Happy 22nd Diabirthday to Me…

March 14th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I am always introspective on my diabirthday. This year is no different. I can’t help but look back at the tired little girl who didn’t have the energy to keep up with her friends as they ran across the school playground. I didn’t know what it meant when the doctor told me that afternoon 22 years ago that I had a disease called diabetes.

For me, my diagnosis date is the day I do my annual reflection—more so than any other time of the year. My world didn’t change on my birthday, and my world didn’t change on New Year’s Day. It changed on Diagnosis Day. I don’t think about that sick little girl very often, but I think it is right for me to spend a few days around my anniversary and do so.

My diagnosis number was 591. You can see in my diagnosis photo that I was incredibly skinny (58 pounds at a little under five feet tall), about 7/8ths of my hair had fallen out, my skin was very dry, and I was of course eating and drinking anything and everything all the time. There is no gentle way to say it: I was dying.

Not many people get to a point that they have to face such a realization at such a young age. In fact, I feel like each additional year, as I age and my perspective changes, the realization strikes me anew.

Yet, I feel with each diabirthday a stronger and stronger sense of how fortunate I am. Had I been born a generation before, I would have had a much more difficult road. Had I been born three generations before, I would not have seen even age eleven. My firsthand knowledge of the fragility of life has motivated me to achieve much more than I could have without such inspiration.

So yes, I feel fortunate. I have a wide range of tools to help me keep myself in as good physical condition as possible, and in fact, very few things seem impossible.

If that isn’t something to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

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