insurance has given me an insulin pump and a Dexcom G4 CGM. I have some of the autoimmune co-morbitities of Type 1 with hypothyroidism, inflammatory arthritis, and a dermatological condition called granuloma annulare. But I have no retinopathy, kidney disease, or neuropathy. My endocrinologist considers me a star A+ patient although I know that I’m not nearly as “perfect” as I might appear. But I try hard and despite my imperfections, I wake up every day and try to do it all over again.

What makes today special? A couple of things.

I read Kerri Sparling’s post at www.sixuntilme.com about her beloved daughter whom we readers know as “Bird”. It wasn’t diabetes specific, but my comment to her said that reading SixUntilMe makes me glad that I have Type 1 because I would have never “met” Kerri and read this blog if I hadn’t had diabetes. This caused me to think about the other people and things that the diabetes online community has introduced me to. I’ve met in person some of my online friends such as Kara, Susan, and Tom. I’ve received hugs from Scott Johnson online, in person, and on Twitter. I play Words with Friends every day with my diabetes friend Sue who lives 2000 miles away. I follow my friend Kelly on Facebook and pray for her health as she struggles with a foot infection. I “friend” Doris on Facebook. I argued with her on the ADA forum for years but I respected her every minute while I did it. My life has truly been enriched by all of my online experiences and I thank every one of you, my fellow PWD’s.

The second thing that caused me to write this post is the bombings that took place today in Boston. One of my sons went to college in Boston and although he wasn’t a runner, he loved the Boston Marathon and felt a part of it because he lived in Boston. Sometimes I hate the world we live in where someone wants to destroy the people, the cities, and the events I love. My children and grandchildren may live in a world where things like the Boston Marathon, the Superbowl, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade disappear because they are too dangerous. I am able to live a “safe” life in the USA because my friends Kathy and Caryl have sons in Afghanistan fighting to protect me. But who is protecting the children of Afghanistan or North Korea or the other battlefields around our world?

Diabetes seems simple in comparison.

A third thing that hit me hard today was a thread on TuDiabetes where posters were arguing. It wasn’t by any means one of the more argumentative threads I’ve ever read or participated in online. But I am at a point in my life where I enjoy hearing opinions and participating in discussions with lots of viewpoints. The DOC has slowly but surely taught me to be more tolerant of other people and all kinds of diabetes. So why can’t we get along? I still cry at news reports of the Newtown shootings, so why can’t our elected officials work together to reduce the number of guns in our country? I don’t know who was responsible for the bombings in Boston, but why would you kill and injure bystanders and participants in an event which celebrates the heroes and heroines who live among us?

I’m afraid of the big world we live in, but I feel safe and embraced by the diabetes world. I read blogs and forums daily and I feel part of a large and very important community. While walking the dog this afternoon, I listened to a DSMA ‘Rents broadcast and laughed and cried with Type 1 parents Ubergeek and his wife Denise from Alaska. I feel as though I’m best friends with them and they don’t even know who I am. I have learned to tweet and I never miss the DSMA TweetChat on Wednesdays nights. I know JennMamaBear and MyDiabeticHeart. I have 66 followers and I follow 103 people. Every one of these D-twitterers is special and I treasure everything I know about them.

So what has become of my world where I am glad to have diabetes because of the magical universe it allows me to live in?

Who will keep my non-diabetic friends and family safe?

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7 thoughts on “Who Will Keep Them Safe?

  1. Laddie, I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6. There was so little known about diabetes back then, and we were not told about the complications that might occur with type 1. My life was carefree and I never had worries until much later in life. Your situation sounds very similar. Did a doctor tell you that you would not live past your 30’s or 40’s? Two of my doctors told me that when I was in my early 30’s. That is when I started worrying. Now I am 73, and have been type 1 for 67 years, with good diabetes health. I know Tom Beatson. He and I will be attending the Joslin medalist meeting in Boston, in May. There will be more than 100 long term type 1 diabetics there, all of whom have been type 1 for at least 50 years. If we take good care of ourselves, we can thrive and be healthy for a very long time. Good luck to you in the years ahead!!

    Richard Vaughn

  2. I’m glad to see Laddie is branching out. Three months ago Laddie was found in Arizona by Susan Lane, who brought her to our monthly Valley Insulin Pumpers (VIP) support group. We all benefitted from Laddie’s insight and experience during the three months she was here.

  3. You are absolutely right on! I have never been able to verbalize this feeling of “safety” the DOC provides me. Thank you for doing it so well. You had me tearing up at the end.

  4. What a great guest-post! Great “meeting you” here virtually on Scott’s blog, Laddie! It’s amazing the connections we have these days that seem to have no boundaries, thanks to technology. I’m like you: very glad to have found a community of such awesome people that I’ve made many friends in. Thank you for sharing your story here… hope it’s not the last thing you write, and would LOVE to see you start your own blog if that’s something you’re up for (wine aside!).